Believing and Preaching the Bible with Certainty
We must present the Bible as the Word of God, not the words of men, but the Word of the living God: God speaking about Himself; God speaking about men; God speaking about life; God telling us what He is going to do about a fallen world. That is what we need to preach with certainty, with assurance. Let us tell the people about its marvel that though it contains sixty-six books, written at different times and in different centuries, there is only one message.
Let us tell them about fulfilled prophecy. Let us point out to them how things prophesied and predicted hundreds of years before the events were actually verified in the fullest and the minutest detail. Let us tell them they do not know it. It is for us to proclaim the Word of God, and especially at this critical time in history.
Let us tell people something about its message. It is the only book that explains life. It is the only book that explains the world as it is tonight. We have been told now for nearly a century that the world is advancing, that man is becoming more and more perfect, that with more and more education and scientific knowledge there will be no more war.
The problem was, they said, that people did not know one another. They did not meet. If only they met they would all love one another and embrace one another; but now we are meeting constantly, we cannot live together for even a few seconds! You see, there is no explanation except the explanation that is given in the Book. “There is no peace, saith my God to the wicked” (Isa. 57:21). You can be mighty and great and strong, you can be a great philosopher, and be very wealthy, you can own the whole world—but you will never know peace, either as an individual or among men and nations, while you are wicked. The Bible alone has the explanation.
It is man’s sin, man’s rebellion against God. You see, you must come back to theology; you must seek the Book and discover its message, its theology, its doctrines. If you evangelical people are against doctrine you will never get people back to the Bible. It is not enough just to read a few verses. You must dig down and get the doctrine, the doctrine of a wholly absolute God, who is the creator of the ends of the earth, and who is the judge of the whole earth. Man is not something that came out of some primordial slime, but a creature made in the image of God, given something of the stamp of the eternal Lord of creation, meant to live in communion and correspondence with his creator!
But man has fallen into sin, has asserted his own will-power, has said that he’s autonomous, that he can arrange his life, that he does not need God, he does not need God’s direction and God’s Word: that is why the world is in trouble. This is what we must tell people; we must try not just to defend the Bible but to preach its truth. Tell men that they are in their present state because the world has turned its back upon God. That is why this twentieth century is so appalling. It is the century of all centuries that has asserted itself and its own will and its own understanding over and against God and His truth and His eternal will.
We must tell them this, we must tell them plainly and without any apology that the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). We must tell them that the very history of this century, with its two awful wars and all its present horrors, is due to the same thing. These things are a part of the judgment of God. The apostle Paul puts it thus in Romans 1, that the way in which God punishes men is, that He abandons people to themselves. He “gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:28). I believe this is what’s happening tonight; it is to me the only explanation of this present century.
God is saying to us, Very well, you said you could live without me; you said you could make a perfect world without my laws, without My Word, without my truth—get on with it, see what you make of it! And this is what we’ve made of it: man a creature of lust, self-centered and selfish, fighting all others. War is inevitable while man is in that condition. The Bible alone explains this. And when you turn to the future it is exactly the same thing: there is no light for the future anywhere except in this Book. There are people who, in the name of Christianity, are still saying that if we only preach this message we can put an end to wars. Never! The Bible asserts that there shall be wars and rumors of wars right to the end. While man is evil and sinful and the creature of lust, there will be wars.
Christianity has not come into this world to put an end to war; it has not come to reform the world. What has it come for? It has come to save us from the destruction that is coming to the world. This Book asserts a judgment, an end of history. God in Christ will judge the whole world in righteousness, sending those who have turned their backs upon Him, refused His offer of salvation in Christ, to everlasting perdition, and ushering the saints into the glory of “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).
Christian people, we must proclaim to the world that we are not afraid of the morrow. We are not afraid of what the nations may do. We know that an evil world is under condemnation, and that the only course of safety and of wisdom is to come in penitence and contrition to the Son of God, our blessed Lord and Savior, who came out of eternity, who died for our sins, and who will come again to receive His own unto Himself. That, it seems to me, is the thing to which we are called. We must preach the Bible’s message without fear or favor and with the holy boldness of the apostles of old, not merely to say it, but to have the Holy Ghost upon us as we do so.
Pray for power to proclaim it so that it shall become like “a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces” (Jer. 23:29). Or in the words of the apostle Paul, the message must be seen to be “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5). That is our calling,
O Word of God incarnate,
O wisdom from on high,
O truth unchanged, unchanging,
O light of our dark sky!
O make thy Church, dear Savior,
A lamp of burnished gold,
To bear before the nations,
Thy true light as of old.