16. THE CHRISTIAN AND THE BIBLE
One sure way in which to grow is to give yourself in the Spirit with prayer TO THE CAREFUL STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES. Would you say to your mother:
'Mother, I love you dearly, but I don't believe a word you say'; or to your father:
'Dad, I trust you completely, but I just wouldn't rely on anything you have said' ?
So with Christ. You CANNOT consistently say you love or trust the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet do anything less than rely on His words, His competence in providing them, His power in retaining them, His capacity in letting heaven and earth go, while HIS words remain, and these, they include His words on the words which were sent by His Spirit, beforehand (I Peter 1:10ff.). Indeed, many of those words SPOKE OF HIM, of His coming, tribe, death date, work to be done, miracles to be performed, atonement to be made, resistance to be found from Israel, Gospel for the word (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3).
Rest assured: the love of Christ, shed abroad in your hearts by the very Spirit of God (Romans 5:5) breeds in you a love of which the Lord has spoken and on which, set His seal (Romans 8:35ff., Ephesians 1:4-14). In this love, strong is the regard for His words which rest on His power and His wisdom for His will, set to preserve the faith for the faithful and bring the cutting edge of the everlasting Gospel to those who know Him not at all. Hence His words in John 14:21ff.: the one who does not care for Him does not care for His words either, but the one who loves Him, loves His words, and faith embraces them from the all-competent God! It also acts: it works because of love, it is free being unforced, it is constrained by love. Love ? it is stronger even than death, the love of God which in fact has even banished that ogre, the watch-dog that punishes sin, on the Cross, that launching pad for the exhibition of eternal life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What then ? The God who gave you lips and thought and soul, knows very well how to speak Himself ( cf. Psalm 94:9,Amos 4:12‑13); and the Almighty Father who hears and knows all the parts and practices of those He brought into being as Creator, He sees the disorders, notes the chaos and observes the
hearts of men; nor is He blind to those who ignore Him, nor yet does He act as if the world were their plaything, and they were gods (Psalm 82:6, Ezekiel 28:9). He spoke, and in His power creation was; He spoke and in His grace, salvation was expressed; He acted, and in His love salvation was accomplished, requiring nothing more to pay, until judgment (Hebrews 1, 9-10).
Before anything was (John 1:1‑3), the eternal, self‑sufficient God was. It is not even a mere matter of 'was' ; HE IS ( Exodus 3:14, John 8:58), for TIME sequence is something which HE made, and signified in this delightful and decisive utterance, "BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM," and "I AM HAS SENT YOU". This the above quotations attest. Time, like space ( Romans 8:38‑39)‑ things future and past: all this is called 'creation'. WE are dealing with ‑ yes being dealt with by ... the Creator of ALL ( Revelation 4:11).
Thus, at the commencement of our world was the One who was (as always) sufficient for all that was to follow, and without Him, it would not because it could not‑ have followed. In creation, back of matter‑ with its law, form and constancy; back of mind ‑ with its law‑analysis and thought about things; back of spirit ‑ with its power to disobey law, and even to seek its own destruction: beyond all this, see the Person whose eternal thought made mind possible in man, whose eternal Spirit made the production spirit conceivable, its freedom among law and even against law ! Here lay the starting block for human love, human freedom without which it is meaningless for man, and because of which sin itself can readily raise its smashed head.
Beyond all this creation, there is the one whose unlimited deeds made matter with its inbuilt laws an offspring of His creation.
Let us look at an interesting statement by Beverley Nichols.
This writer speaks of those who
v "believe that the universe is a blind machine
v started by nobody, interested in nobody; a machine none the less, with
v incredibly complicated laws ( drawn up by nobody) and a machine which
though it is a mass manufacturer of souls,
does not possess a soul
v itself because it is nobody.”
"If you believe that,
you will believe anything."
Here let us say that if you believe that, you are being unscientific and illogical at that point. For you must scientifically and logically supply a reason for these things; and if you refuse, you are denying the reason with which you reason. You must either, as it were 'uncreate' yourself, or else end up seeing that GOD IS: I AM, He says, and as we saw from the lips of Christ, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM. Time's inventor is not a captive of it, but having created it, employs it at will.
The Psalmist puts it: “FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING THOU ART GOD” (Psalm 90:2),and “THOU ART THE SAME AND THY YEARS WILL HAVE NO END” ( Psalm 102:27).The divine nature and eternal power of God is obvious, says St Paul (Romans 1:20), charging that men have held down the truth like a wrestler, for they have not as a race desired it, being sick with sin (Romans 1:18 - this suppression concept is the force of the Greek; cf. Ephesians 4:18-19).
GOD IS and yet His creation which depends on Him for its thought of institution, program and design, laws and form and indeed for everything else which distinguishes the derivative and dynamised from nothing: this His creation clashes and hates and squabbles and breathes with considerable freedom, pride and vanity, both horizontally and... vertically. It utters lies and rejoices in injustice with the frequency of fantasy, groaning more obviously at its negative impact rather than lovingly instituting what is right.
To all such things, God has something to say. YOU THOUGHT I WAS LIKE YOU, He scolds in Psalm 50:21..."BUT I WILL REPROVE YOU, AND SET (things) IN ORDER BEFORE YOUR EYES."
The full force of it,
"YOU THOUGHT I WAS ALTOGETHER LIKE YOU"
brings out the hair-brained madness of vaunting, vaulting man, in more ways than one set to go zooming into space, without considering the earth below, and the Maker beyond.
Yes, God will set in order what is out of order, through the misuse of human and spiritual freedom. What could have been a path to glory for man, in that we as a race could be free lovers and co-workers of God, became shame, in that man left His side and set up on his own. And with what futility!
Every year that passes reveals it more completely:
without the knowledge of God, man cannot!
It will reach a point, said Jesus, such that if the end of the Age did not come,
¨ if Jesus did not return as Judge ( and indeed set things in order, cf. Matthew 25:31 ff., John 5:26 ff.), selecting His saints ( Matthew 24:30-31,39 ff.):
then human beings just COULD not even CONTINUE to populate the
(Matthew 24:22, 7-12). "No flesh would be spared" - said Jesus Christ. If what ? If the time was not shortened, that led to His return. Irruption into return or else, if you will, nothing to return to!
