Was the death of Jesus Christ in vain? Evangelist Kevin Presley talks about the apostle Paul’s statement in Galatians 2:21 and how many doctrines in modern religion negate the passion of Christ.
Did Christ Die In Vain? (Part 2 of 3)
Did Christ Die In Vain (Part 1 of 3)
Paul states that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NKJV). These words should thrill the Christian’s soul. When Paul wrote “All Scripture,” he just as easily could have said, “Our Bible.” In other words, “Our Bible” is inspired of God and it establishes doctrine. It rebukes our sins and corrects our mistakes. Our Bible instructs us in what is right, ensures our completeness, and thoroughly equips us as the saints of God.
The Poet wrote, “How Precious Is the Book Divine, By Inspiration Giv’n. Bright as a lamp its precepts shine, To Guide my soul to heav’n.” Though beautiful, these poetic words do not surpass the eloquence of King David in the 119th Psalm. There, David extolled the greatness of “Our Bible,” as the word of the Living God. In light of this sublimity, this article offers you some great truths to consider carefully:
Our Bible is inspired of God: No other book can rightly make that claim. More than a mere claim, however; the internal and external proofs show the claim to be undeniably true. From Old Testament prophecy to New Testament history, many evidences affirm the Bible’s representation as being inspired of God. First, note some of these references to inspiration:
1. Paul acknowledged having received the Spirit of God (lCor.2:9-13)
2. Paul certified the gospel is by divine revelation (Gal. 1:11)
3. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth (Jn.16: 13)
4. Peter affirmed that holy men of God spoke as they were directed by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet.1:21)
In effect, these writers attribute their message to a divine source and then validated that attribution by their own deaths. With the exception of John, each of the apostles reportedly died a very violent death. Jesus even alluded to Peter’s death in John 21:18,19. Would one insanely die to protect a fraud and a scheme? Perhaps, but not 10 more, especially when the other 10 are separated by such far distances – each dying independent of the others. Would all eleven maintain a conspiracy to lie and foist such a lie on the world in the name of dying? Highly unlikely – someone would have denounced it in order to spare themselves, yet all of them to the man sealed their testimony by their blood in dying at the hands of the Jews or Romans for their faith. Why? Because Our Bible is true. Jesus promised his followers “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). The first century Christians withstood unimaginable persecution aimed at dissuasion, and lived with the threat of death hanging over them. But, they staked their soul on Jesus’ promise of eternal life.
Beyond that subtle point, however, are several other bolder forms of evidence. Take for instance the facts of the Bible’s compilation. Our Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years by 40 different contributing writers, all of which were separated by time, distance, and some even by language and culture, yet one sees a continuous harmony from start to finish -continuity, without contradiction. How could such a remarkable feat be achieved without the aid of divine intervention? It could not. Even still, this book ranks among the world’s best-selling titles and more copies are distributed world-wide than any other. Why? Our Bible is inspired of God.
What is more, look to the scientific facts revealed in the Bible – facts that could have only been known by God at the time they were written. When I first read this next passage as a teenager, I recall taking a long pause and seeing goose bumps whelp my arms. It had a definite effect. The Bible declares in Job 26:7 “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.”
Only by confirmation of modern science have these amazing facts been shown to be true. With the naked eye, one cannot detect an empty space in the sky or determine upon what mechanism the world may be suspended. Even the ancient Greeks once believed that Atlas, a mythological god, held the world on his shoulders. Only within recent years has the world been able to see the absolute fallacy of that belief and the absolute accuracy of this bold statement in Job. Gravity! – the invisible force that holds the earth on its course. “He hangs the earth on nothing” – Find this passage’s equal in the Qu’ran. Do the works of Joseph Smith reveal anything so telling? Not in the least, and yet, such is found within what is said to be written by Him who is the “Ancient of Days.”
