It Is Written
I didn't grow up in the church, and oftentimes I found myself in complete confusion about what God wanted and what I needed to do for Him. My parents were divorced and they each had their own answers to my questions. None of the answers were the same. So, when I got confused, I'd go elsewhere (usually to a school counselor or someone like that).
I remember "running all over the place" in search of answers and everyone always had an "opinion." Of course, all these different people had their own unique answers to my questions (again, none were the same), and that's when I thought: How do they know they're right when they're just as human as me and my parents? What makes their answers the right ones?" I can remember thinking, they never actually "met God," no more than I had, so ... how can I really know that what they're saying is true? That's when I gave up asking everyone for answers. It became overwhelming. All the answers were different. How could I know what was true?
That was the beginning of my battle, and I wasn't even a Christian yet.
I'm sure many of us are familiar with the following verses in Ephesians 6:10-13.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
How in the world do we defend ourselves against such unearthly beings?
During my time of confusion, I must have been surrounded by a spiritual army shooting their arrows to confuse me and keep me from the truth. Finally, by the time I was sixteen, I learned that if the answers aren't in the Bible (the authority of our faith), I didn't have to listen to them. Our armor and the answers to all our questions are in the scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Hmm ... every good work doesn't leave much out now does it?
Remember when Satan tried to tempt Jesus? Look at how Jesus responded to Satan every time: Matthew 4:4 - It is written ... In Matthew 4:7 - ... it is written ... and Matthew 4:10 - ... it is written ... . Jesus fought against Satan with the word of God. Of course, they didn't have the New Testament at that time, but they had the Old Testament scriptures, and that's what Jesus referred to each time Satan put a temptation before Him.
But what about those who also use scripture to prove their point? When Satan tried to tempt Jesus he quoted scripture to convince Him to go his way. How do we handle that?
Matthew 4:6 says (all caps are quotes from the OT), And [Satan] said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"
If you ask me, that's a pretty convincing scripture. After all, Jesus is standing on the pinnacle of the temple. Why not use this opportunity to prove to Satan that Jesus is the Son of God?
However, this was Jesus' response: Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"
This goes to show how important it is that we know and understand the scriptures. We must study and develop an understanding that isn't contrary to God's teaching. Anyone can read the Bible and make it say whatever they want, twisting it to suit their own desires.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 - For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Galatians 1:6-9 - I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
It's important that we set aside what we think we know and our own will, and simply read each passage and let God's word do the talking, not add to it or take away from it.
Let's go back to Ephesians and take a closer look at this battle we're in. After all, Ephesians is giving us instructions on armor and weaponry.
Ephesians 6:14-18 says, Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Okay, so here's our armor:
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
Now the question is, how does the Bible (God's word) define this armor? We want the correct definition so we're using the Bible and not our own opinions and ideas.
TRUTH: John 17:17 says, Thy Word is truth. Pretty simple definition, huh?
RIGHTEOUSNESS: There are several verses that define righteousness, but these two sum them all up quite nicely. Ezekiel 18:9 - if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully - he is righteous and will surely live," declares the Lord GOD.
Romans 5:19 - For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
So, righteousness is the state that results in doing right and being made right in Christ. How do we know what's right? We learn right and wrong by studying God's word.
THE GOSPEL: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, which says, Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
FAITH: Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
SALVATION: Acts 2:38 says, Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. There are several examples in Acts of people being saved: Acts 8:4-13, 35-39; 10:44- 48; 16:14-15, 25-33; 18:8; 19:1-5; and 22:1-16.
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT: Ephesians 6:17: ... sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Didn't have to go far for that one.
PRAY AT ALL TIMES: Prayer is our communication with God and can't be emphasized enough. Prayer is best illustrated through Romans 8:26 in that man does not know how to pray to (speak, address) God, but we need the Holy Spirit to intercede for us (i.e. properly addressing God and explaining our thoughts). Interesting that the intercession is described with groanings, implying that we are complaining, lamenting, begging maybe? Perhaps that is why prayer is often discussed in connection with supplication.
Notice how the "word of God" is mentioned twice in this list of armor ... twice, under TRUTH and THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, and you can even find it implied in the definition of RIGHTEOUSNESS. That means it's pretty important.
All these answers were found in the word of God. In the Scriptures. Therefore, "It is written ..." should be our response.
Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Previously published in the Rocky Mountain Christian.
Published in The Old Paths Archive