When it comes to baking or preparing any dish, it is necessary to adhere to the appropriate ingredients. This is especially true as it relates to baking any sort of cake. For example, the primary ingredients in an oven baked cake would be that of eggs, milk, butter, flour (or cake mix), vanilla extract and sugar. The reason for such ingredients is to create consistency within the cake mix, in addition to adding elements for the flavor of the cake. However, what would happen if you decided to exclude one the essential ingredients from the cake mix? The result would likely be that of a cake that would lack flavor, or the ability to rise due to a lack of continuity. Thus, it is always best to stick to the list of ingredients for the best results.
In the same way, the way that God’s word is interpreted and taught should be done in consistency. In the book of 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 it says:
(NKJV) “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.”
In chapter 3 of 2 Timothy, the Apostle Paul is giving instruction to Christians regarding the signs of the end times, various sins which correlate to such times, doctrine, and truth. Specifically, towards the end of this chapter, Paul mentions the continuation in the learning of scripture and doctrine in verses 14-15. However, the main part of this chapter to focus on is verses 16-17.
When the Apostle Paul makes the declaration about God’s word, he uses a key phrase:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God”
This phrase is one that should be highlighted because it points to the fact that all scripture that was written in the Bible was given from God to those who wrote it by His inspiration. What this means is, all scripture comes directly from God and cannot nor should it be changed as something that was done by human intellect. The thing about the modern day is that many have taken it upon themselves to interpret scripture based on what they think it means, rather than seeking the Lord for divine revelation. Secondly, there are many Christians who have taken certain scriptures to live by while at other times excluding what is in God’s word.
It is something that occurs more so now than ever, especially given our world’s social climate. We live in a society in which, the truth has become relative. Basically, what one person believes in, can be their own truth while another can have their own version of the truth. This sort of ideology suggests that two or more individuals can maintain their version of the truth and they can both be correct. However, the problem arises when both versions of “the truth” do not agree or are incongruent when the facts are displayed. Relativism isn’t necessarily a new methodology, but it has grown in its influence over time.
The problem with this concept is that it doesn’t leave room for absolute truth. What is absolute truth? It is a truth that cannot be refuted or shown as incorrect even if there are various attempts to claim its falsity. Going back to the scripture of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Apostle Paul says that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God. This means, that God’s truth cannot be changed, nor should it be altered in any way to fit our own lifestyles. That is because, all scripture came directly from God Himself which means His truth is absolute.
For example, ever since the ruling of the United States Supreme Court to allow “same-sex marriage” in all 50 states, there have been those who have touted the scripture, of Matthew 22:39. It simply says, (KJV) “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Many both Christian and non-Christian have used this scripture to apply it to various sins which include the issue of homosexuality. In essence, this scripture can and does apply to every believer because we are indeed to love others. However, here is what this scripture says in its full context:
Matthew 22: 36-39
(KJV) “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
This scripture which is one of the most quoted lines in the Bible actually qualifies what is found in John 14:15 which says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” Many who use verse 39 in Matthew 22, do so because it only shows one side of what God requires. It is much easier to simply say that you will “love your neighbor” because to love someone is to accept them for who they are. While it is true that every Christian is to love those around them, God does not want us to love, accept, or approve of a person’s sin.
The Apostle John makes it clear in John 14:15, that if you love God, you will keep His commandments. As Jesus said in Matthew 22, the first commandment is to love God with all of your heart. In doing so, you will do as He desires which is to not only love others but to abstain from sin. What many have done in our world today, is they have taken scripture and removed parts that they wish not to follow.
Even as it relates to the issue of “same-sex marriage”, many have excluded the declaration that it is a sin, but rather they have used Matthew 22:39, as a way to escape or lessen the criticism from others. Basically, not to call something a sin or to confront someone, is less risky as opposed to speaking out and calling a matter a sin. Whether it be homosexuality, drunkenness, greed, or any other sin, Jesus Christ died so that we could be saved from the destructive power of sin.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of not only love and redemption but also one of separation from sinfulness. Simply limiting the Gospel to one side, does not tell the full story. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The keywords in this context are, “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
To rightly divide the word of truth is to understand God’s word, what and who it applies to, and how to apply it to everyday life. Taking one scripture to live by, and excluding others is not rightly dividing the word of truth. If something is a sin, we as Christians are to call it out for what it is. However, even in doing so, we are not to forget that love is still a part of the equation. Both love and correction are necessary in order to relay the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a dying world.
One cannot be a Christian, and living in sin at the same time. There must be a demarcation which sets every believer apart from the world. Jesus died so that we could be made whole, and be reconciled back to God. Do you know Jesus in the pardon of your sins? If not, you have an opportunity to know God’s love through Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus is one of love, but it is also one of accountability. God desires that you know Him and experience Him in the fullness of His presence. Accept Christ today, and find out what His plan is for your life.