Charles Stanley - Your Convictions About The Bible
What are your convictions about the Bible? What do you really believe is true of the Word of God? Maybe you've owned one for years, but haven't read it too much. Or maybe you're one of those persons who reads it every day but you never thought really about where it came from, what it's about. So, what are your convictions about the Bible? So, to clarify what we mean by conviction. Listen, having a conviction is being so thoroughly convinced that something is true that you'll take a stand for it regardless of the consequences.
Now, a preference is something you believe and believe strongly, but you would change your mind under certain conditions. But that's not true of a conviction. Thoroughly convinced that it's true to the point that you are willing to pay the consequences of believing the Bible. So, if somebody says to you, "What is the Bible"? Well, lots of people believe that the Bible is a book that was written by many different men over a long period of time and therefore because they weren't perfect, there must be errors in the Bible.
And so, they will tell you that there are. And they will say, "You know, some parts of the Bible are outdated now, because after all, this is the twenty-first century. And you mean to tell me that there are not errors in the Bible"? I mean to tell you there are not errors in the Bible. Listen, the God who gave us His Word, knows how to keep His Word true no matter who is recording it. And once in a while somebody will say, "Well, men make errors". They certainly do, but let me ask you a question. What error does God make? And anything as important as God's message to the whole world for all time and eternity, God knows how to protect the truth of His Word.
So, when people tell you that the Bible is only partially true you can forget it. The Bible is the story of God's redeeming love for mankind. That's really it in a nutshell. It's the story of God's redeeming love for mankind. Now watch this, it started in the Garden of Eden when God forgave Adam and Eve. And we are living today and God is still forgiving us. It is about the awesome love of our awesome God who loves us and wants the best for us, and for those who do not believe the Bible for whatever their reason may be, mark it down. That's your belief, but it is not the truth. This absolutely awesome, holy, righteous God would not give us a book full of errors, or filled with errors and then expect us to live a godly life.
So, when people tell you, "Well it's outdated," ask them where? Where is it outdated? What principle in the scripture has He given us that's outdated? Not a single one. It's all the truth of the Living God. So, think about it in this way: somebody says, "Well it's something that men wrote". Now watch this: first of all, man did not write it. God wrote it through men and controlled them. If man could have written it, he wouldn't have. I'll tell you why. Because it condemns him in his sin. Nobody's going to write a book that condemns them in their sin. So, a man couldn't write it if he would have and he wouldn't if he could have, for the simple reason it's all about righteousness and holiness. And God stands for His Word.
I want you to turn if you will to Isaiah sixty-six. I just want you to read a couple of verses here and then I want to turn you to Psalm one nineteen and a couple of verses there. But Psalm six, I mean, Isaiah sixty-six. There's one part of this verse that we need to look at. "Thus saith the Lord, verse one; Isaiah sixty-six verse one, "Thus says the Lord, 'Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool; where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, and all these things came into being,' declares the Lord". "'But to this one,'" to this person, "'I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit and who trembles at My word.'" Understanding that this Book is so holy, the truth is when you and I begin to understand the truth of it, we do tremble.
When we think of eternity in the future, and the past, and how God has kept clean and pure His Holy Word, telling us how to be saved, telling us how to live in difficult times. It is a book that makes us indeed tremble. Now, what is the truth about the scripture? People have all kind of ideas. So, what I want to do is simply do this. I want to tell you the truth about the Bible. And you think about it; you decide whether it's true or not. It is true. And what I want to show you is with all of this being true, when somebody tells you the Bible's full of errors, it's this, that and the other, it's outdated and so forth, they do not know what they're talking about.
So, I want to give you the reasons that I believe, that the Bible is absolutely the Word of God, beginning with it's timeless. It's never outdated. You can't outdate the Word of God. It's timeless. It fits in any generation. It's infallible. That is, it is without error. And in Second Peter, if you turn to Second Peter. Listen to what he says, verse one of chapter two, of Second Peter, "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who brought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not is, is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep".
That is, people not believing the scripture didn't start today. There've always been people who did not believe it. But what I want you to see is it is the revelation of the one true God. That is, when God provided us a Bible, He provided us a book by which you and I could live and face every single situation in life, no exception. God has His answer for us and His support to us. It exposes man's sinfulness and his hopeless condition. This is why people don't want to believe it. If I wanted to live in sin, I certainly wouldn't want to read the Bible, because the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". "And that we will give an account for all of our sin".
I'll tell you why they don't read it: because the Word of God will convict them of sin and they don't want to be convicted of sin, so their excuse is, "Well it's not true". I'm here to tell you that will not work before the judgment of God. Then of course, it's a trustworthy guide for our daily life. I think about all of you who are watching and listening, do you read the Bible every day? It's a trustworthy guide for our daily life and in every circumstance of life, God has an answer. Only God could have written, could have penned through men the answers to all the things that He answers in the scriptures. Then of course, it pictures for us the consequences of sin.
