|Vol. 15 No. 3 March 2013||
In regard to doctrinal and moral issues, preachers are often asked, “What is your position on…?” My position is unimportant. What matters is, “What is God’s position?” If my position on a matter coincides with God’s, then and only then would my position matter.
An amazing reality that preachers and faithful teachers of the Word must face is that even when we speak the truth in love, people are going to do what they want to do. People have to decide to believe that God is. They must accept the evidence and believe the Bible is God’s Holy Word, and it is to serve as our only guide in life. One must honor and respect the authority of God’s Word. Until these things are accepted and adhered to, we will do little if any good stating God’s position on any subject!
May I share with the readers my position on a number of subjects and hope that my position coincides with God’s position on each topic. If such be the case, I would urge that we all take heed and conform our hearts and lives to God’s position on each matter.
In no particular order, please consider my position on the following. As to the existence of God, I believe there is a Supreme Being (God) who created heaven and earth. I believe nature confirms this (Psalm 19:1). The Holy Bible begins with the assumption of the existence of God and makes no apologetic defense (Genesis 1:1).
The Bible claims to be inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Since it is my position that the Bible is trustworthy and is proven to be inerrant, I believe its claim. The sacred writers of the Holy Scriptures gave Deity credit for the revealed word (2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13). It is my position that the Bible ought to be our sole guide in life and the only rule of faith and practice in religion (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3).
It is my position that there is one body, the church, and that Jesus will save only the body, the church (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4, 5:23). Those not a part of the body, the church, will not be included among the saved. The saved (Christians) are in the church and were added to the church by the Lord (Acts 11:26; 2:47). Division in Christianity is forbidden (1 Corinthians 1:10). Therefore, my position is that denominationalism (the division of Christendom into different sects) is wrong and unacceptable to God. Jesus prayed for unity of believers (John 17:20-21).
God’s Word never promised one can be saved through obedience to the false teachings of denominationalism. The saved received the Word and were baptized (Acts 2:41). When the saved were baptized, they were baptized into Christ, into the one body, which Jesus will save (Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:23). My position regarding salvation is that man is saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but man is not saved by faith alone (James 2:17, 24, 26). He must have faith enough to comply with God’s terms of pardon (cf. John 12:42; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:38-39; 16:30-33; Romans 10:9-10).
The person and work of the Holy Spirit in conversion is greatly misunderstood by the religious world. Many believe that there is a miraculous and mysterious working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of an individual at the time of his conversion to the Lord. One passage cited in support of this belief is Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” However, one should examine more closely the wording of this verse. Upon doing so, one can see that the Bible states that the Spirit bears witness “with” our spirit and not “to” our spirit that “we are the children of God.” There is a tremendous difference. This passage simply states that there are two witnesses to our conversion to Christ. They are the Holy Spirit and our spirit. Yet, how is this possible?
Perhaps it is best that we mention that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are not the same. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God as the instrument in the act of conversion. Paul wrote that “the sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). This is the only offensive weapon that the Christian soldier has in combating the forces of Satan and in the converting of the alien to the Lord. The apostle Peter informed us in 2 Peter 1:21 that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” While this was spoken of the Old Testament writers, nevertheless, the principle is true and applicable regarding the inspired men who preached and wrote in the first century. In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….” Paul declared that those who are “the sons of God” are the individuals who “are led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14), but, how does the Holy Spirit lead people today? He leads today in the same way that He did in the first century, and that is through the inspired Word. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all the truth (John 14:26; 16:13). We conclude therefore that the Holy Spirit leads people in the matter of conversion by the use of His instrument, the inspired Word.
Now, when an individual believes in Jesus Christ and obeys His commands, the Holy Spirit bears witness that he has complied with the requirements of the Lord, and a person’s spirit also bears witness that he has been obedient to Christ, thus becoming a child of God. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:22-23, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
In the Book of Acts, there is not one example where the Holy Spirit ever instructed an alien sinner how to be saved except through men who possessed the inspired Word. That principle has not changed. Today, when one reads the Bible and comes to believe in Jesus as being the divine Son of God, repents of sins and is baptized for the remission of sins, that person has done what the Holy Spirit has instructed one to do in order to be pleasing in the sight of God (Acts 2:36-38). The two witnesses to the conversion of that person are the individual’s spirit and the Holy Spirit. Both testify that the sinner has obeyed the terms of pardon set forth in the Holy Scriptures and has become a child of God.