You cannot find anything in the entire literary world that compares to this grand ole book divine. Read Shakespeare. Ponder Philosophy. Look to antiquities. Search the shelves of libraries. Scour the internet to its end. You will be left to conclude as Peter did, “Lord, to whom shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Time and space prevent a discussion of the many archaeological finds, the outside corroborations of secular history, or the many fascinating Biblical references to geology, astronomy, and oceanography. Volumes and volumes of works have set these evidences forth in great detail. I, then, can only assert their truthfulness with the hope that you will be like the Bereans of old and “search …whether those things are so.”
Suffice it to say, these evidences lie beyond question or reasonable contradiction for the fair minded man and for every sincere soul who seeks the truth of God. After all, His word is indeed the source of real truth. Jesus said, “…thy word is truth” (John 17:17), leaving little wonder as to why the Lord also says, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Our Bible is worthy of our respect, our time, and our consideration because it is inspired of God.
Our Bible is Authoritative: Paul said, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor 14:37 NKJV). Our Bible could not be profitable for doctrine (2Tim.3:16) without also being authoritative in its declarations. Obviously then, our Bible reveals the commandments of God and the Lord admonishes us to take great care in our reading and application of the scripture:
1. “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).
2. “…stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15).
3. “Hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).
4. “Be diligent to show yourself approved of God…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim.2:15).
5. “…keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor.11:2).
As being authoritative, our Bible permits and restricts. It allows and forbids, and it both legislates and regulates. Take, for instance, the familiar topic of the Lord’s Supper. Our Bible both legislates the observance of the Lord’s Supper and regulates the manner in which it is to be observed. Paul commanded the Church to observe the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, and then offered as a pattern what Jesus did in instituting it as Paul set the matter in order at Corinth.
Our Bible provides instruction as to how and as to when the Lord’s Supper is to be observed. By implication, our Bible teaches the use of a single loaf of unleavened Bread as the communion of the body of Christ and a single cup of unfermented fruit of the vine as the communion of the blood of Christ. The historical record of Acts then also informs us that the disciples met on “The First Day of the Week” to “Break Bread” It says, “Upon the first day of the week, WHEN the disciples came together to break bread…”(Acts 20:7). In taking all that is written, we synthesize the day on which, the manner in how, and the reason for observing the Lord’s Supper.
Now, my real point is this: Today very few can go as far to say “that is how it must be done.” Rather, the prevailing attitude states “that’s how we’ve traditionally done it” or “there’s nothing wrong in doing it that way.” Such a lack of certainty and such a lack of conviction demonstrate a fundamental disbelief in the authoritative nature of the Scripture – that the scripture can be exact, precise, and demanding. However, may I kindly say that a man only reveres the Lord to the degree that a man reveres the word of the Lord. God said, “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word” (Isa 66:2 NKJV). The authority of God and his word extend to all matters divine. Through his word, He controls the mission, function, purpose, and organization of the church. He directs worship. He establishes the qualifications of the church’s officers and overseers. He imposes duties upon us as parents, as saints, as workers, as employers and even as citizens of these United States; all the while, expecting faithful obedience to his word and to all of his commands.
Our Bible Comforts, Consoles, Leads and Guides: Where would we be without the influence of the Bible in our lives? As a nation? As a community? As a church? As a family? Nothing consoles; nothing comforts; and nothing admonishes like our beloved ole Bibles. Paul said, “wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess.4:18). Peter asked, “Lord to whom shall we go, Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68)? I read the story a number of years ago about Robert Ingersoll touring this country of ours lecturing against the Bible. As it is told, one time on the Kansas’ plains in a small township he lectured to a rather large group of hearers. The infidel’s stinging words caused an elderly woman to become very upset as she listened to him rail, and rail, and rail against the Bible and faith toward God. The story says that she clenched her worn out Bible in her hands and began to softly sing, “Stand up, Stand Up for Jesus…” That Bible had been her everything. It had seen her through so many hard times – through the death of loved ones, and the parting of friends. It had consoled her grief and lightened her way. Oh, that every soul would simply read and understand the timeless message of the Bible. They could come to see the wonderful, wonderful blessings that are given through God’s living and abiding Word. May God bless you as you read “Your Bible.”
– Written by Douglas T. Hawkins, an evangelist of the gospel who lives and works in Kentucky