37 “But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him (Luke 20:37–38, NKJV).”
The apostles and prophets teach us to be careful how we handle the word of God. We are to rightly divide [“to make a straight cut, to dissect (expound) correctly” (G3718)]. Jesus showed that one way to do this is to use necessary inferences (conclusions) drawn from the Scriptures. The passage He referred to in refutation of the Sadducean error of no resurrection of the dead was Exodus 3:6: “Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’” Jesus drew a necessary conclusion that since God used the present tense (“I am the God…of Abraham…Isaac…Jacob”), their fathers were still alive (Matt. 22:31-32). He rebuked the Sadducees for failing to draw the conclusion demanded by the text. Many balk at the binding authority of necessary inferences, yet Jesus used one to prove there is a resurrection of the dead. We are in the company of Jesus when we carefully handle God’s word to draw their binding conclusions. Like the Sadducees, failure to do so results in being deceived by error for “not knowing the Scriptures” (Matt. 22:29).
2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Matthew 11:2–6, NKJV).
A necessary inference is an unavoidable, inescapable conclusion drawn from the information given. It is not merely a reasonable inference or a conclusion that may appear so (John 21:21-23; 7:24). It is the only legitimate conclusion the information given will allow. Notice in today’s passage the things Jesus said and did were (and still are) sufficient evidence for John and his followers to draw the necessary conclusion that He is the Christ. Instead of answering, “Yes, I am the Christ,” Jesus directed John’s disciples to His words and works as evidence from which they should conclude that the Father sent Him (John 5:36). The prophets had foretold of the works He did (Isa. 35:5-7; 61:1-2). Yes, He is the Coming One. Necessary inferences from the testimony of God’s word build our faith and direct our conduct. To suggest they are an artificial approach to understanding the Scriptures denies Christ who used them to establish faith in Himself as the Son of God.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:20–21, NKJV)
A necessary inference is an inescapable conclusion. For example, it is the means by which God expects us to honor Him as the Creator. The “things that are made” (the material world which we see) testify of unseen things, namely, of God, His eternal power and His divine nature. We necessarily infer from the evidence provided by the material world that there is a God who created all things. We are driven to this conclusion by the evidence we are presented. Life does not come from lifelessness. The presence of life forces us to conclude there is a First Cause of all life; that Creative mind and power is God. Some Christians reject necessary inferences are binding authority. Yet, without necessary inferences we cannot believe God exists and that He created all things. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psa. 19:1). The evidence of a Creator is presented; We drawn the inescapable conclusion (inference) that “God created the heavens and the earth” from that evidence (Gen. 1:1). If you believe God is the Creator, then you have already accepted the binding nature of necessary inferences.