In fact, He declared that the hatred of God
(in heart, not necessarily is this REALISED within the confused and confusing smog of sin in which many CHOOSE to breathe spiritually, just as they MUST often do, physically)
would reach the point at which people would multiply action
with deceptive religious words and works,
so misleading that if such a thing could be done,
then the very ELECT of God would be deceived. Praise God however, as Christ makes so clear, THIS CANNOT BE DONE (Matthew 24:24). As you watch the sects and false prophets from of old and new-made, you cannot help realising that their impossible task is being pursued with intense passion! Like many another passion, it will fail, but it will take many, as does al Qaeda physically, with it!
In its setting of multiplying wars and famines ( Matthew 24:7), all this is the peculiar inheritance par excellence of the twentieth century, a marvel of sects together with insufferable heresies
(Things Old and New Chs. 9,10, Epilogue, Appendix, Highway to Hell, Biblical Blessings Appendix III, Joyful Jottings 14, Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 9),
gaunt misled people, Jonesville and the deity-killing core of J.W.'s who witness to a Jehovah that never was, in contradiction to a Christ who is, acting as if to divide even the scriptural unity of Jehovah and Jesus: while as the Bible says of both Jehovah and Jesus, it is to HIM that every knee shall bow ( Isaiah 45:23, Philippians 2:10), it is Christ who IS the I AM and He SAYS SO (John 8:58). Removing Christ's credentials as Jehovah's complete self-attestation (Hebrews 1), they vainly make of themselves what they are not, and of Him, what is nothing but in their delusion.
There are those
who thus deny the Lord; those
who add to Him, subtract from Him;
act as if to synthesise Him ( as in New Age works aplenty);
to USE Him (as in
the R.C. Mass, which after all is not conceivable on earth for the Christ,
to distil Him as in the
'Social Gospel', making things social the work of things spiritual,
to politicise Him, as in Liberation Theology which carefully
re-defines what the Bible says,
Whole churches of famous reputation dally or depart, doctrines and myths contrary to scientific method, like organic evolution mystify even their proponents: leading professors (Wistar Institute cf. SMR pp. 128-137) noting at an international symposium, that there is no AVAILABLE CONCEPT by which such a theory as that can be conceived and reconciled with reality.
This is the great'falling away' of which Paul spoke prophetically in II Thessalonians 2:1-3 (cf. I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3, II Peter 2 ... ). Do not in the least be disturbed by this; if it would not happen, the Bible would be wrong; it IS happening, merely one MORE verification, confirmation and expression of the Almighty's wisdom, power and concern: He has told us already, from thousands of years ago, in detail, that such things mark the end of the innings ... Thus HOLD on tightly to His hand, to His word and continue freely in His works. It is thrilling to see such a hews scoop from so many thousands of years ago; but
"HIS CAMP IS VERY GREAT: FOR STRONG IS THE ONE WHO
EXECUTES HIS WORD" (Joel 2:11).
Hold to the word, to the Christ, to the Cross. Don't budge an inch. The chosen ones, the elect, the saved sinners, these will be saved, as in Noah's day were those who heeded ( cf. Matthew 24:38 ff.). GOD DOES KNOW what He is doing, and man in devious deceits and consequential spiritual delirium, does not ... it is as simple as that !
We see then, God has spoken, and man has spoken. The situation comes again and again in history. Way back in the days of Jeremiah, God spoke through this pointed prophet, and this in accord with what the prophets had been saying for so long: but the people, though realising he was a prophet, were not prepared to do the thing prescribed through him by God, yes even though they had assured him that they would! Such is the spiritually sordid tale in Jeremiah 44, when even those subjected to ruin were still rebellious, and those whose nation had been categorically humbled, were still cantankerous and contrary to the word of the Lord. Hence, when it came to the point of action, despite their earlier assurance of co-operation, given to the prophet, they simply refused.
Is it not extraordinarily like the case of today, when so many (we have heard them, one by one, year by year) SAY how they agree with the Bible, but when it comes to doing what it says, leaving churches which defy the word of God, WILL NOT GO!
Indeed, even after some of Jeremiah's most awesome prophecies came to pass and the people were anxiously asking for help, even with a touch of desperation, even when they were eagerly assuring him that they would act in accord with the word he would gain from the Lord, they still reneged when action time appeared.
God said this of them: they"SHALL KNOW WHOSE WORDS SHALL STAND, MINE OR THEIRS"*1
Just as you can never get back of reasoning, except by reasoning, and reasoning leads you to God: so you can never get back of sin, except by sin and sin leads to judgment. It is GOD ONLY who can get back of sin, and be in front to provide truth from His total knowledge, unconditioned and unconditionable. God is: I AM, He says. The point is for each one to answer: HE IS ... but WHERE AM I ? Where is your next door neighbour ? God has spoken: and His announcements, His laws, His will, His words are directed through prophets leading to - and predicting with perfect accuracy - the Lord Jesus Christ. But your words and your wisdom ? Where is the place of wisdom ? Job asked (Job 28:20ff.). It is only with the One who created, determines destiny and has all life from His own exuberant brilliance.
God has indeed NOT simply 'sat back' and allowed an iniquitous and cruel race (this is the flow sign of history) to break His laws, mock His government, by injustice, His creation, by lying, contradict and contravene His designs in body, mind and spirit, as if to implicate Himself in such things. Man may think God altogether such a one as himself, but the Creator has made it as it is, and man defiles its relations and its truth , even wilfully.
God, for His part, has NOT as yet removed the contradiction of His principles; He is contrary to its mere continuance; and He is repeatedly on record that there is an end to that, for this world (Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 24, II Peter 3, Matthew 24:35). But it is not yet!
Hence even now, and for millenia there is and has been a remedy declared, divine and decisive.
Thus He HAS SPOKEN to enunciate what ONLY HE can, since HE is the One offended against, and He alone has the knowledge both of His own purposes and His own wise procedures; indeed of what will satisfy His justice in man. Now this DOES involve a REMEDY, for death, the wages of sin, is its own remedy, yet merely extinguishes life. He has done better than this, infinitely.
