The U.S. Department of Justice has made it clear that in cases where religious freedom comes into conflict with sexual freedom (particularly same-sex relationships, but we saw this principal at work also in the Health and Human Services regulations on insurance companies providing abortifacients), the government will advocate for sexual freedom. This is ironic since the First Amendment specifically guarantees the free exercise of religion. With culture in full transformation about us, the sexual revolution long behind us, how do we maintain our Christian bearings? This question is acute, particularly for young people on college campuses where “diversity” is celebrated—usually as long as this does not include acceptance of historic Christianity.
Critics of our belief in the divinely inspired Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21) have often asserted that our alleged infantile faith has been duped into believing in a perfect, divine book that plopped down somehow from heaven and then doing, in a ridiculous and wooden fashion, everything that the book demands. That just isn’t so.
Faith is God’s precious gift (Eph. 2:8–9). It is worked by Him (Rom. 1:16). The object of faith is Christ (John 14:6–7; John 3:16). Faith is worked by God’s own instruments: the proclaimed (or read) Word of forgiveness in the death and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 3:5; 4:15; 15:1–2), Baptism (Acts 2:41; John 3:5; Acts 22:16) and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26–27). Condemned and convicted by the Law (Rom. 3:19), we are converted by the Word of the Gospel, indeed, “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:22–24).
Believing solely in Jesus for forgiveness, we cry out to Jesus like Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!” (John 6:68). Jesus directs us to His very words for truth (John 8:32). And Jesus teaches us plenty about Himself—Law, Gospel, repentance, forgiveness, Baptism, Lord’s Supper, absolution and yes, sexuality (and much, much more). Jesus also teaches us about the Bible. Once we believe in Jesus—the very Son of God, God in the flesh—we are interested not only in what He actually said and did, but also especially in how He views the Scriptures!
For Jesus, the words of the Bible are true assertions, readily applicable to life. Jesus says the whole Bible points to Him. “They . . . bear witness about me” (John 5:39)! “It is written,” He stated three times in the face of the devil’s temptations (Matthew 4). For Jesus, the Bible is absolutely authoritative and a sword to be wielded against temptations and attacks. Jesus did not set aside the Bible. He fulfilled the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17ff) and intensified the moral law (Matt. 5:21ff)! As He used the Bible to teach, He believed that the people and events spoken of in the Old Testament were real—like Solomon (Matt. 6:29), Jonah and the big fish (Matt. 16:4; 12:38ff), Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:3ff), Moses (Matt. 8:4), David (Matt. 12:3) and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matt. 8:11). Jesus believed that the Old Testament contained prophecies that were and are fulfilled (Luke 4:21; Matt. 11:1–10; 13:10–17), that the Bible did not have errors (John 10:35) and that the Holy Spirit prompted the Old Testament writers (Mark 12:36). Finally, He confessed that the Old Testament Scriptures prophesied His suffering and resurrection, and He promised that the Holy Spirit would be given to His apostles as they bore witness to Him (Luke 24:44: John 14:22ff), which they did, particularly in writing the New Testament (John 14:26). Thus, we have the authoritative New Testament, which is likewise the very Word of God.
Paul’s view is none other than Jesus’ own view when he writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16 NKJV). We believe the Bible because we know our Shepherd, and we recognize His voice in the Scriptures (John 10:27).
It’s very safe and chic these days to say, “I’m agnostic” or “I believe all religions have truth” or to be otherwise uncommitted. Most of the time, these are a safe mask for ignorance of what these religions actually teach and certainly of the actual content of the Bible. If we don’t recognize who Jesus is (and His identity is given us in Holy Scripture in stark clarity), if we are not continually in His Word, the world will have its way with us in all matters, not just our generation’s particular traps (like sexuality). “Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word.”