"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments."

- Benjamin Franklin



Biblical authority and humanity
1) the nature of salvation


...there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

- Isaiah 45:21b-22NIV

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

- 1 John 3:16 NIV

4.1 The nature of salvation.

In day-to-day living, the passion of our temptations and the frustration of our trials often blurs our vision of the line between right and wrong. What to say and how to act are not always clear, especially in the heat of a stressful moment or sudden conflict. When we lose sight of what to do, it's not because the difference between right and wrong has gotten fuzzier. Right and wrong never stop being clear. Rather, it's our vision that's lost focus. This problem with our moral vision is one more reason why God has given us the Bible.

The Bible is the God-given objective truth by which subjective humanity has been commanded to interpret God's will for every situation in life. Paul reminded Timothy of this in writing that the Scriptures are able to make Timothy "wise for salvation". Paul had recognized Timothy to be among the faithful for a long time (1 Tim. 1:2), so Paul was not writing here about Scripture's ability to facilitate conversion (i.e., salvation from the penalty of our sins). He was instead writing about salvation in a different tense.

4.2 The three tenses of salvation.

Salvation, as the Bible presents it, has three tenses: past, present, and future.

It is this third tense in which Paul is writing to Timothy. The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation from the power of sin by teaching us the godly responses to the various situations in life. Paul finishes this thought to Timothy in writing, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16 NIV).

As revealed through Paul's writing, the Word is God-breathed which establishes its unquestionable authority. As a result of its authority, the Word is our certainty concerning

4.3 The purposes of God's Word.

Another way to categorize the purposes of Scripture are the three ways in which Scripture benefits us in terms of our relationship to God.

First, because everyone is born unregenerate, there is a need for each person to be established in a living relationship with God. This is a primary purpose of the Word.

Second, like any human relationship, there are things that we need to do in order to maintain the closeness of our relationship with God.

Third, especially characteristic of human love relationships, there are things we can do, and things that God is doing, which help us grow closer and closer together in this relationship. Let's look at these purposes in more detail.

1.) Establishing a relationship with God:

We are saved (salvation from the penalty of sin) by God's grace through the vehicle of faith (Eph. 2:8-10). This faith comes to us by the message of God's Word:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17 NIV).

That word is the truthful evidence which enables us to have confidence in our faith:

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31 NIV)

Our new birth into a relationship with God begins through the Word:

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." (1 Pet. 1:23 NIV)

Likewise, it is through the Word that our salvation continues (salvation from the power of sin) by being made manifest through acts of obedience:

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:21-22 NIV)

Last, it is through the Word that we know how God's promise of salvation shall result: eternal life:

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:12-13 NIV)

2.) Maintaining a relationship with God:

For those of us who have entered into the relationship with God that he calls everyone to, the Word provides us with everything we need to maintain that relationship. God provides us his Word for our edification and our guidance:

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psa. 119:104-105 NIV, also Neh. 8:7, 8)

God's Word exists to be an object of our desire:

My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. (Psa. 119:20, 2 NIV)

And the Word is also the standard against which we should weigh all counsel and preaching:

for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true, (Acts 17:11b NIV)

Consequently, we should make the Word a central part of our lives so that by it our own words and deeds may be weighed. In this manner, the Word will be ever-present to help guard us from sin:

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psa. 119:11 NIV)

3.) Growing in a relationship with God:

In addition to the purposes of initial regeneration and maintaining the closeness of our relationship with God, the Word exists to help us to mature and grow in that relationship. This means that through his Word, God reveals himself to us. Thus the continual exposure to God through prayer, worship, and the Word washes us clean like the polishing of a dirty mirror. The more we are exposed to the washing of the Word, the better we are able to reflect God's characteristics and essential image.

Additionally, we are matured and grow through the Word because it is a vehicle by which God can provide us peace, freedom, strength, and hope:

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (Psa. 119:165 NIV)

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Rom. 15:4 NIV. See also Psa. 119:28, 45).



(top of page)

NEXT: Biblical authority and humanity - part two

See also:

Conclusion: A story of the S.S. Titanic

Printing Tips, Contact, Search,
Links & Bibles,
The Gospel







God's possession of authority was presented in chapter two, and it's imputation to the Bible in chapter three.

Now we consider how God's authority, via the Bible, has been set up to affect our lives. First in terms of salvation from sin to eternal life with God, second in terms of daily living, and third concerning that crescendo moment when we meet the Lord face to face.