Having stated the remedy, and then instituted it in a self-attesting, prophetically depicted program, now abundantly fulfilled and finished, except for the final application in the resurrection and glory with Himself in heaven, in mercy HE DOES NOW WAIT and in the end HE WILL THEN JUDGE! Remedies ignored do lead to judgment, in finance, medicine or truth. What then is this only, divinely dictated remedy, divinely wrought, divinely accomplished entry to immortality and life ? It is that ONLY remedy in ALL the world of religion and culture and philosophy and politics: it is Jesus Christ whose prophetic identikit stretched back thousands of years before He came. His shadow is cast on even coming history, which obeys Him as did the wind and the waves on the sea of Galilee.
"HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL PASS AWAY," said this Jesus Christ:
"BUT MY WORDS WILL NOT PASS AWAY" (Matthew 24:35) and similarly, He declared:
"FOR ASSUREDLY I TELL YOU, TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY,
ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE WILL BY NO MEANS PASS FROM THE LAW
TILL ALL BE FULFILLED."
NO, He said, His purpose was NOT to destroy "but to FULFIL the law and the prophets"
God speaks clearly, His word is with us constantly, and neither God nor His word change. He fulfils it. It is a marvel, man is a marvel, and the second needs to heed the first. We MUST STUDY the WORD OF GOD written, just as we LOVE the word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, who endorsed it personally.
Let us review it. God spoke through the prophets and then in the last days, through His Son Jesus Christ ( Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us this), and His word, being His, is incorrigible, practical, powerful, incontrovertible and constant.
Back in the days of Moses, we read this:
"THE LORD COMMANDED ME AT THAT TIME TO TEACH YOU STATUTES AND JUDGMENTS, SO THAT YOU MIGHT DO THEM IN THE LAND TO WHICH YOU ARE GOING OVER TO POSSESS IT...
|"YOU SHALL OBSERVE TO DO THEREFORE AS THE LORD YOUR GOD HAS COMMANDED YOU: YOU WILL NOT TURN ASIDE TO THE RIGHT HAND OR OT THE LEFT...
|"YOU WILL NOT ADD TO THE WORD WHICH I COMMAND YOU, NOR WILL YOU DIMINISH ANYTHING FROM IT, SO THAT YOU MAY KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD WHICH I COMMAND YOU" ( Deuteronomy 4:14,32,2).|
Strong is He who execute:~ His word, says Joel, and Amos 4:12 has THIS:
"FOR LO, HE WHO FORMS THE MOUNTAINS, AND CREATES THE WIND, AND DECLARES TO MAN WHAT IS HIS THOUGHT, WHO MAKES THE MORNING DARKNESS, AND TREADS UPON THE HIGH PLACES OF THE EARTH, THE LORD, THE GOD OF HOSTS IS HIS NAME ..."
adding: "PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD," rebellious people.
Alas they have indeed met the words of God and those of the Jews, and have seen whose will stand. The contest is not too difficult to read...
So too has the Gentile world, as it plays with the holy word of God and ignores or despises it, at times, almost as if it were some urchin whose heart's desire were to displease his parents.
With the leading edge of history helping itself to prophecy as if it were in need of consultation and accepted every word written as stage management, so perfect has been the accord, Jesus came.
As we noted from Hebrews 1:1-2: God spoke in DIFFERENT ways: sometimes in laws, sometimes in commands, sometimes in parable, sometimes in visions, but always, JUST AS HE CHOSE (do not you ?). Speaking in accord with His will and Being, His principles and power: so He presented just what HE wished to express.
You are known by YOUR words and so is HE by HIS ...
God is a past master of speech - having created the powers of the greatest geniuses, in part in their DESIGN! He lies infinitely beyond our best; and to us He addresses Himself.
In the Gospel, there is utter simplicity: a child of 3 may on occasion understand it (yes, I know of one, my own son who since that time has not varied from conviction, commitment and continuance).
There is great depth in His wise utterances, which God alone can minister; there is all but incredible delight in His profound reasons, which leave us staggered in pure joy, and there is no end to the light in Him and of Him who lives in light unapproachable (I Timothy 6:16); and yet reveals His will, whose word is truth, He provides understanding (Ephesians 1:17ff.), for it is He from whom alone any and all standards of truth are even possible.
God does not contradict Himself, is not constituted by any, is utterly free, and in perfect internal consent, needing nothing and without any need of help (Psalm 50:7-12 ), He acts and does what is in His heart, and what He does involves all the reality and relationships available to man and all the depictions purveyed to man in His word. Man lacks nothing - but faith, and the movement to have sin pardoned, grace abound and truth instil.
In his wild contrariness, man lives with a plethora of injustice and lies, which are a contradiction of God who made what is the truth, and whose word is the perfect expression to all that is. Nothing is there to oppose Him effectively, or within at all, for NONE made ANYTHING to be, but God, the everlasting base and Being beyond all that is, however rebelliously man may attack Him. Hence into this maelstrom of folly, has come truth, into this frenzy of iniquity has come the offer of pardon, into this den of deceit has come cleansing, into this hardness of heart, has come compassion, into this realm of death has come deity to die, once and for all, and hence to offer to man love, pardon and freedom in His realm. Here man lives whether he will or not; here man may live in perfected peace in harmonious friendship with God. How great are His provisions, how perfect His reasoning, how manifest His graces, how unique His consistency, His answers to all questions, and His power for all occasions!
"THY WORD IS TRUTH," said Jesus ( John 17:17); and there is no truth but the word (written in propositions, on the one hand, and incarnate as the living and eternal Person who is THE ETERNAL WORD, on the other), the word of God.
As He speaks, so it is. HIS is not mere response but knowledge: "THE LORD KNOWS THE THOUGHTS OF MAN, THAT THEY ARE FUTILE" ( Psalm 94:11), and among them is this "AND THEY SAY," HOW DOES GOD KNOW? AND IS THERE KNOWLEDGE IN THE MOST HIGH ?" (Psalm 73:11).
It is at once our deliverance and our inheritance that God spoke to man despite all the wilfully ignorant pretensions of woeful sin. We noted that He spoke in these last days in a personal donation, His Son incarnate (in flesh), the Christ.
Like a waterfall continuously created or rather poured forth from lake, yet eternally of it and in it as it were, being of one substance with the lake, so is Christ, the Word from His Father. Or again, it is like light from the sun - but deeper far, for the effulgence is eternal, intimate and inexhaustible: so Jesus is the everlasting expression, the word, and Son of God. He is His presentation, His representation, His expression and His truth.