And think about this. God in His wisdom in providing us a Bible over these years, He started where He knew we needed to start, and that is man will fall into temptation and disobey God, then what? And one of the things that He wanted us to learn very early in life is: there are consequences to sin. God told Adam and Eve the truth. He said, "If you disobey Me, here's what's going to happen. They disobeyed Him and that's exactly what happened, what He said. God never misleads us. He tells us the truth when it's good. He tells us the truth when it's painful. There are consequences to sin.
Watch this carefully: God knew the kind of society we'd grow up in, the kind of life we'd have to live and He's provided us all the warnings that we need. And He says there are consequences to sin. On the other hand, He reveals His unconditional love for us. Watch this, God's love for you and me is not conditioned upon whether I'm obedient or not. The principle is there. If I'm obedient, I'm blessed of God. If I'm disobedient, watch this, I'm disobedient, I pay the penalty, but I don't... listen, God doesn't stop loving me. Your children, for example, disobey you, do you stop loving them? No. Are you greater than God? No. The forgiveness of God, the love of God is the message of the Word of God. It explains, for example, how we can be saved from our sins.
Where would you ever find a verse that contains what this verse contains? You could take every word and preach a message on it. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, would not perish but have everlasting life". Period. How could only God put so much in one verse of scripture to explain all of redemption in one verse of scripture? Had to be from God. It declares who Jesus is and why He came. He's the Son of God. He came into this world for the purpose of dying on the cross and paying our sin debt in full. People who argue about the Bible, they don't even have an idea why Jesus came.
They'll say, "Well, I know Jesus was born and this, that and the other, but He was just another man". No, He was God walking in human flesh among men in order to die on the cross and pay our sin debt in full. That's who He is. And that is the message of the Word of God. It explains, for example, why He was born of a virgin. Because remember this. Virgin-born meant that Jesus had no sin. If Jesus had been a normal man and had sin in His life, He couldn't have died on the cross for your sin and mine. He was God in the human flesh. And then of course, it explains why He died on a cross. Why did Jesus die on the cross? All through the Old Testament, people said, "That Old Testament, that's just, I don't get that". You may not get, and may not understand why so many times the Bible talks about the sheep, the lambs. Because those lambs were symbols of the Son of God who would one day lay down His life on the cross, and shedding His blood would take care of our sin debt in full all of our lives and for all eternity.
So, there's nothing in the Bible that's unimportant. And just because you don't understand all those sacrifices, doesn't mean that there's a mistake, or that there's error, or that there's anything in here that's unimportant. God wouldn't place anything in the Bible that's unimportant. You come to a book like Leviticus, for example, and those, passages of scripture that talk about building the tabernacle and they say, "What in the world's all of that"? All that is about symbols of the Lord Jesus Christ, it's all important. God gave us a book to guide us, to enable us to live a godly life.
And so, what you may consider unimportant is very important in the eyes of God. Then of course, it describes His resurrection. And you know that, people talk about their god this, their god that. Jesus was born of a virgin, the perfect Son of God, God in human flesh. They crucified Him. He was dead. There's no question about the fact He was dead. They sealed the tomb and in spite of sealing the tomb, the tomb was broken and Jesus Christ was resurrected. He's the resurrected Son of the Living God. And therefore, He beat death. And, so Jesus Christ, listen. He didn't just die on a cross. He rose from the dead. And the Bible says, "He's seated at the Father's right hand, making intercession for us". That's where He is now. He's seated at the Father's right hand. Where is God? He's in the holy temple in heaven.
And so, when it comes to forgiveness, what are the verses? "If we if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Hallelujah! I don't have to wonder whether I'm forgiven or not. You don't have to live in doubt. You believe the Word of God, there's going to be a blessed assurance. And we sing that song, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine". And on and on we go. It is not a book of errors. It is a book of absolute truth to guide us and to lead us in every single situation in life. You can't name anything that God's left out in His Word. Well, it explains what happens at death. And for example, if you're one of those persons who doesn't believe the Bible, let me ask you this. Do you believe you're going to die? Well if you don't, you're really fooled. But you're going to die one of these days.
So, since you don't believe the Bible, what do you think is going to happen to you when you die? And most of the time people say, "Well I'm just going to, that's going to be the end of me". Ohhhh no it's not. Not going to be the end of you. You'd like to think it is, but it's not. Now for all of us who are believers, we say, "Praise the Lord". We don't have to worry about death because here's what God said, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord".
The Bible has the answer for every single question that I need in life to live it or to die by it. And, for example, there are people who believe in purgatory. That you die and then you go somewhere and you suffer until finally you've paid for all of your sin. If you die, saved by the grace of God, you're not going to be in a purgatory. You want me to tell you why you're not going to purgatory? Because there's no such thing. It's nowhere in the Bible, watch this, because if I believe Jesus and trust Him as my Savior, then I have to go suffer, then something happened, or was missing, at the cross. The cross took care of our sins, all of our sins, past, present and future. There is no room for purgatory, none whatsoever. You trust Christ as your Savior, His sacrificial death at the cross, being born again, the Son of God, sent Him for the purpose of dying, paying your sin debt in full. If it's paid in full, there can't be a purgatory. "So absent from the body, present with the Lord". But listen to what the scripture says. It assures us, for example, of the return of Christ and our future rewards.
