Greetings Butler County. I pray that this week’s article finds you all doing well. In the last two articles we covered 1) our need for authority in religion and how authority for everything we say and do in religion and our Christian lives must come from God; and 2) examples from the Old Testament that illustrate these points. This week I want to discuss a few passages in the New Testament that reinforce the concept that we need authority from God in all that we say and do in religion. Lord willing, in next week’s article I want to explore the question, “Can we understand the Bible alike?”.
Let’s begin by looking at Matthew 7.21-23: “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven [will enter]. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’” Jesus never denies that these people did these things. To some people the things they did would seem good and religious, but obviously they were not the exact things God wanted them to do or else they did not do them in the way the Lord authorized. People who participate in things that seem good and religious are not guaranteed an entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus even goes as far as saying that these people who did seemingly good and religious things but that were contrary to the will of God will be told to depart from the presence of the Lord because the Lord never even knew them and that they practice lawlessness. Everything we do must be in accordance with the will of the Father!
We have already looked at Colossians 3.17, which states, “Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” “In the name of the Lord Jesus” means in accordance with His will or by His authority. In the words of commentator R.C.H. Lenksi, “absolutely everything is to be done in the light of the revelation of our Lord and harmonize with that revelation.”
1 Corinthians 4.6 teaches that we are “not to think [of men] above that which is written” (AV). This means that we are not to allow anything that man might come up with, although religious and seemingly good, to be our source of authority for anything we do and say in religion. “That which is written” is the Word of God, or the Bible (cf. 2 Timothy 3.16-17; Jude 3). Colossians 2.20-23 teaches that participating in those things that are “in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men” is the very opposite of what those who are in Christ are to do. The Bible is to be our only source of authority for all that we say and do in religion!
Finally Galatians 1.6-9, 2 John 9 and Revelation 22.18-19 explain that we are not to teach or participate in anything that is different from, anything that goes beyond, anything which takes away from or anything that adds to the Words of Christ, the Bible!