He was inbuilt into flesh, He took a flesh-tent (tabernacled amongst us - John 1:14); and He grew to maturity as a man, suffering in His sinlessness in a sinful world, and exhibiting God in purity as He took His way to His Ministry at about 30 years of age, uttering what His Father had commanded and speaking with personal knowledge of eternity, always doing what pleased His Father (John 8:29). It was thence He came, and through death which He conquered in every part, being pure, and resurrection, being vindicated and unable to be held by death, it was thither that He returned. ( John 1:1-3,14, 3:13, 5:22-23, 6:62, Hebrews 1:1-3, 9:12-28, Colossians 1:19-2:9,Philippians 2, Acts 1:7-11,3:19-21, Hebrews 2).
Christ's words therefore held, and hold perpetual authority; when He SPEAKS, He speaks AS THE TRUTH (John 14:6: see John 12:47-50, Matthew 24:35); and as He spoke, so would judgment be, for this is according to truth (Romans 2).
It was, says Peter ( 1 Peter 1:10-12) the Spirit of Christ who was in the prophets of old,
who "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow", and these men were "moved" (the word is used of a ship driven by a storm), propelled by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:20-21), so that there was no question of their wanting to write and so writing. Not at all, says Peter. On the contrary, it was a matter of the driving dynamic of the Spirit of God who put things far beyond any mere individual interpretation of truth: divine declaration they received, being moved to transmit it (cf. Deliverance from Disorientation... Ch. 9).
In the New Testament we see further reference to these things in John 12:38-41, where Isaiah the prophet is in focus, and in Luke 24:25,26,44, where all the prophets are characterised in terms of divine receipt of information. Of these, as we saw, Christ said that not one jot ( smallest Hebrew letter) or tittle
(a small horn by which one letter is distinguished from another one, which is very like it) would be lost, but all would be fulfilled.
Written and incarnate word, never in collision,
are in collaboration both intense and intimate, as again we see in this:
|"OR DO YOU THINK THAT I CANNOT NOW PRAY TO MY FATHER ,
AND HE WILL PROVIDE ME WITH MORE THAN TWELVE LEGIONS OF ANGELS?
|HOW THEN COULD THE SCRIPTURES BE FULFILLED,|
THAT IT MUST HAPPEN THUS ?
|"HAVE YOU COME OUT AS AGAINST A ROBBER, WITH SWORDS|
|... BUT ALL THIS WAS DONE|
|THAT THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS MIGHT BE FULFILLED"|
( Matthew 26:53-56),
"BUT I TELL YOU THAT THIS WHICH IS WRITTEN
MUST STILL BE ACCOMPLISHED IN ME:
'And He was numbered with the transgressors.'
FOR THE THINGS CONCERNING ME HAVE AN END" ( Luke 22:37).
Thus GOD SPOKE through the prophets and then SENT His SON. Men tended to despise the prophets, killing, mocking, deriding them often; and the Son they killed with merciless, formal murder.|
(See the parable in Mark 12:1-12, and note Christ's depiction of this in Matthew 23:29-36!)
The Bible remains record of the prophets, and of the Christ (John 14:26,16:13) and of the Gospel by which we must be saved ( Acts 4:13, John 14:6, Galatians 1:6-9). It all centres in Christ who alone has authority among us - ministers are merely servants for Him, in His name and In His presence ( Matthew 23:9). He warned us of false masters, false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 24:11,24). Quasi-christs and pseudo-spiritualists abound, as predicted, preying not praying, in the last analysis (II Peter 2:1 says as much). Many are doubly deceived, first in themselves, and then in their call to others to follow their hollow ways, founded on nothing, claiming everything, getting nowhere, now as always, back to Jeremiah, yes to Balaam (II Peter 2).
False prophets ? We have plenty of them; but their words, now as in former times, are merely obstacles for men to fall by, should they be inveigled and beguiled: I Peter 2:8-9, Jeremiah 23:21 ff., I Peter 2:1-3.
These words of the prophets and apostles are spread out ( Ephesians 2:20, II Peter 3:15-16, Galatians 1:6-9, Revelation 22:18-19). On this foundation of doctrine, it all rests, and this rests on Christ). Of Him there is only one, of remedy there is only one, of eternal God there is only one, of prophetic surrounds to history to and from the remedy, there is only one, of rational ground for faith, there is only one, of truth attested from God Almighty after millenia, and confirmed in proposition and person, there is only one, of salvation there is only one, but of confusion and error, there is a myriad. Let us then consider 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, 3:11. THIS is where it is, in Him alone.
NOW YOU SHOULD
SEE QUITE CLEARLY
THE NEED TO DELIGHT IN THE LORD AND IN HIS WORD,
AND TO CONTINUE IN IT, LEARN IT, MEDITATE ON IT, DIGEST IT
(John 8: 31,
15:7,10,15,14:21‑23, Psalm 119:9,32,38,92,97 ...
Then ? DO IT! (Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:24ff.).
As to the extent and composition of
that divine deposition, that celestial confrontation, invitation and provision,
the word of God written, prophets died for it, Christ died rather than impede
its impact (Matthew 26:52-54), for its provisions were inviolable, both in
history and in the mind of Him who gave it just as Peter declared (I Peter
1:10ff., II Peter 1:16-21) and Paul described (I Cor. 2:9-13,
As Moses bound it (Deuteronomy 4 and 12) to the letter, so did Christ; as John cut it off in Revelation 22:18-19, so had Moses done. As the Jews carried to us all the Old Testament (Romans 9:1ff.), so was the New recognised by the Church, most of it pulsing just as had the words of the prophets of old, whether liked or not, within it and recognised for the sacred and inviolable as above shown.
In the Lord's covering of His input, He caused consensus and agreement on the extent of these sacred books at the general ecclesiastical councils of Hippo 393, and Carthage, 397. Here was acknowledged the canon for the Greek New Testament; in its authenticity and authority, it stood as it had long been recognised, now formally secured.
For more on details of this result and its basic thrust, see SMR Appendix C, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 11 where cited, and Sparkling Life ... Chs. 1, 2.
17. WITNESSING FOR CHRIST
We noted above, Jeremiah 15:16. Let us see this with the verse following.
"Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
"I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers,
Nor did I rejoice;
I sat alone because of Your hand,
For You have filled me with indignation."
He took God's words as if they were great booty and treasure.
