And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. (Jeremiah 36:23, NKJV)
The United States Senate changed a filibuster rule today, thereby allowing a vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. This rule change was called the “nuclear” option, since it was the course of last resort. This reminds us that men unsuccessfully try to change God’s rules. King Jehoiakim tried to ignore God’s rules by destroying the scroll of God’s word (which condemned his sins and called on him and his nation to repent). He refused to be ruled by God’s word, because he had already refused God as His ruler. His effort failed (Jer. 36:27-32). Even so, we are tempted to try to change God’s word to fit our own desires (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3-4). The Senate can change their rules because they made them. We cannot change God’s rule (word), though, because it is not our word (Heb. 1:2). We didn’t make the rules, He did. Respect for God demands that we honor Him by submissively obeying His word. Do not try to change His word (His rules) to fit what you want. That will never end well for you.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26–27, NKJV)
When God’s word speaks, we either believe it and conform our thinking and our lives to it, or we reject it, raising ourselves above and against God. As an example, take the subject of homosexuality. The Bible is crystal clear on the matter. Homosexual uses of the body are not normal and natural, but express “vile passions” that are “against nature.” God’s truth clarifies LGBT issues for us, just like soap and water cleans a dirty window. Such conduct is described as “vile passions;” “Against nature;” “Leaving the natural use of the woman;” Burning “in their lust for one another;” “Men with men committing what is shameful;” Producing a just penalty for “their error” that is due and received. Until one will believe God’s truth on the subject, he or she will exchange the truth for the lie that gay love is just the same as straight love (Rom. 1:24-25). It is not. But you see, when people worship themselves and serve the lusts of their hearts instead of God, every lie is preferred over the “word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5). God’s word is truth (Jno. 17:17). God’s truth frees us from our sins when we believe it and obey it (Jno. 8:31-32). Do you believe the truth, or have you exchanged it for the lie?
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:22–25, NKJV)
It is truly sad to watch human beings in the death spiral of sin. Pride blinds the unbelieving heart, producing all manner of false gods and therefore, false hopes. While God desires all men to be saved, that choice must be freely made; He will not force us to follow Him. When lust reigns in one’s heart, the shame of moral defilement results. As the body is used to serve lustful impulses instead of honoring God, divine truth is exchanged for foolish lies. The moral defilement of unbelief amounts to worshiping and serving ourselves instead of our Creator. Do not be defiant against God; that will always end poorly. Instead of sin’s death spiral, be lifted up from its darkness by following the Jesus, the light of the world. Hear His word and follow it, and move out of darkness into light (Eph. 4:17-24).
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19–20, NKJV)
This Bible passage enjoins upon faithful Christians the task of rescuing a struggling, sinning Christian from spiritual death. It forever exposes and opposes the false teaching of “once saved, always saved.” Here, the soul that needs saving is a Christian who: (1) Has wandered from the truth. We must walk in the truth to be secure in our salvation (Jno. 10:27); (2) Needs turning back. The person is headed in the wrong, spiritual direction; His present way is “error.” You see, there really is only one way that leads to life (Jno. 14:6); (3) Has sinned. The person is “a sinner,” “in error” and in “death.” He/she is lost. You see, doctrine (teaching) affects salvation. False doctrine is error; a wandering from the truth. Wandering from the truth into error is a real danger. When it happens, the spiritually strong must become first responders, trying to save a soul from death (Gal. 6:1). In what more worthy endeavor can you participate? “He who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30).
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth. (Psalm 119:142, NKJV)
In this post-modern world, where men and women take the unjustifiable liberty of redefining truth to be relative, shifting and changing, God’s eternal truth continues to be absolute. It is the one supreme law that governs and judges us all. Just as there is “no variation or shadow of turning” of God’s righteousness, neither is the variability in the nature of truth (cf. Jas. 1:17). Whether one speaks of the law He gave specifically to Israel (the Old Testament law), or the law of Christ, the accuracy and certainty of His rule is firmly established. This gives Christians assurance as we live in a “post-truth world,” where truth is minimized as emotions shape public opinion, moral excesses and even religious faith. God’s truth is not shifting sand. The sayings of Jesus are truth, and when we believe and do them, we build our life a solid foundation that lasts into eternity (Matt. 7:24-27).
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30, NKJV)
God’s commandment, that all people everywhere repent, necessarily implies the existence of a common standard by which to know the sins in one’s life. Additionally, His command implies that standard can be effectively used to bring about the repentance (change of heart) that pleases God. The inspired Scriptures are declared to be the standard of truth that identifies sin and righteously corrects it (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jno. 17:17). We cannot know our sin (what to repent of), much less know what form that repentance should take, without God’s standard of truth identifying our sin and showing us how to correct it. Our feelings cannot determine what is sin against God. The ancient world plunged into sin’s darkness because it rejected divine truth and relied on emotional, human wisdom for guidance (Eph. 4:17-19; Rom. 1:21-25). Let us be thankful that God’s commands include how to thoroughly equip ourselves for every good work. Then, let us obey Him in order to faithfully serve Him and be ready for the day of judgment (Acts 17:31).
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief. (Proverbs 14:12–13, NKJV)
The futility of trusting one’s feelings as a reliable guide for knowing right from wrong and truth from error is witnessed by the facade that emotions often display. Laughter may in fact hide sorrow, so that while one expresses mirth outwardly, grief exists within. This teaches us not to rely on what feels right, for they can mislead us even as they can mislead others. In contrast to “letting your conscience be your guide,” Scripture says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105). Divine truth, not human emotions, determine the way that pleases God. We must “buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” by going to the word of God to know and practice the will of God (Prov. 23:23; Jas. 1:25).