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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Conditional Belief

God's Word is true, God's Word is God's Word, conditional acceptance of God's Word is not belief
image: TouTouke
Some people have "conditional belief" in the Bible. 

Below are 3 common statements of conditional belief:

1. "Parts of the Bible are outdated." 


Some commands in Scripture were given to a particular group (e.g. Civil laws for Israel in the Old Testament) or a particular time (e.g. sacrificial and dietary laws fulfilled in Christ). But New Testament commands and principles are permanent. Hebrews 13:8; 1 Peter 1:24-25

2. "I trust the words of Christ, not the other Bible authors."


If a person trusts Christ's words, they'll trust all Scripture because Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reveal truth after His death (John 16:12-15), and the human authors of Scripture wrote only what the Spirit dictated (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). 

3. "The Bible can be interpreted different ways."


Bible-believing Christians agree on all essential elements of faith and morality (Ephesians 4:3-6). Our differences are "non-essentials."

Let's treat the Bible like God's Word, without conditions.

For a more thorough understanding of the difference between permanent and temporary laws and commands, see Old Testament Laws: Sacrificial, Dietary, 10 Commandments

I encourage you to study the verses in the image above. These verses are helpful in explaining why you believe that all Scripture can be trusted. The first two are especially good passages to memorize.

1. The Bible is alive--not like any other book. Hebrews 4:12

2. It is God-breathed--straight from God. And it provides all the information we need to accomplish God's will. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3. The human authors only wrote what the Spirit told them to write. 2 Peter 2:20-21

4. Peter calls Paul's letters "Scripture." 2 Peter 3:15-16

See also Guilty Until Proven Innocent for another 1-minute encouragement about the trustworthiness of God's Word.

beliefs versus preferences, genuine belief in Christ, Mark Twain quote
Insights from Bible Study "Believe It or Not!"

What do the verses below tell us about genuine belief?

Romans 10:9-10: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Belief in Christ is heart belief, not simply head belief. 

I have heard it illustrated this way: a man asked a crowd if they thought he could successfully cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope carrying another person on his back. To those who agreed, he asked, "Which of you will get on my back?"

We can "believe" in Christ without ever trusting Him which means we actually prefer Christ but don't believe in Him.

1 John 2:3-6: We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

We sometimes get hung up on verses like this. We insist that salvation can't be determined by "works" since it's by faith alone. And while it is true that works cannot save us, the Bible is clear that people who have a saving belief in Christ will change, grow, and become more godly. This doesn't mean they will obey perfectly, but they will seek to be more and more obedient.

I've heard people talk about a relative who lives an ungodly lifestyle and never shows an interest in things of God. But they'll say, "But he accepted Christ as His Savior when he was a little boy, so I know he's saved."

This isn't a biblical conclusion. See Matthew 7:21-23.

James 2:19: You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

Have you ever thought about this--Satan and the demons know God exists. They "believe" in Him. They've seen His goodness, His power, His purpose. But their "belief" is not a saving belief.

Copyright, Gail Burton Purath, 2014, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted

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