SO they are.
Yet his heart was sore and sad and sorry, a little later on (20:7-11).
Let us see this too.
"O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily;
Everyone mocks me.
"For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, 'Violence and plunder!'
Because the word of the Lord was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
"Then I said, 'I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.'
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.
For I heard many mocking:
'Fear on every side!'
'Report,' they say, 'and we will report it!'
All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying,
'Perhaps he can be induced;
Then we will prevail against him,
And we will take our revenge on him.'
"But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.
They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper.
Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.
And I could not."
Why was this, that he so endured, so that so suffered, that he was so disenabled from dereliction of duty, and KEPT TO THE WORD AS IT WAS GIVEN TO HIM ? It was because the living God knows His servants, whether Jonah or Jeremiah, and they are His. They may suffer, but the do not fail, since HE does not fail. Jeremiah had for a little time been holding back and not placarding God's word as he might, not witnessing to others with freedom. He was a little inclined to become a dumb dog; but soon God gave him cause to bark! Indeed, as we read above, the word of God, like a raging fire within his very bones, could not conceivably be held back. This is because of its intrinsic authority and its deposition, with Jeremiah as with Paul, just as Peter has described it, in the heart of the messenger. Just as Jeremiah describes it in 23:28-29 so it is and always has been.
Thus in Jeremiah 15:19, we find God challenges the prophet to get on with the business, and to help the lost to find the Lord with the love God had shown him; and to resist their errors at whatever cost, accepting what was according to God's words, and rejecting what was not. This would surely make him unpopular; but it would mean he was speaking effectively and sincerely for God. Read Jeremiah 15:10‑21, and notice the similar constraint on Paul:
“FOR WE ARE NOT, AS SO MANY, PEDDLING THE WORD OF GOD
(adulterating it for gain): BUT AS OF SINCERITY, BUT AS
FROM GOD, WE SPEAK IN THE SIGHT OF GOD IN CHRIST”
( II Corinthians 2:17).
Paul, like Jeremiah before him, is not a commercial traveller, doing what he would with a product to get what he could; rather was he an ambassador for God giving what he must for the purposes of God who spoke it, in the love of Christ:
“FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINS US, BECAUSE WE JUDGE THAT IF ONE DIED FOR
ALL, THEN ALL DIED: AND HE DIED FOR ALL THAT THOSE WHO LIVE SHOULD NO LONGER
LIVE FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR HIM WHO DIED FOR THEM AND ROSE AGAIN”
(II Corinthians 5:14‑15).
As to ALL for whom Christ is the offering received and who thus DIE with Him and IN Him, so being cleansed, corrected and renewed, these are alerted to Him, and being renewed by His Spirit, their actions are not constrained for selfish advantage or alien ideology, but to live, present, testify to and honour Christ. The concept of satisfaction, if it be raised at all, relates to HIM who is Master, to Him who is God, Creator, Redeemer, Shepherd, Guide and girding! What! should a man teach God, or a servant dictate to his master; and who knowing God, has any desire to do differently, for truth is its own beauty, has its own majesty and in the love of God, it nestles, thrust out like sun flares, at God's will, and bringing light and warmth to those far off.
Accordingly, through such obedience as that of Jeremiah and Paul, and so many others, mighty things have been wrought, past all you might readily imagine. Moved as by the mighty wind, they are carried along just as Peter declared of them (II Peter 1:21). Shall we who inherit these words of God, do less than our duty in purveying them faithfully, reading them carefully, giving witness to the lost of the testimony of truth, the way home, the paths of righteousness!
Ponder Matthew 5:19 (where ALL the words and EACH expression of God in His book are certified as significant, to the point that minor bendings of His words, wrought and taught, reduce a person guilty of this to a very poor state, while faithfulness even in small things is relish to the Lord, and He blesses such teaching and action prodigiously. Study also Mark 9:36~37 where similarly, even little children matter much, and those who render to these service spiritually in Christ, are doing what is near to His heart Philippians 2:15‑16, Matthew 28:20, Proverbs 24:11‑12. God has made the little things and the great, and sometimes, as in our own words and deeds, a little thing bears a great message, point and purpose. Moreover God loves, is not careless, and what HE builds, even from what is small, man or woman from child or church from His word, it is SIGNIFICANT!
You MUST WITNESS,
not in your spirit, but in the Holy Spirit (cf. John 7:37‑38, Zechariah 4:6,
Acts 8:26ff.,1 Thessalonians 1:5‑6); and seek and pray for people, bearing them before the Lord, prepared in your heart, meditating and praying without ceasing.
God has given us life, and shown us the way: Let us live it, and do it. You may do it alone; or in company in visitation evangelism, or beach mission, camp or even professionally oriented work, or in many other ways. In systematic visiting, two by two is most wise, as practised (Luke 10:1). You may indeed be called to be a missionary or a minister, or to be a man of God in business, a woman of God in counselling, a mouthpiece in industry, or politics, speaking by explicit words and implicit life, in the Lord. Remember: little things, sown with the word, watered by the Spirit, wrought in love ... can grow.
18) FAITHFUL WITNESS
Witness that is faithful ? Now here you reach a simple point. Some people will want you to ADD to the word of God written, attested, validated and secured in the Church‑ such as Roman Catholics, Mormons. This is condemned, both in the Old and in the New Testaments, as we saw.
Some may even want you to subtract from the word of God written. For example many modern Anglican and Presbyterian, not to say Baptist (Southern Baptists are in the news for a quasi‑break away body which denies the infallibility of scripture) moves do exactly this. (For the Baptist case, see Moody Monthly, July‑August 1991 and for this and others in parallel see News 121 and SMR 684-70, with News 152 and 100 for further awareness in this field)
Like the R.C. failure to be faithful with the word (SMR pp. 1032 -1088H), so this one will be condemned. Remember, we are not talking just now of people, but of doctrines. God will deal with people; but let us be faithful witnesses, steering clear of these things and of course of those who do them (Romans 16:17, Ephesians 4:31-5:7, Titus 3:10, I Timothy 6:1ff., II Timothy 3:1-5, Proverbs 14:7, Jude 22-23, II John 7-10); and let us be ready, if led and enabled, to witness to those snared in these blind alleys. Where the truth is rejected AND perverted, the law is clear: move from such persons, do not associate, mingle and avoid fellowship. This does not mean that you may not pray for them, and seek some opportunity, if by any means the Lord may, as in Jude above, show you a way quickly to snatch the burning log from the fire, in time! It does mean that you do not burn in the same fire, or WITH it!
