I would like to share an article I read this week by Kevin DeYoung. A theologian and pastor from the USA, he has authored and co-authored numerous well-known books. The article is adapted from his book, “Taking God At His Word; Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me”. I hope God will use it to remind us why He wants us in his Word and stir up in us a renewed passion for and faith in His word.
That’s because the accountability Jesus holds us to has ethical and lifestyle repercussions, even down to the use of resources, like money, the subject in focus in Luke 16. God wants us to not only proclaim His salvation but to also bring the life of the kingdom of God to the earth. This was something Jesus consistently emphasised. Here it is:
In Psalm 119 we see at least three essential, irreducible characteristics we should believe about God’s word.
- God’s word says what is true
Like the psalmist, we can trust in the word (v.42), knowing that it is altogether true (v. 142). We can’t trust everything we read on the Internet. We can’t trust everything we hear from our professors … Statistics can be manipulated … Our teachers, our friends, our science, our studies, even our eyes can deceive us. But the word of God is entirely true and always true: God’s word is firmly fixed in the heavens (v. 89); it doesn’t change … All God’s righteous rules endure forever (v.160); they never get old and never wear out. If you ever think to yourself, “I need to know what is true – what is true about me, true about people, true about the world, true about the future, true about the past, true about the good life, and true about God,” then come to God’s word. It teaches only what is true: “Sanctify them in the truth,” Jesus said; “your word is truth” (John 17:17).
2. God’s word demands what is right.
The psalmist gladly acknowledges God’s right to issue commands and humbly accepts that all these commands are right. “I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,” he says (Ps. 119:75). All God’s commandments are sure (v. 86). All his precepts are right (v. 128). I sometimes hear Christians admit that they don’t like what the Bible says, but since it’s the Bible they have to obey it. On one level, this is an admirable example of submitting oneself to the word of God. And yet, we should go one step further and learn to see the goodness and rightness in all that God commands. We should love what God loves and delight in whatever he says. God does not lay down arbitrary rules. He does not give orders so that we might be restricted and miserable. He never requires what is impure, unloving, or unwise. His demands are always noble, always just, and always righteous.
3. God’s word provides what is good.
According to Psalm 119, the word of God is the way of happiness (vv. 1-2), the way to avoid shame (v. 6), the way of safety (v. 9), and the way of good counsel (v. 24). The word gives us strength (v. 28) and hope (v. 43). It provides wisdom (vv. 98-100, 130) and shows us the way we should go (v. 105). God’s verbal revelation, whether in spoken form in redemptive history or in the covenantal documents of redemptive history (i.e., the Bible), is unfailingly perfect. As the people of God, we believe the word of God can be trusted in every way to speak what is true, command what is right, and provide us with what is good.
Lord, grow our faith in you!