When Luther was ordered to appear the town of Worms to defend his beliefs and recant his writings there, he said,
“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”
Luther understood that partial obedience is disobedience. He could not pick and choose from Scripture only what was easy to accept. He had to remain faithful to it, even at the risk of his own life.
Jesus set us an example of what it means to obey God’s Word even at risk of our own suffering.
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
At the end of the day, it does not matter how often we read through the Bible, how many verses we memorize by heart, how many stories we recall or how much systemic theology we learn. What does matter is how much we obey and keep what God has taught us. God’s Word is not like a ‘pick and mix’. There are parts of it that are and will become unacceptable in our culture, yet we are called to uphold its truth.
We must be careful not to dilute scripture by our words or actions. It’s human nature to try and find a loophole around things we don’t want to do, but that it simply not God honouring. Jesus’ said,
“If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:15
Not only does our love for God have a direct influence on our obedience to His Word, but so does out love for other. In watering down the truths of Scripture, we are in fact presenting lies and false hope to a world in need. It is like handing out placebo tablets to someone who is dying because there are more palatable than the medicine that will heal them. Not only is that unloving but hateful.
Oh, that we too would be bound to Scripture and present it truthfully and lovingly to those around us.
- Are you staying true to the whole of Scripture?
- Which area of the Bible do you find it most easy to compromise in order to please others?
Father, Thank You for the Bible. Help us to be bound by Your word and to live it out in our lives. Sorry for the times we water it down by our words and actions. Help us to remain faithful we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.