First Baptist Church of Niles
Balancing Your Bible
Many years ago, an amusing story was often told of how some Christians determined the Lord's will for their life. They asked the Lord for His will, closed their eyes, opened the Bible, and pointed to a text of Scripture. When they opened their eyes they took that as the word of God to them personally. Repeating the process, they felt they would know what to do. One such person did this and the first words he read as he opened his eyes were, “Judas went out and hanged himself.” Not liking that, the seeker repeated the process. The next verse he read was, “Go and do thou likewise.” Still not satisfied, he repeated the process and the words he read were, “What thou doest, do quickly.”
Although most of would not go to this route in determining God's will, I wonder if we do not do something similar when we consult only one side of truth and reject anything that seems to contradict our pattern of thinking. If we are to clearly understand eternal truth, we must consult the whole counsel of God. We must learn to balance our Bible.
The problem lies in the fact that when we discover an awesome truth, we fail to recognize that there may be another side to that same truth which is just as amazing. We consider it a contradiction. We think, “If this is true, this can't be.” But in eternal matters this is not the case. We all have blind spots. If you study the lives of the Apostles Jesus called, you will find that even they did. They could not comprehend a dying Messiah; even though the scriptures taught it and Jesus taught them this repeatedly. It was not until after the resurrection that they began to comprehend and reconcile the truths.
Why are there so many denominations? I think this is good for Christianity. Any group that gains power will generally seek to prohibit others who disagree with them from operating. I am not referring to cults or those who deny the authority of the Scriptures. I am speaking of those teachers and pastors who sincerely and intensely love the Lord but do not agree with you on some matters. Of course there are some just plain errors we must guard against, but often the disagreement comes from the failure or an unwillingness to see the other side of a truth. When we come to something that seems to contradict our perspective, we either ignore it or explain it away. Hold to the truth you know, but consider there may be a side to truth you have never examined. Perhaps they need to do the same. This is the key to balancing your Bible.
When I was a young man studying for ministry, I often visited the home of the beautiful girl I would one day marry. We have now been married for sixty years. I recently came across a picture that she took of me back then. I was throwing a magazine angrily to the floor. This was a home full of Bible students where the Bible was often discussed. I did not come from such a heritage. When they gathered that day they were discussing of the doctrine of election. They handed me a Baptist magazine presenting the doctrine, and as I read the anger grew. I saw it as a contradiction of what I knew; “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. Whosoever will may come.” However, the seed was sown and I began to discover that the Bible does teach the doctrine of election. I also saw the apparent contradiction of other doctrines that many wrestle with such as the Trinity and unity of God, the doctrines of the Deity and humanity of Christ and many other teachings.
One day I came across a passage in a book by Horatius Bonar, “God's way to holiness”. I read these words: “truth is indeed, not two sided, but many sided, like a well cut crystal. In a more general sense, however, it is double, with a heavenly and an earthly, a divine and a human side or aspect.” He continued, “It is at this line where these two meet that the greatest nicety of adjustment is required, and hence it is here that the heavenward and the earthward aspect of truth must be carefully distinguished, the one fitting into the other, the one the counterpart of the other.”
Those words and others changed my whole outlook. One must be careful to not take one side of the equation to extremes or great danger will arise. Neither side is half and half with the other. Both are absolutes, but if one is allowed to silence the other, dangerous errors will result.
When we began our present ministry many years ago, a young man came to church who had been taught what has been called “hard shell” doctrine”. He believed he could not decide for Christ, but that God would save him, if he saved him at all, when God got good and ready. That week the Lord led me to preach from Romans 10:9, 10, “believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth” and that young man was gloriously saved. His joy knew no bounds. The next week His wife confessed faith. He, later became a Baptist preacher.
If you and I desire to understand the ways of God, we must be aware of the need of balancing our Bible. Sometimes we need to lean the other way.
Today, please meditate on these words our Lord spoke in John 6:37. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. “ NKJV