Getting It Right

Written by Drew on February 2nd, 2006

False doctrine is often excused on the basis of human incompetence. “It is impossible to get everything right,” someone will say, “Nobody’s perfect.” True, nobody’s perfect. I’m sure that every one of us is mistaken concerning one biblical issue or another. But that does not excuse an outright contradiction of plain, Bible teaching.

Grace does play a role in this discussion. We do not merit our salvation by works. Rather, it is freely given to us when we come to God by faith (Eph. 2:8-9). This does not, however, preclude the conditions for salvation God has required, things like repentance (Lk. 13:3), confession (Rom. 10:9-10), and baptism (Acts 2:38). There is a difference between coming by faith to God on His terms and working your way into heaven.

After salvation more grace is supplied. James says, “He gives more grace” (4:6). Peter also writes, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). When Paul prayed that his “thorn in the flesh” be removed, Jesus’ response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). So Paul’s weaknesses were overcome by the grace his Lord continued to supply.

Some people believe that grace gives them license to neglect Bible study and respect for the truth. They don’t worry about “book, chapter, and verse” because they believe God’s grace has them covered.

The problem with this thinking is that part of God’s grace involves His revealing the New Testament for our instruction. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17). People marveled at Christ’s “gracious words” (Lk. 4:22). Paul commended “the word of his grace” to the Ephesian elders, saying that it “is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). Furthermore, he contrasted “the grace of God” with “earthly wisdom,” saying it was responsible for his ability to behave “with simplicity and godly sincerity” (2 Cor. 1:12). We do not deserve salvation; we do not deserve God’s inspired word, either (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

God has given us His word by grace because He wants us to use it. No, none of us understands every minor detail completely. But when it comes to matters of faith, we must get it right. To do otherwise is to reject the “word of grace.”

 

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