There is a false fire, and there is the Lord: they are as far apart as the East and the West, and further, since those are in one system, but the Lord excludes invention in His word, or association where it is to be found (cf. Leviticus 10, where Nadab and Abihu, though they had been in the holy mountain with Moses (Exodus 24:1), offered spurious fire to the Lord. This was carnal, by human invention, like that psychological extravanganza, contrary to the word of God (I Corinthians 14 cf. A Question of Gifts), which many in the Pentecostal domain offer, many speaking expressly as forbidden, at once, with no interpretation, just as Paul deplores. Rather, says the apostle, 5 words with the mind than 10,000 without it; though he tolerates limited use of this kind, it is something very different that he directs people actually to SEEK! Glory is not to be found in exalting this! (cf. Questions and Answers 2).
Just as false 'fire' can flame, instead of the Lord in His word, so can false 'fathers'! (contrary expressly to Matthew 23:8-10, in word and in portent: ONE is the Father, and as to Him, He is eternal, sinless and higher than the heavens).
The Roman Catholics,
beside making the Pope such a MASTER and TEACHER that he can
(such as the infallibility of the Pope, decreed in 1871 -
also made Mary Queen of Heaven, deeming her redemptrix ( female version), and the only hope of sinners: a woman who can change by her prayers the judgment of God!
Since however Jesus expressly said: "WHOSOEVER WILL DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN, THE SAME IS MY BROTHER AND SISTER AND MOTHER" ‑ Matthew 12:50, you can see the anti‑Biblical blasphemy of it all. I Just so, they used to create female idols in the days of earlier Israel (cf. Jeremiah 45:22-25).
*But what of this 'ex cathedra ? That is, binding, from 'his chair'. He says it in this manner, and that is it, allegedly over all, beyond all, binding all.
This is another fallen option to letting Christ rule from His celestial site, by His word. See Proverbs 30:6, Matthew 23:8-10, John 16:13 where Christ addressed the apostles to be concerning 'all truth', not popes who should never have been: since ONE master does NOT mean two or more, working in their own 'right', so that 'he alone is lord over princes', indeed said to hold on this earth the place of "God Almighty on earth" to use some of their own terms for themselves (see SMR pp. 931, 915, as per hyperlink).
In fact, to an infinite degree, that separating God as eternal and man as created: the word of God does not mean the word of a man - cf. Revelation 22:18-19, Jeremiah 23:28-29, far less one provided after the time of the apostles, Ephesians 2:20ff.. For this, refer to the church's own historic depiction of the canon of the New Testament, which includes no future dramas from the lips of popes, as above. See also Christ's own abomination and detestation, condemnation and excoriation of the use of tradition to 'add to' the word of God in Mark 7:7ff.. People who are willing to regard a man who is not God, as if he were able to occupy His place, and could actually even begin to bear that title, are in blighting danger of their lives.
I John 2:27 also expressly exposes the folly of such claims for the Pope. When God said ONE MASTER in Matthew 23:8ff., guess what ? He meant it!
Seek to the Lord and His word, not to man, for of what account is he! (Isaiah 2:22); and when he seeks to take over from the word of the Lord, in his own right, he is truly miserable (cf. Isaiah 8:20), and to go with such persons, is like accompanying al Qaeda devotees, in their ... very different mission, this time however, directly spiritual, and of course, deluded (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4).
Indeed, some Reformers found it likely that the pope was the antichrist, and such a view appears in the Westminster Confession of such fame, while the Church of England Prayer Book, in its 39 Articles (Article XXXI) referred to the mass in terms of "blasphemous fables, and dengerous deceits", which is true (cf. SMR pp. 1088Bff.).
However, though the antichrist has yet to be, in his place (which looms near now, cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5), the pope assuredly has given a very close imitation of the conditions to be fulfilled by that party, as prescribed in II Thessalonians 2:4ff.. Now, the situation is ready, with Israel returned to its land, as necessary before the Age should end (Luke 21:24), and we have thus been historically introduced to s )uch licence and liberty from man, against God, even using His name, and showing its vehemence in the Inquisition, not a work of some 6 years, as with Hitler's holocaust, but of several centuries! (cf. The Frantic Millenium... Chs. 6 and 10). In fact, however, as seen in SMR, the final power in this world, before it is judged, will remove Romanism from its seat, and occupy power for itself (cf. Revelation 17:1-5,16, Ch. 18 cf. SMR pp. 946ff., 729ff., 1031C, and The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9).
God is Creator, infinitely superior: He knows His own mind and shares His glory WITH NO-ONE (Isaiah 43:8). When therefore the New York Catechism calls the Pope, God Almighty on Earth, the fact becomes at oncv. clear that this is not only wrong; not only blasphemy; not only folly of a high order: it is contention with Christ (if that were possible), it is treachery and antichristian. Thus the reformers were not slow to deem the pope an antichrist. Nor have things changed. The Pope John Paul 11 at his inauguration was busy to proclaim that the Vatican Council 1 was being re‑affirmed: and that ? It was the one where the POPE was set forth in all his wondrous infallibility. Similarly Pope John XX111 the architect of the 'new look' Romanist attitude to Protestants, was quick to state his TOTAL allegiance to the Council of Trent, which allows for State murder of people who do not see eye to eye with Rome on doctrine, and sets out the details such as this: that those who believe themselves forgiven solely through God's mercy in Christ, are to be damned. It is fairly clear, is it not, that this is not your place for worship, for co‑witness or for schools !
( See Council of Trent: Session 6,1547,Canon IX, and Fourth Session, April 8,1546.)
God has declared His mind and has no mind, as we see repeatedly, for other gods of any kind, even on the pretence and subterfuge of substitution or embassage. A substitute for the Almighty, an alternative to the infinite is rather past the propriety of plays, and sets new records in blasphemy.
We then depend on no man, as we have been taught, trusting only the Lord
and His word, receiving due service from ministry, but knowing that
ministry is service, not God‑substitution. Isaiah warns from afar:
"CEASE FROM MAN WHOSE BREATH IS IN HIS NOSTRILS:
FOR OF WHAT ACCOUNT IS HE" (Isaiah 2:22).
