Who’s Authority

Note: This is a post I wrote for the Salem First Baptist Church (AR) website about a year ago. I am rereleasing it because it is still relevant.

 

seed:

God said it; I believe it; that settles it!

I take this as a three part statement about how people generally see theology and God. We can know what God said by reading His book; we can choose to either believe it or regard it as myth; but, if we believe what the Bible says is truly the Word of God, then we can say, because of our faith, that any argument is over. To begin with we will look at the “God said it” and the “that settles it!” parts of the statement and save the middle piece for last.

God Said It

The Bible was written by many different people and spans an incredible amount of time in the writing. Sources believe that the Bible was written over a period of approximately 1,500 years. But, one thing stands true: though many people were involved in its writing, it is a singular Book with one purpose. Namely, the entire Bible points to Christ and His redeeming work. It is also true that God inspired the writing of the Bible as it says in II Timothy 3:16,

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

From this we know what “God said it” means. His Word is no secret. I hope you have a copy sitting close to you right now.

That settles It!

This is an easy one. Either you believe that the Bible is the word of God, inclusive in one book, that it is inspired by God, inerrant, or you don’t. If you believe that the Bible is God’s word, then what He says in it should remove all doubt about His will for you. Do you have a question about your life? Is there something that has been hampering you? Do you need guidance? The Bible truly contains all we need and, more importantly, when it gives you an answer to a question, that should absolutely settle it. There should be no further question.

I Believe It

You are probably asking why I saved this nugget for last. It seems to fit perfectly in between the other two statements. But, does it?

Let’s look at the whole statement more closely. God said it; I believe it; that settles it!

If you take the statement as a continuum it can be read like this:

  • God told me something from His inspired word; or God said it.
  • Since I believe the Bible, I believe it.
  • The fact that God said something regarding a question I had and, having read it, I believe it, the question is settled – in other words, that settles it!

Do you see a problem yet? No. Let’s dissect it further. Just the middle part.

If you make a positive statement, there is generally a flip side. Light has its dark; white its black, bacon and eggs…and so on. Okay that last one doesn’t mesh with the rest of the thought, but I’m sure you get my drift. Isaac Newton, in his Third Law of Motion, stated “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Of course, that statement by itself is very simplistic (what it actually means fills libraries), but for our purposes simplicity will suffice.

I am saying that if you say “I believe it” it is equally possible for you to say “I don’t believe it”. Which means that the statement above could be changed to “God said it; I choose to either believe it or not to believe it; and based on which one I choose; that settles it.”

You may think this nit-picking, but I believe it is the very essence of humanity’s problem. It is also the very reason that people, apart from a true chemical imbalance, fall into mental illness, substance abuse and all manner of evil.

What did Satan say to Eve? Here is the whole recounting from the ESV:

                1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

A famous story from the Bible, but what does it have to do with this discussion?

The entire passage is important, but when the serpent tells her that she “will be like God” we see, for the first time, pride and a sense of self enter the picture. Before that time Adam and Eve were content to walk with God in the garden, to commune with Him, to cherish the relationship they had as companions to their Creator. Unfortunately, Satan knew, through his subtlety, how to twist that relationship. He knew that God allowed them to have the freedom to choose and he used that.

Eve, and Adam, chose self over God.

All of the problems that men and women have here “under the sun” (a reference from Ecclesiastes) are explained in I John 2:16. From the Classic Amplified Version we read:

            For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual   gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].

“Assurance in one’s own resources”; that’s what the serpent was selling Eve. He was telling her, “Listen, God may have told you that something awful is going to happen to you (she believed physical death), but I am telling you that it’s just not true. God just doesn’t want you to reach your full potential. He wants to keep all the good stuff for Himself. You don’t need Him. Make your own decisions and start paying attention to what you want. Be a better you: wiser, happier, more satisfied. Reject the notion that you have to rely on someone else…anyone else”

But choice does come with consequences as Eve was soon to learn. If the choice is to follow God (the good side of “I believe it”), then good comes of it (Read John 14:27 and many other verses which tell the good that God promises His people). But we can also choose to follow ourselves. If this is the case, then we deserve the punishment we receive.

The Point…

Don’t pollute God’s goodness with your self. If God said it, that settles it! We have no  choice in the matter and our belief that we do leads us to destruction.

I have used almost 1400 words to make a simple point. People get in their own way when they try to figure out life apart from reliance on God. Much of what professionals diagnose as mental illness is self-inflicted. Substance abuse is senseless self-medicating. Personality disorders are forged from the belief that I am more important than I AM.

God heals; God directs our paths in the way we should go; God loves us and wants us to come to Him for the help we need.

Trust God (Isaiah 12:2); “Lean not unto your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5); Conquer your selfish desires and the sin that constantly drags you down (Romans 8:37 and Hebrews 12:1).

So, in the end, what does all of this mean? That you can only be truly healed when you quit appeasing self and fall on your face before God (Isaiah 6:5; Revelation 1:17).

God said it, that finishes it.

Simple.

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