Scott Tibbs
blog post
April 19th, 2005

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Interpreting the Bible

Christians are commanded to spread the truth of God's word, because every singe person needs the blood of Christ to be redeemed. We are commanded to be witnesses for Christ:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." -- Matthew 28:19-20.

But many people believe that such witness, especially if it is pointing out a sin that someone needs to repent of, is antithetical to Jesus' teachings. It is no surprise that in today's culture, Matthew 7:1 has replaced John 3:16 as the most popular verse in the Bible. But most people take that verse out of context. In context, Matthew 7:1 does not say to not judge; it says to not judge as a hypocrite.

Throughout history, men have wanted to take what they like out of God's word while throwing aside that which they do not like, this is why Matthew 7:1 (without the proper context, of course) is so appealing. A refrain used often is that there are "many ways" to interpret the Bible. On certain passages, this is correct. But with others, the wording is very clear.

You simply cannot pick and choose what parts of Scripture are God's word and which ones aren't. II Timothy 3:16

But if you're a good person, if you live the way Christ wanted you to live, you'll go to heaven, right? Wrong. John 14:5-7 does not agree with that line of thinking. There is only one way to Heaven, and it is true that many "good people" have been subject to eternal damnation.

If Hitler had accepted Christ moments before he died, he would be in Heaven. If Ted Bundy truly accepted Christ and repented of his sins (as Dr. Dobson believes he did) then he is in Heaven. By the same token, if Mother Teresa never accepted Christ, she would be in Hell, regardless of all the "good works" she did.

That is probably the single most difficult part of the Gospel to accept. But the heart of the Gospel is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:22-24. You simply cannot work your way into Heaven. If you could, Christ's death on the cross was a waste of time. Why would God send His Son to be tortured to death if there was a better way? Indeed, Christ prayed: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:38-40. Christ knew that He had to die for God's plan to be completed.

I see many people turned off to the Gospel because they look at Christians who behave poorly and think "I'm just as good as that man." To this I say: Exactly!

The more we realize just how wretched we really are, the more we are liberated in tat we don't have to save ourselves, that we rely fully on Christ. Does that mean we go on sinning? Of course not! What it means is that we live a life that is defined by Proverbs 3:5-6.