April 12, 2015

In this issue: You Are Not God's Counselor by Roger Lindsey

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It seems that the more you study with people the more you realize that many of them are more interested in what they think of what God has commanded than what God has commanded. It is almost as if they wonder at the fact that God did not first consult with them before issuing His decrees.

How many times has someone said something like this: “I can’t believe that God requires that when it would (fill in the blank with “condemn the person who comes to faith in Christ on his deathbed and can’t be baptized” or “condemn all the good and sincere people who may not believe that” or any number of other scenarios they can dream up that seem good objections to them). Here is a news flash for you; God did not consult with man before issuing His requirements for salvation from sin and hell. Nor will He consult with you about it. Get used to it, and get over it.

It is a good idea to completely eliminate the term “But I think…” from our vocabulary when we come to the Word of God for instruction. As it has been said, “God does not care what you think.” Possibly we should come from the Scriptures here:

"For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"
"Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?"
Rom 11:34-35

It is not that we are not to think at all, but that we are not the Lord’s judge or counselor. Our thinking should be focused on understanding exactly what He has said rather than objecting to it or standing as a judge over His work.

The Lord certainly did not consult with Moses before giving His law at Sinai. He simply spoke the commands first from the mountain in the presence of all the Israelites, then called Moses alone into the mountain to deliver more of it. Moses received the stone tablets with what God had already written (and spoken before all the people) and was told to write what the Lord told him in the mountain. This was ultimately put into a book and was to be read by the people of Israel at least every 7 years:

And Moses commanded them, "At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess."
Deut 31:10-13

Never in all of this did God consult with Moses, nor any of the rest of Israel, as to what to command. He spoke it, had it written and expected them to follow it “or else.” It was not the work of God and a committee.

Continually in the history of Israel, again and again, the Israelites are reminded to return to what was written and do it in order to prosper and please God. If not, then they paid the price of being oppressed, lacking the blessings of God, and ultimately taken into captivity until they learned to return to the Law and keep it.

This is also the case with the New Covenant. Jesus Christ did not consult with Peter, James and John about what He should do, nor about what He should teach. He received His instructions directly from the Father (John 5:19), fulfilling all the while every word that had been issued by God throughout the Old Testament prophets concerning Him and His work. He certainly did not consult with the religious leaders nor the political leaders available to Him.

Even when He made the first announcement concerning His church, He did not leave it to Peter and the rest of the apostles to decide what they were going to teach on the subject:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Mat 16:19

This is not saying that Peter can decide what to say and heaven will back him up on it; it is saying that whatever Peter teaches on the subject will have been “loosed” from heaven. This accords perfectly with the promises of Jesus:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Jn 14:26

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Jn 16:13-14

Nothing was left to human intelligence and counsel. All was determined beforehand, and then delivered to the apostles through the Spirit. By this process we have received the will of God, all that pertains to life and godliness, and it all comes directly from God. It is not from man, nor dependent upon man’s agreement with it. It will stand until the end of time whether man agrees or not.

And we cannot leave this subject without visiting the words of Paul concerning the source of the gospel he preached. Almost as if supplying a cross-reference, or a way of confirming the accuracy of what was revealed to Peter and the rest of the apostles from Pentecost forward, Paul states:

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Gal 1:11-12

Paul goes on in that passage to say he did not consult with flesh and blood (meaning anyone, apostles or otherwise). It was only after 3 years that he even visited Peter in Jerusalem. In his letter to the Corinthian brethren Paul confirms the fact that his gospel was and is the same as that preached by Peter and the rest of the apostles in Jerusalem:

Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1Co 15:11

So let’s review here. If God did not consult with Moses about the Law, and the Lord did not consult with His own apostles, the religious leaders of the day nor the political leaders, did not consult with Peter when giving Paul the gospel to preach, did not consult with Paul about what to preach…then what makes us think that He should consult with us????

Perhaps this seems a little harsh, and it may be. But we must get past self and “But I think” in order to humbly submit ourselves to the teaching that can bring us forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal glory in Christ. There is no other way, we must accept that fact and embrace it fully, with all our heart, relying on God and His power to save us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
Proverbs 3:5

Roger Lindsey

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