“Has God indeed said…?”

Friday, February 16, 2018

One cannot have a holy fear of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection with a dismissive attitude of any of Jesus’ and His Spirit’s teachings. That’s not love for Christ who purchased our salvation. We do well to measure what we believe in light of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11). Have you spiritually died with Him?

An effective deceit Satan uses against people, and especially Christians, is the same used against Eve in the Garden when he said, “Has God indeed said…?” (Gen. 3:1). When doubt regarding God’s authority overshadowed her heart, humanistic justification followed, God was dethroned, Eve was self-enthroned, and death was born. And the medium? – fruit that looked good!

It’s been occurring ever since that fateful day in Eden when “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14). Webster says to deceive is “to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid”. In this, many today are shameless.

It’s called pride. That first deception disguised as something good, even so notable as to “make one wise” (Gen. 3:6) causing the fall of the human race was rooted in Satan’s words, “Has God indeed said?” We must take serious note of that event which led to spiritual death, and apply it to everything we believe, what we don’t believe, and why. It’s truly about life and death.

The fruit of actually believing God produces true love, not a humanistic superficial love that avoids truth in order to achieve one’s will and favor of man, but true love for God, His Word and fellowman, a love that exposes deception and currents of humanism, yes, a love that warns God’s people of deceit and false church traditions. Hence, one’s great need for spiritual discernment.

The tempter, the deceiver, the evil one, the son of perdition, Satan, yet sows that same deceptive question into the hearts and minds of people today, in fact, more so today, because he knows that his time is short. And the only resource you and I have as Christians to discern deception from truth is the written Word of God contextually confirmed by the Holy Spirit.

However, many Christians, like Eve, seek justification of their own will and say things like, “The Holy Spirit told me this”, or “God is leading me to that”, when in fact, they haven’t searched the Word of the Lord regarding this or that. Their spirit is open like Eve’s, but clouded by their own desire, disguised even as wisdom. Thus, many are not led by God’s Word but by their flesh.

Here’s a reliable truth: God will NEVER lead anyone into any vocation or situation that is contrary to His written Word for Christians. Nor will God’s Spirit lead anyone to believe or teach that which runs counter to the testimony of Jesus Christ; rather, the one in Christ by faith will lay down his life for the truths of God in Christ who suffered Calvary for our salvation.

Though numerous, let me give you just two examples of humanistic justification many in the church enact in order to undo God’s Word. First, God clearly said, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says…If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:34–37).

Many theologians and church leaders, however, fearing our culture more than God, which hates those who segregate gender in business or religion, bow the knee to cultural dictates and appoint women to offices of headship and authority in the church. They do this on the guise that 1 Cor. 14:34–37 was applicable only to the first century church. How conveniently deceptive.

Though having no Biblical support, they who undo the truth say that because women in the first century were disruptive in church, this exhortation exists. It’s assumed that God’s Word for the first century church is not intended for the church of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. What a deception! This mocks God with conjecture and assumes that He changes! But we must apply the truth, that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:6).

Furthermore, God gave reason why women are to be silent and not hold authoritative offices, i.e., pastor, teacher, deacon, elder, in the church, saying, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12–14).

Secondly, many theologians and church leaders, fearing loss of their created pretribulation rapture tradition, assume that when Jesus taught the Olivet Discourse at Matthew 24, He spoke not to the church but only national Jews. Therefore, the gathering of Jesus’ elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) has no application to the church. This, they say, is rightly dividing the Word of truth, but they deceive for their own benefit. Again, how very convenient.

Let’s test their approach to God’s Word. When Jesus, at night, taught “a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:1, 3), He must have meant that only national Jews needed to be born again, right? Therefore, this cannot apply to the church? But we again apply truth: Jesus said, “what I say to you, I say to all” (Mark 13:37). Yet, the evangelical church teaches that one must be born again to be saved. Thus, their former assumption is deception.

Christians need to discern that Jesus said of His earthly ministry, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). Therefore, what Jesus taught was specifically to national Jews. But after Jesus’ death and resurrection He told would-be Christians, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20). The Words “all things” in that commission includes the Olivet Discourse!

Has God explicitly said “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:12–13)? Most certainly. Has God explicitly said Christ “must remain I heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21 NIV)? Indeed. Has God explicitly said that He raises the righteous dead “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54) and in “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6)? Yes, indeed. Has God explicitly said that Christ gathers His elect saints “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31)? Yes. True Christians, then, have the obligation to teach and obey these truths.

Marlin J. Yoder

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