In the face of divine judgment, it is useless to trust in ecclesiastical tresses; the Lord ALONE will be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:11). So long as you recall the difference between God and man, Creator and
creature, the sinless and the sinner, the all‑knowing and the learner, the clear and the confused, the Wonder and the wanderer: you will not find due trouble here! CHRIST has the absolute advantage of being GOD‑AS‑MAN. Thus we have safety and sovereignty both; and in His presence and power can avoid the just curses of both Galatians 1:6‑9 and Revelation 22:18‑19, all of which Rome inherits, with many more.
In its UNAM SANCTUM of Pope Boniface V11 in 1302 (most infallibly..., Rome asserts power and sovereignty over princes, and is in fact in brief, the form of quasi‑Christianity which represents a 'Christ' ‑ a false Christ, one who would have fallen at the devil's suggestion that in exchange for all the kingdoms of this world, He had only to ... worship him ( the devil)!
THIS is THAT. In parallel with His earlier victory over
temptation, Christ announced clearly to Pilate:
"MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD" (John 18: 36) .
THERE is the
cleavage, and it is absolute In addition, Rome would make the sacrifice of
the Bible expressly states, was performed only once and once for all, repeating and amplifying this
fact ( Hebrews 9:25‑26) to be:
i) unfinished (
because continuing to be made in every 'mass'),
ii) offered by
a priest ( whereas Christ said He offered Himself and no man could take His
(whereas Christ did it once as we see in the Gospel, proclaiming,
The wrong person (priest) does the wrong action (offers the One who insisted on offering Himself) the wrong times ( often, not once). Vain for any play of words: IF the Mass is a real sacrifice so that the body in fact IS the body, then the sacrifice is repeated. IF it is not, then all the mangled and charred bodies of Smithfield and other places in the times of the earlier Inquisitions are remarkable: for ROME insisted that it was the body indeed, not mere thought or word, and the burned ones insisted it was not! Suicide, said one of them, it would be if Christ had meant the bread to be His actual body, and then broke it. Rome not merely repeats the 'real and actual' sacrifice of Christ, but claims that by this 'sacrifice', she gains the 'merits' of this cruel procedure, from this 'death' and so can distribute them: it is rather like a commercial company distributing the profits to the shareholders; but this is in the depths of hell.
For such ... benefits, Rome may wish some recompense, as in 'indulgences' to reduce the pangs of a Purgatory (or temporary horror before gaining access to heaven, after death) ... in terms of money, despite the entire prohibition clear from 1 Peter 1:18 It was made rather dramatic in the case of Gehazi, another who would use God's power for personal profit, when that servant of Elijah got leprosy for his pains (II Kings 5: 20 ff.) .
As to purgatory, this too is an addition which subtracts from the beauty of Christ's entire remission: I Thessalonians 5:9‑10, Romans 8:1, Hebrews 10:10,14, Luke 22:42-43, where questioned about results for a criminal crucified with Him, WHEN He would enter into His kingdom, He replied, “This day, you will be with ME in paradise; as also in Romans 5:1-11, John 5:24.
Worse, Rome denies any assurance of eternal life to the ordinary believer (categorically versus I John 5:11ff., John 5:24, 6:50ff., I Thess. 5:9-10, John 4:14, 10:9,27-28, Titus 3:3ff., I Timothy 1:9ff., Ephesians 1:11 for example…), insisting that this is conferred ‑ that is, when the ground for such a life is made clear ‑ only at absolution, on the death bed. In other words, you have to be confirmed by conforming to the church with it traditions (versus Mark 7:7ff.), say they, so that it will be in a position to consider your case! But it is CHRIST who has the keys of hell and death and NO ONE can get to those places of outcast solemnity, except HE should ACT; and certainly HE decrees, ONE IS YOUR MASTER, ALL YOU ARE BRETHREN (Revelation 1:18, Matthew 23:8). HIS sheep who enter through Him by faith, no one and nothing can alienate or remove, is His express declaration, and these, they have entered by Him as the door (John 10:9).
As we have seen, assurance is a scriptural norm, and the word gives it to those who are Christ's, and the 'Spirit testifies with our spirit', also, that “we are the children of God' ‑ Romans 8:16,17, 28-30 cf. I John 5:13.Heirs of Christ, His children will be glorified with Him, and those justified WILL be glorified (Romans 8:29-30), and those who have faith in the Saviour (Romans 4:25-5:2) are already justified.
Not so in the anti-scriptural, dis-faith muddle of Romanism. They make a new religion. In this way, the gift of eternal life, the gift by grace (Romans 5:15) is made to depend on the opinions of men who 'hold' the sacrifices and mete out the 'forgiveness' as seems to them good. If you fall for that anti‑Scriptural and voluntary bowing to men instead of God, you are right on the path to idolatry which, in I Corinthians 5:11, is treated such that you may not EVEN MIX with those who practise this ... not even make a practice of EATING.
Rome is altogether too much to swallow; and we must be separate, declares the word ( Romans 16:17‑19).
This way, then, you will not go, nor keep company with those in it, if you follow the words of Christ; nor will you, as we noted, marry a Roman Catholic, if you follow the word of God.( 11 Corinthians 6:14‑16 also applies for it is another Christ ‑cf. 11 Corinthians 11:1 ff‑ who is 'captured' and administered by Rome).
If someone you consider for marriage will not leave Rome when you faithfully witness, then that is the party from whom you must depart, in any such relationship. Obviously this applies no less wherever a personal involvement is voluntarily in view: as in business partnership. DO NOT MIX, it says. Of course, this is not to require you to see who is who and avoid , and so on: it is a word to your conscience regarding your fellowship and mixing practices.
Similarly, all the sects either add to or subtract from the word of God written. Simple books are available ‑and useful booklets‑ on these sects, including Rome.
The devil indeed attacks from all quarters ( rather like the appeal of the eyes to someone doing the shopping who is ... drawn to spend on SOMETHING ELSE); but if you keep to the words of Jesus, He declares, THEN ARE YOU MY DISCIPLES INDEED ( John 8:31). For this in more detail, see With Heart and Soul... Chs. 9, 10 with Epilogue and Appendix.
