Most of the problems to arise among brethren are due to a lack of respect for the authority of God’s word. The issue may be worldliness, divorce and remarriage or the role of women. While each of these is a different issue, they are all symptoms of a lack of respect for the Bible. To show what the Bible says on the subject of worldliness will not correct the problem until those being taught have some respect for what God says. If we respect the Word of God, we must as Christians allow God to have the last Word in all that we say and do. These are the reasons why:
God Has Authority Over Man
By “authority” we mean “The power to command, enforce laws, exact obedience, determine, or judge”. God has the power to tell man how he is to live and demand that he be obedient to his will.
1. He is God
The very fact that God is God suggests he has all authority. He is eternal. He said to Moses, I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14). He is the Almighty, the all powerful God (Rev. 4:8).
2. He is the Creator
He created the world and all things in it (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 3:4). The world was created for his will (Rev. 4:11). He created man and gave him the very life that he has (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). Thus, he has the power to rule our lives.
3. He is Infinite in His Wisdom
His ways and thoughts are higher than man’s ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). God is so wise that man cannot dare to sit in judgment on God and question what he says and does (Rom. 11:34). Thus, man is not left to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23).
4. He Controls the Destiny of Man
Paul described God to those who did not know God saying, “for in him we live and move and have our being. . . `For we are also his off-spring”‘ (Acts 17:28). In light of that principle, Paul states that God has commanded all men to repent (Acts 17:30,31). God has the right to command that of man in that he controls the life and destiny of man.
5. He will Judge Man in the End
God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world (Acts 17:31). Whether we like it or not, whether we are ready or not, God will call all men to appear before him to be judged (2 Cor. 5:10). If he will judge man, then he has the power to demand obedience to his will.
The Bible Is the Infallible Word of God
1. How the Word Came to Man
God speaks to man through his Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1). The Son revealed God’s will to the apostles by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26 cf; 15:26; 16:13 f; Eph. 3:3-5). The apostles wrote down the revelation (by inspiration) so men and women could read and understand the will of God (Eph. 3:3-5).
2. The Word is Inspired
The Bible was given by the mouth of God. Its words are his words. The Bible makes two claims about its inspiration. (a) All of the word is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16). This is what we call absolute inspiration. (b) Even the very words that the apostles spoke and wrote were chosen by God (1 Cor. 2:13). This is what we call verbal inspiration.
3. The Bible is the Word of God
The Thessalonians received the message Paul preached “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). The seed of the kingdom is the word of God (Lk. 8:11). If it is the word of God, we ought to reverence it as such, and not view what is taught from it as the word or tradition from man.
4. We will be Judged by the Word
In the end of time we will give an account as to whether we have accepted and followed the Scriptures or rejected them. Jesus said, “. . . the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48 f; Rom 2:16).
We Must Follow the Pattern of God’s Word
1. There is a Divine Pattern
The church of Christ believes that the New Testament is a divine blueprint for what the church ought to be in every age, and it is our responsibility to build according to the pattern.
God has always had a pattern for his great institutions for the building of the tabernacle, he said, “According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof even so shall you make it” (Ex. 25:9). Centuries later, God selected Solomon to build the temple and the houses thereof “. . . and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit. . .” (1 Chron. 28:11-12). David told Solomon, “All this have I been made to understand in writing from the hand of God, even all the works of this pattern” (v. 19).
If God was so concerned about the temple and tabernacle (physical buildings) that he gave his people a pattern and demanded that they build according to the pattern, could he be so unconcerned about the details of the church (a spiritual house) that he has no blueprint for it? The tabernacle is a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned of God when he was about to make the tabernacle… The tabernacle was a shadow, the church is the reality. Since the shadow had a pattern, the reality must also have one
Whatever the Bible says on any Subject is the Pattern
If we must follow the pattern of God’s word, then several conclusions naturally follow. We cannot make add to or subtract from God’s word (Deut. 4:2 f; Rev. 22:18-19). We cannot go beyond God’s Word (Nu 22:18 f; 1 Cor 4:6). We cannot change God’s Word (Gal 1:6-9). We must abide within the confines of God’s Word (Jn 8:31 ff; Col. 3:17; 2 Jn. 9). We must speak the very Words of God (1 Pet 4:11). If we respect biblical authority, we will follow it even as did the prophets of old followed it (2 Pet 1:21). If we respect biblical authority, we will follow it even as did the apostles followed it (Acts 4:19,20 cf 5:29). If we respect biblical authority, we will follow it even as Jesus Christ followed it (Jn 12:49,50).