I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 ESV)If the Holy Spirit asked if you would allow him to enable you to understand the Bible—all of the Bible—with perfect doctrinal clarity would you take him up on his offer?
Would you say, "Yes!"
Many professing "Christians" wouldn't want him to do that. God's truth would be too inconvenient for their choices, lifestyles and habits. They'd rather play their version of church (and Christianity) without God being so rude as to bother their consciences with the truth.
Many "Christians" are guilty of the sin of idolatry. They create a graven image, an idol, a false messiah, another "Jesus" and another gospel to affirm their heresies and sins rather than the real Jesus who confronts them with the truth.
Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29 ESV)Doctrine is not based on what I want to be true. It's not centered on what I hope is true. Doctrine must only be formulated through careful interpretation of the Bible. God doesn't care what I want to be true. God only cares about what is true! It doesn't matter what I want Paul or Peter or James to mean; what matters is what Paul and Peter and James meant!
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV)If you can't defend what you believe based on a careful examination of the Word of God then you don't have justification enough to believe it. Let me say that again: If you can't defend what you believe and approve based on a careful examination of the Word of God then you don't have justification enough to believe and approve it.
It's time for school to be in session. You must be like the Berean Jews after hearing Paul and Silas proclaim Christ:
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11 ESV)I have a passion to understand what the Bible really means. What did the authors mean when they wrote to their original audiences?
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.This passion was borne from humbling experiences in Bible college where God showed me that some cherished doctrinal positions I believed were wrong. The Lord had to wreck me; he had to knock down faulty scaffolding and build new foundations. God had to deconstruct me before reconstructing me. And he did, trust me. Now I want to know the truth [hard gulp] no matter what.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
Who cares if some of God's truth in the Bible offends my stupidities? God doesn't care. There is enough in the Bible to offend everyone. So what? There is enough offensive truth to get "Christians" angry at preachers who dare to tell them that truth.
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9 ESV)Would you really want to Holy Spirit to reveal a doctrinal error to you—a doctrine, perhaps, that you hold near and dear to your heart, a theological falsehood that you derive comfort or even identity from? Are you willing to be disabused of a false notion? Or are you willing to be convicted of a wrong action that you've tried to tell yourself is okay? Are you willing for your life to be gloriously wrecked because God decided you needed deconstruction and reconstruction?
Are you loyal to the truth—whatever it is and wherever it leads—or your opinions, desires, prejudices and conveniences?
Do you really want to know? Really?