February 17, 2021 | by: Chris Kiiskinen | 0 comments
Is Scripture Alone Your Final Authority?
Following up on Tony’s sermon from last Sunday, I thought this would be a good question to consider. Two verses that we looked at taught us that what we have in Scripture is completely adequate for us to address any and every issue that we may face, as Christians.
We started in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, where we were reminded that all Scripture is given to us by God and it teaches us, reproves us, corrects us and trains us, so that we can be best prepared for every good deed. Think about that for a moment...literally EVERY good deed that can be done, Scripture prepares us for.
You might say though, that even unbelievers can do good deeds though and they weren’t learning that from Scripture. And that is true. Yet the Bible tells us why. God tells us, in Romans 2:15, that He has put the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, in them as He tells us He wrote it on their hearts.
Further, Romans 14:23 teaches us that all that is not done from a position of true faith in God, is sin. So even though an unbeliever can do something good, their hearts motivation is not built on faith in Jesus and wanting to worship him in obedience, so it is a sinful motive, as it is something other than Christ.
So Scripture helps every believer be better prepared for all good deeds, rooted in our faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit working through the teachings of the word.
We also looked at 2 Peter 1:3 where we reminded that God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” which includes giving us the Bible. So every situation that you will ever encounter in life, will be addressed by either direct teaching or principle, in Scripture, and will help you respond in a godly manner.
That leads me back to my question...is Scripture ALONE your final authority?
In a recent survey done by Ligonier Ministries, Americans were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements pertaining to Christianity, including this one:
The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
62% strongly agreed, while 28% strongly disagreed. The rest leaned one of those 2 directions. Interesting to note...0% were unsure about their position.
You can see the full survey results here to get a glimpse into our culture, if you are interested:
From a recent Barna poll, you can see that, of those who profess faith in Jesus, “41% of professing evangelicals said that if a person is generally good, or does enough good things in their life they will earn a place in heaven.”
So although about 65% of Americans profess to be Christians, which closely coincides with the 62% that believe the Bible to be their highest authority, what seems to be apparent is that, although claiming the Bible to be the highest authority, there are many professing believers who do not believe some of the things that the Bible teaches. This is seen not merely in differences between denominations and their official church positions, but even more so in the beliefs of the everyday man or woman of God.
Sometimes people struggle because they are confused by what the world teaches and they don’t know the word well enough to counter those teachings. Some suffer from even a lack of trying. Others are guilty of separating their live in Jesus from their life in the world, viewing some things as spiritual and other things as secular. Yet others are guilty of trying to mesh the teachings of God with the teachings of the world. Sadly, I see all of these in the church today. Some even going so far as to say that the legal killing of babies in the womb isn’t something Christians should even consider an important issue, for a variety of reasons.
But if God tells us that His word is what we need most and that it is sufficient for everything, than why don’t we turn there more often? For example, we have many issues in our culture today (social justice, being “woke”, black lives matter, critical race theory, etc, etc...) that are clamoring for your submission to them. Are you turning to Scripture to help you understand those things, or are you simply finding something on the internet to support the position you have taken? We have an election this month...have you approached voting from a biblical perspective and carefully weighed out what Scripture teaches as you consider how you will vote? What about in your daily life? Does Scripture govern your attitudes? How you approach work? Family life? Finances? Neighbors?
There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from God’s word. It brings clarity to confusion. Theology to our thinking. Principles to our perspectives. Empathy to our emotions. All the while, guiding us towards God’s perfect righteousness and preparing us for every good deed!
Let me ask you again...is Scripture ALONE your final authority? If yes, then dig deeply into it and seek answers and guidance in all areas of your life. If you are unsure about that, or your answer is no, I urge you to no longer allow other things to have that place of final authority in your life and turn to the wisdom and knowledge of Christ that has been given to us in God’s precious word!
Studying and submitting along with you!
Chris Kiiskinen is a Pastor at Grace Bible Church