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1689 - Chapter 1 (Part Two)

*To view the first chapter uninterrupted, see the site included below this article

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The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.

We do not believe the Word of God because man tells us we should. We do not believe in its power merely because we witnessed a sign or wonder from the Christian community. We do not believe it because someone has a testimony so powerful that it makes us weep. We believe the Scriptures because they are the words of God. Not only do we believe them to be the words of God but we hold them to be authoritative over every facet of our lives. They dictate our every thought, action, affection and desire. We understand that the Law of God is perfect because it is from God, not because the Church tells us we should obey it.

"And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." 1 Thessalonians 2:13

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," 2 Timothy 3:16

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We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

Translation: Though testimonies, the church, and believers can give us a higher, more appreciated view of the Scriptures as a means of God's working, we are only convinced that they are infallibly (without error, unable to be wrong) true by the Holy Spirit working within us.

The Church, not the physical building but the invisible, global church, helps to draw our conscience and our soul into a greater reverence for the Word. When I read long, run-on sentences like this from old authors I find it easy to make a list.

The Church helps us see:

  • The heavenliness of the scriptures

  • The effectiveness that the truth within them produces on our life

  • The majestic poetic nature of the Scriptures, and the beauty of the words of those not poetic

  • How the scriptures all agree with one another and point to the ultimate goal of glorifying God in all things, culminating in His Son, Jesus

  • That the Scriptures contain the only true way for man's eternal salvation

  • Many other beauties that the Scripture has to offer, and how perfect they are to our soul

The writers would tell you this is the main reason why fellowship with a body of believers (not online on Sunday morning) is so critical to our sanctification. Through the God given wisdom of other believers and the experience they have had in walking with the Lord, we can see and learn things that could have possibly taken us years to uncover.

"These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God." 1 Corinthians 2:10-12

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The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Everything we need to understand the glory of God, the nature of salvation, and how to live the Christian life is contained in the Word of God. Following verse 16 from 2 Timothy 3 above, we read, "that the man of God may be made complete." Now, if the inspired and infallible Word of God tells us that all Scripture is able to make the man of God complete, then we have no need to add to them, whether that be literally adding books or by prophecy. You would be hard pressed, and unsuccessful in my opinion, to find a modern day "prophet" (in the way culture understands the word) that has not spoken a false prophecy. If one claims to speak from God, and anything they say is wrong, they are a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:22).

Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

What was said before does not make the work of the Spirit of God null and void.

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Without the Spirit working in us, we would be like a South Mississippi 4th grader trying to read Chinese. It is through the Spirit by God's abundant grace that we are able to read the Bible, take hold of its meaning, and allow it to change our lives.

Though the scriptures speaks to an innumerable amount of topics and direct issues, there are some things which it does not speak to directly. Please absorb the italics there and cling to them like a baby possum clings to its mother. The Word of God is able to make the man complete. If there were an event, topic, or issue that the Bible could not speak to indirectly through application of other scripture by wisdom given to us from God, then the man of God would not be able to be made complete, the Bible is a lie, and we Christians are most to be pitied. However, so long as we approach a situation with biblical foundations and principals to guide us like the gutter guards at a bowling alley, we can honor God in our handling of any circumstance.

The Lord bless you and your family this day! Thank you for reading.

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