Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes. – Proverbs 26:4-5
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. – Romans 14:10-12
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. – 1 Corinthians 5:12-13
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. – Galatians 6:1
For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith. – Titus 1:10-13
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. – James 2:24
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. – Romans 7:19-21
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. – 1 John 3:5-6
I have given but a few example of biblical teachings that seem contradictory. I could go one all day with more examples. I didn’t even touch on baptism, the Trinity, alcohol, assurance of salvation, tongues, etc, etc, etc… As humans, we have many problems. One of those problems is that we always want things to be categorized on one side or the other. Right or wrong, black or white. The problem is God did not always make things as clear as we would like. There is a reason we do not have a record of Jesus saying, “Hey, everyone, btw, I’m God.” As Elbert said in our training, “God made the Bible perfectly unclear.” And that is exactly what it is. It’s perfect, but it’s not always so clear cut.
I believe this is what God had in mind when He spoke through Paul, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) God made His Word in such a way that we have to be continually walking in His Spirit and seeking His counsel through prayer and Scripture. If we don’t do that, then we will not find the answers we are looking for. There are not always black and white answers for our lives. God may have one thing in mind for one person in one place and a different answer for someone somewhere else. Of course I am not saying that one person is saved by grace and one by works or anything like that. There are absolute biblical truths, but for everyday life, evangelism, church practices, etc, we are given great freedom. Whatever is laid out clearly in Scripture we must follow directly. The principles God gives us must be applied always, but truly we will never have all the answers.
If you think you have it all figured out, then stick your head back in the Scripture and realize that it can be crazy confusing. Well, we just confuse it a lot, too. Sometimes I think it gets more and more confusing and yet more simple at the same time. The main thing is that we cannot memorize the entire Bible and then think we have all the answers the rest of our lives. The Holy Spirit is dishing out the answers for our lives on a daily basis, and if we are not walking with Him on a daily basis, then we are not getting the answers. I’m convinced of that. People want the Bible to lay out all the answers in black and white, but God had a perfect plan. Reading the Bible without the Spirit is like reading the script to a movie without seeing the video. The Spirit is the video that gives life to the script, allowing us to understand and apply what we are reading.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. – Galatians 5:16-18
There it is. The answer: walk by the Spirit. It’s as simple as that, yet as complicated as that. You may ask, “How do I walk by the Spirit?” Well, that’s the complicated part, but you’ll know it when you see it.
Commanded & Called,