“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,”
Yesterday I posted about a Facebook post that I claim is errant, in fact deceptive and evil. Why? Because it made the claim that the Bible is inconsistent and therefore should be regarded merely as a “library of stories and not an owner’s manual.” I disagree.
The post had a good hook. By using references, the author appears knowledgeable so as to establish legitimacy and authority. But as Jesus explained to other church “authorities” way back when,
Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Here’s the basic premise. The claim is that the bible starts out as prejudicial (hateful) but comes around to inclusivity. In other words, people are basically good, and bible writers unwittingly have demonstrated this. That’s the claim, that the bible is inconsistent.
But is their starting point correct? Certainly, almost anyone you ask would say people are basically good. Sure, they do bad things, but with few exceptions, most people are good. This is especially true when people look at themselves individually. Yet, careful examination of the bible reveals that God certainly doesn’t see things that way, that people AREN’T good.
Let’s take a look at God’s chosen people, the Israelites. They were the good people, right? Didn’t God instruct them to avoid the other nations? In fact, were they not to completely slaughter most of them – man, woman, and child? The Israelites were good and the others bad. Right?
Wrong. God didn’t think the Israelites were good, not at all.
Deuteronomy 9:4-6 “Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.
And so they proved to be. Despite warning after warning, God finally disposed all of them from the land in what must have been one of the most horrific events of history. He did keep a few back, as he promised, but for his name’s sake, not theirs.
The truth of the matter is that no person is good. That’s part of the over-arching theme of the bible. Let’s face it, if we were, there would be no reason for Jesus. None. Yet he came. The plain truth is that despite the few good things we do, we are rotten to the core.
Romans 3:10-12 as it is written, “None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
To be certain, God punishes those who willfully disobey him (all of us), and our rightful, eventual home will be the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
That’s all of us, folks. God is just and will not be mocked. He desires to show his wrath against all who choose to be his enemies (that’s all of us, folks). Even so, he also desires to show mercy, at his discretion and under his terms. Who are we to argue with that?
Romans 9:14-16 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
We all stand condemned already, by our thoughts, words, and deeds. The only hope for us is whether God will have mercy on us, individually. Thankfully, he has extended his offer for repentance for all men; regrettably, no one takes it. That’s right. The offer is for all men (John 3:16) but no one take it. What???
Luke 18:26-27 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
That is what the New Covenant is all about. God ransoms those on whom he has mercy and changes them from the inside out, making them his children. This is God’s doing, not man’s.
Ezekiel 36:22-28 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I wlll cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
John 3:3, 7-8 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”…”Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Galatians 3:7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
Glory to God in the highest for his mercy! Undeserved mercy!
Back to that post. While it is true the bible has us scratching our heads, it is also true that every word is purposely put there by the Holy Spirit so that we might know God and his will. The bible isn’t a library of stories. It is Jesus’ autobiography and the one story of redemption. To suggest otherwise is naivety to one’s deeply-rooted sin. They blasphemy God. No, the only inconsistency in this whole thing is that of the author of the post and the one who shared it. A church, mind you. May God have mercy.
Father, your will be done. As you say in Revelation, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” Amen.