Again, in the churches themselves, men often would 'spy out your liberty in Christ Jesus' ( Galatians 2:4). Often, they do not realise what they are doing, for the god of this world blinds (II Corinthians 3:3‑4). Jude tells you how to deal with them... Jude 23! In II Peter 2, you find a whole discussion of such things, including the fact that they ere to 'blossom' (evil flowers) in the last times‑ where now, all the signs of the word assuredly put us, this itself not least.
Notice in particular, on this sort of error creeping ‑ or indeed at times storming - into Protestantism so widely now, the following Scriptures: I Peter 2:1‑3, 1 Timothy 4:1‑3, II Timothy 3:1‑7, II Thessalonians 2:1‑7, Luke 18-21. We have already given careful attention to some of the signals n Matthew 24. Observe ' clearly in II Timothy 3, some characteristics of these false prophets. That is, people who say they are telling you what it all means and what it is that God is saying or has said, yet, who do not do this, rather acting as if to confuse you, in ways clearly contrary to the words of God, or acting so as to seduce Biblical faith. These are crafty manipulators, as Paul indicates in II Corinthians 4:2, and even can be apostles of deceit and ministers of Satan ( II Corinthians 11:4,13).
In II Timothy 3, then, we note that they never KNOW THE TRUTH; they are always looking around the corner which never comes. They do it with the Old Testament, as with the New, asserting devious things without foundation, losing what is real and being unable to substitute what lasts, producing froth for faith, and fanaticism in place of spirituality. Popes are of this variety, as leaders in other sects, short on biblical truth, long on directive or not dictatorial assurance, and liberalism has sought to turn Protestantism into something as far from Christ as is Romanism, and the sects. MANY are the false christs and prophets, said Christ, in this last time (Matthew 24:24), and MANY they ARE!
With Rome, they ever know what the Pope will say next, while decIaring ... that all the rest of what was ever said REALLY means this or that; because he is so infallible'. This! it is infallible insecurity, and assured loss. Further, says Paul, they disbelieve the POWER of God, majoring on forms. They rely on natural processes. In the case of Romanism, they even make their own sacrilegious sacrifice of the Saviour, and trot it out frequently, as in a circus. Small wonder John Bunyan in his Pilgrim's Progress ‑ vastly in need of being READ - has the Pope crucifying to himself afresh the Christ in a cave. Cf. Hebrews 6:6 and 10:29.
Relying then on natural processes, or philosophical contradiction, as if to make Christ's symbolic breaking of bread, in fact the breaking of His own body, which nevertheless continued thereon, just as it was: this class of heresies would virtually dismiss God from His status, majoring in words without the power of God. They do not respect His authority, being more concerned with their own, and exhibiting the 'flesh' in religiousness, they do not keep God's truth (SMR pp. 1032-1088H, 946ff.). This can be deadly. AVOID such people, therefore (Romans 16:17‑19). Their fair speeches, says Paul, are deceptive. In Revelation 18, you see the clear call, COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE! It is no place to be, spiritually or even physically, as the end comes, as you can read in that chapter!
NO church or man is to be trusted when such a one departs from the words God recorded in Scripture; or adds to them. Professing to be wise, they replace God with their own tongues, and end worse than they began (II Peter 2:15‑21). Balaam , you remember, was a man who had something of a divine touch, but one who used it for his own profit ‑ or played with this idea.
What does Peter say of such a thing: "THEY MAKE MERCHANDISE OF YOU" ‑ II Peter 2: 3. When man seeks to measure man by man (II Corinthians 10:12), construct Christs by the philosophies of men, mere cultural christs, it is but ludicrous mental offal from the fallen heart, thus daring to use the name of heaven's choicest pearl (II Corinthians II:4) for their devious, deluded or depraved ends. This they do to obtain honour from men (John 5:44) - or mere profit (II Peter 2), whether it be spiritual honour or whatever else, but especially religious honour. MERCHANDISE is what the soul of man thus becomes, bought and sold without sanction, scripture or security (cf. Revelation 18:13 shows the grievous, the gruesome reality of such things).
Neither they nor their curious and spurious productions glorify God. Indeed, Christ asked, "HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE, WHO RECEIVE HONOUR FROM ONE ANOTHER" (John 5:44) ! HOW indeed... Money moreover is the reward of Judas, wholly ridiculous in the presence of the supreme and superb sacrifice of the Saviour (cf. I Peter 1:19-19).
Consider Ezekiel 13:6-11 on this, for the evil presumptions of false prophets on this earth is as old as the activities on this planet, of Satan himself!
"They have envisioned futility
and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’
‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken.
"Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Because you have spoken
nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you,'
says the Lord God.
" 'My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and
who divine lies;
they shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel,
nor shall they enter into the land of Israel.
'Then you shall know that I am the Lord God. Because, indeed,
because they have seduced My people,
saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace -
and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar."
All these things, Romanism, other sects, Protestant 'liberalism' and all the other theological philosophies, without truth, warrant or reality, neo-orthodox, neo-evangelical, indeed the whole host of them, are false witness.
Faithful witness, however, not only and of course avoids all these theological diseases, but the pride of having avoided them, and thanks God for the grace by which the heart has been saved, and freely attests it (cf. Ephesians 2). It moreover seeks and thus finds the Lord, and suffuses the aroma of His truth, the beauty of His holiness and the certainty of His return, amidst the wonders of His free pardon and absolute guarantee in grace, of salvation (cf. John 4:24, I John 5:12-13, Romans 5:1-11, John 10:9,27-28). But why is there such a todo to make it all so very unsure, in the sects and in Romanism and liberalism, that or so vague as to be meaningless ? It is because only then is there a PRESSURE POINT for you to be manipulated or pulsated or in any case managed by the power of the sect or theological propagandism, and only then is the power of man able to masquerade with some satisfaction to its own enterprise, as if it were in any sense the power of God.
For many, the knowledge God being absent, His power is not realised, and their puny management techniques are made verbal substitutes, like that of someone promising faithfulness to his wife, glass in hand, and mistress in waiting. They do not, because they will not realise that their doom is sealed, unless they repent! (cf. Revelation 2:18-23).
As noted, in the end, the confusion, deviousness and deceit of the antichrist will altogether forget the distinction between Creator and creature (II Thessalonians 2:4-12), having lost desire for truth, thus falling into a judgment of delusion so great that the lie is even BELIEVED!