Standing on the Authority of God’s Word

As we embark on yet another year, the challenges before us may seem daunting. We live in a culture that relies heavily on hunches, intuitions, and feelings. The emphasis on the subjective has led many to deny biblical Christianity and reject any notion of truth. The witty British writer, G.K. Chesterton poetically described the plight of postmodern culture: “Once people stop believing in God, the problem is not that they will believe nothing; rather the problem is that they will believe anything.” 

Given the dismal postmodern attitude toward authority, where are we to turn? Perhaps more than ever, we as disciples of Jesus need a solid rock to stand on or the waves of syncretism, pluralism and false teaching may sweep us away. We must, therefore, begin and end with the Bible as the source of divine revelation from God.

The Word of God is our highest authority. Therefore, we also need to become acquainted with the supreme value of Scripture and the benefits it brings to our daily lives. Understanding the transcendent worth of God’s Word not only helps us grow more deeply in love with the Savior; it helps point our generation to the truth that can be found in Jesus Christ alone. Consider a few valuable qualities of God’s Word found in Psalm 19:7.

God’s Authoritative Word

First, the Word of God is perfect. Psalm 19:7 plainly says, “The law of the LORD is perfect.” The Hebrew word translated perfect means “complete, whole or sound.” It is in accord with what is true. So we can confidently approach God’s Word with the full assurance that the truth presented corresponds to reality. God’s Word is not a trifle or a fad. It is perfect in every way and demands our unwavering allegiance.

Psalm 19:7 secondly reveals that God’s Word is the means of conversion. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.” In other words, apart from God’s Word, conversion is impossible. Calvin indicates that while God is revealed in general revelation, the “spectacles of faith” are needed to rightly perceive and receive God. “It is needful that another and better help be added to direct us aright to the very Creator of the universe . . . So the Scripture, gathering up the otherwise confused knowledge of God in our minds, having dispersed our dullness clearly shows us the true God.” Spurgeon adds force to the argument that God’s Word is the means of conversion: 

The great means of the conversion of sinners is the Word of God, and the more closely we keep to it in our ministry the more likely we are to be successful . . . Try men’s depraved nature with philosophy and reasoning, and it laughs at your efforts to scorn, but the Word of God soon works a transformation. 

So people everywhere must submit to God’s Word and recognize the biblical truth that salvation belongs to the Lord. 

Third, the Word of God is reliable and trustworthy. “The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7b, NIV). “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true” (Ps. 119:142). “O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised good things to your servant” (2 Sam. 7:28). God’s Word is the anchor of truth for believers who live in a world that balks at the notion of truth. It is the firm foundation where believers may confidently rest, knowing that the sacred Scriptures will never disappoint for they are utterly reliable and trustworthy. 

When Luther stood before the Diet at Worms and was asked to repudiate his books and the “errors they contain,” he replied:

Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is held captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me, Amen. 

May God grant us the rigor and courage of Luther as we hold the authoritative Word of God high in the unique culture where God has providentially placed us.

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