Somebody says, "Well Jesus died and is gone. Well, here's what He says. He says in the fourteenth chapter of John is a beautiful, beautiful passage and we, most of us probably know it by heart, but you, if you're having a little problem, that, you might look at that. He says, "Do not let your heart be troubled". He says, "You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions". Listen to this. Jesus, wait a minute, who died on the cross, rose from the grave, seated at the Father's right hand said, "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I'm going to prepare a place for you, and If I go to prepare a place for you, I'm coming back to receive you to Myself".
Now, He's going to come back for this one, that one, this one, that one, that one, and one of these days He's coming back to wrap up all of civilization. You don't know Christ as your Savior, you don't have any hope. The worst thing that could happen to you is to die without Jesus. And listen, you'll be a fool not to receive Christ as your Savior. You're hearing the truth of the Word of the Living God. And He's the one who said, "I'm coming to receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also". If you're one of His children, if you've trusted Him to be your Savior, if you recognize what He did at the cross also included you. The Bible tells us of future events. Read the Book of the Revelation. We think all those things.
You say, "Well I don't understand all that. Well, you know what? Watch this carefully, if I understood everything about God, I would be equal to God and that ain't gonna happen. And so, what happens? We're driven back to read and to pray and to read and to pray and to search and to pray and all of that draws us closer to God. He doesn't tell. He tells me everything I need to know; not everything I'd like to know. It's the indestructible Word of the Living God. For example, I think about people who've mocked it, scoffed it, blasphemed it, burned it, denied it, attempted to destroy it—done everything possible to get rid of the Book.
You think, for example, in Russia alone, they did everything they could do to get rid of, destroy the Word of God and it's all over Russia. And that listen, it's all over China. Why? Because that's the power of the Living God. And God wants His message of love distributed all over the world. People give their lives just to translate a portion of a book of the Bible to somebody, for example, does not have a Bible. And so, it's still rolling off the presses every single day. And we are to love it, obey it and to share it. So, that's the Word of God. And so, the scripture says in Matthew twenty-four, "Heaven and earth may pass away, but My words will not pass away," that's what Jesus said. "Heaven and earth may pass away," in the future judgment, "but My words will not pass away".
Then Isaiah forty, verse eight, one of my favorite verses, "The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever". Believe the Word of God. Live it out. Practice it. Obey it. Let's just say, for example, you've closed the Bible in your life. you just don't want that in your life. Let me ask you a question. Let's say that you're one of those multi-multi-millionaires or billionaires. You got billions. You own stuff you can, you hardly, you've almost forgotten it. You're coming to your last day of life. Ask you a question. What will be more valuable to you on the last day of your life with all your billions: your money or the Word of God?
And listen carefully. Your money can't buy you into heaven. You can't give enough to any church, any organization to pay your way into heaven. Salvation is by the grace, the undeserved love of Almighty God, provided for you through His Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus went to the cross, that's not just the Easter celebration. That's a celebration of the death of the Son of God, not somebody... the Son of God, whose death was so powerful it atoned for the sin of all mankind, past, present and future. What a fool you'll be to die without the Word of God. How foolish to live your life thinking that somehow you're going to pay your way through. Or some way I haven't been all that bad. That's from your point of view. Think about this.
If you reject the Son of the Living God, whom God sent into this world to reveal the truth, who went to the cross, died on the cross... to reject the Son of God is not some simple decision you make. It is a horrible decision you make. You think that somehow, you've been good enough to be saved. How good have you been? You can tell me the good things you've done or how much you've given. That's not the issue. "For by grace are you saved through faith, that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast". It is the result of the grace of God.
So, you either believe the Word of God and get ready to meet Him, or you just turn your back on it and say, "Somehow I'll make it". Watch this. That's your false opinion. That is the devil's lie. That's the way you would like for it to be. That is not the way it's going to be. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die for all eternity". You can either live your life without God and stand before the judgment and be eternally separated from God, the Bible's crystal clear, eternally separated from God. I know you don't like the word hell. And the way people use it here lately, you don't know what it means. I'm talking about scriptural hell. Jesus used the word. He didn't promote it. He says, "This is the ultimate of separation from God".
And my plea with you is, number one, you can't show me a bunch of errors in the Bible. The Bible is God's inspired, divine, accurate Word in order to show us His love for us, and that Christ died for us, and that you can be forgiven of your sin, and it can be true of you "Absent from the body, present with the Lord". Or absent from the body and forever separated from the Lord. You say, "Well now that's just what you believe". No, no, no, no, no. That's what God says. I plead with you in Jesus name to think. The Word of God, penned by those men whom God chose to write truth by which you and I are to live. Wouldn't you agree that living by love is the best way? Not only that you can live, but you can leave this earth with blessed assurance. "Absent from the body, present with the Lord". Present with the Lord Jesus Christ. That is my plea for you.
Father, we know that everybody has a choice to make. But I pray that every person who hears this message will ask themselves the question, "How am I living? How am I going to die? What is going to happen to me after death? What is the wisest thing for me to do"? And I pray, God, they'll understand that it's receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior for all eternity. In Jesus' name, amen.