Jonathan Michael Dean
How would humanity exist without authority? What if there were no cultural expectations; no enforcing laws; no governing officials? If everyone could do whatsoever they desired? That, ultimately, the highest authority is what I think and feel? The answer is simple: utter chaos!
Only two generations after the death of Joshua, this is what occurred: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Having strayed from the Author of all that is just and right, and having no king, each man, family, community, and tribe [tried to] govern themselves. For God’s covenant people (Israel) this was disastrous: they were continuously subdued by neighboring nations; there was unrest in the family; rape in the cities, and war among the tribes.
This is why the authority of Scripture is vital for the believer. We must believe what the Scriptures claim themselves to be: the inerrant, infallible, immutable and eternal Word of God (Ps.19; 2Tim.3:16-17). All of it together, and every word, is God’s inspired Word –as penned by the Prophets and Apostles. They are sufficient for all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him (2Pet.1:3). This knowledge has been revealed to us in the Bible. Its truth shines into us through the Spirit, filling our eyes with light; becoming “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Ps.119:115).
We should believe the Scriptures because they are proven true by God. Their ability to convict, exhort, rebuke, teach, edify and more, manifest the Life within them. God! Yes… The Word of Yahweh. His Logos: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn.1:14). We must believe the Scriptures because we behold the Son of God in them. This revelation is glorious. We can either run into the light or hide in darkness.
Even more, we must apply the Scriptures to our daily life: “By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps.19:11). If we believe the Scriptures and do nothing with them, we are like a man, who, when looking in the mirror, sees that he is dirty, then he walks away and forgets to clean up (Jas.1:22-24). Therefore, when we know the Truth, we must be sanctified by it. By applying the Scriptures to our life, we gain assurance before the Lord. Not because we have earned His favor, but because we know it is only by His power that we could obey them. It is evidence of God’s grace and covenant love towards us in Christ.
As for myself, God has placed His law in my heart and mind (Heb.8:10). I desire to live in accordance to His law. I pray for this (Ps.86:11). I want to fill my heart with His Word, so that it will guard me from my sin (Ps.119:9-11); for God’s truth to illuminate the deepest crevices of my mind, heart, and will. However, this is easier said than done. I find another law in me, that is, in my flesh: the law of sin. I desire to do what is right, but so often, fail to do it (Rom.7). My struggle is with sin. It’s that simple. God tells me to obey. I run away. And, it happens every day. May God help me!
When my life is spinning out of control, I must ask myself this question: am I submitting to the Authority of Scripture? Or, am I doing what is right in my own eyes? My reply: I will believe His promises and I will tremble at His warnings. I must. Will I make God’s Word the sole and total authority of my life? I will try my best: “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith” (Heb.12:2). May God grant me the knowledge of His will and the power to do it!