Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Obeying God's Word: Defending the Christian Faith by Example





The first obligation for any Christian is to obey God’s Word. We aren’t free to selectively decide which commands to follow and which to ignore; every word in the Bible is divinely inspired, and all hold equal weight.

In 1 Peter 3:15, God’s instructions are clear: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” After years of research and study, students of the Bible have discovered the correct interpretation of this Scripture: it means exactly what it says in plain language.

The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, not a menu from which items are selected based on one’s personal preference at that moment. In 1 Peter 3:15, notice the words “always” and “everyone,” default to a position of righteousness, and believe God means what He says, always, in all Ages.

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many
were made sinners, even so through the obedience
of the One the many will be made righteous
.

~ Romans 5:19 ~

Obedience has an excellent precedent in the New Testament: Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Everything He said, taught and demonstrated was attributed to His Father in heaven. Christians can’t begin to discuss Apologetics – or progressive Sanctification, or becoming more “Christ-like,” or maturity in faith – without first giving primacy to the message of obedience.

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but
the Father who sent Me gave Me a command,
what I should say and what I should speak.

~ John 12:49 ~

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Bible tells us He was followed by “multitudes” on several occasions. This happened because of what He did and said, not because of what He wrote or thought. Regardless of the calling in a Christian’s life, the process starts with the individual prior to extending outward. 

To acknowledge the authority of Scripture and make a profession of faith isn’t enough; Christ expects us to establish His standard to successfully glorify Him in all we do.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man
observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes
away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who
looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful
hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does
.

~ James 1:22-25 ~

If you believe the Scriptures, the promises He makes for serving Him faithfully not only provide blessings to the doer of His Word, but to those around us as well. In defending the faith according to His Word, we obey His command and engage a world that needs His message.

When Christians walk in the faith according to His Word, the unspoken testimony, observable to everyone, gives credibility to our verbal witness. It’s been said that integrity can be defined as “doing the right thing when no one is watching.” To those who don’t know it yet, someone is always watching.

Admittedly, subjugating our human will to God isn’t easy, but Christ already told us that.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is
the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go
in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way
which leads to life, and there are few who find it
.

~ Matthew 7:13-14 ~

However, He did tell us it would be worth it.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the
Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the
Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

~ Colossians 3:23-24 ~

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Michael I. Kaplan lectures regularly to faith-based organizations on the topics of apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of theological doctrine), biblical studies and spiritual warfare.

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