“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” — Titus 2:1
I recently drove by a church down the street from my apartment. They have one of those big signs with interchangeable letters out front of their building. Here’s what it read:
“Don’t make me come down there.” — God
At first I felt puzzled and somewhat amused. Moments later, I got angry. That might be the most ridiculous, foolish, bogus theological statement I’ve ever heard! Don’t make me come down there? What the heck does that even mean? What point are you trying to make? Why would you ever put that on your sign?
But here’s the worst part—people are believing it.
I began thinking of other bogus theological statements I hear thrown around.
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“Everything in moderation.”
“We are all God’s children.”
Those are just a few. At best, they’re terribly misleading. More often than not, they’re catastrophic.
If God helps those who help themselves, why does God call Himself a “stronghold to the needy in distress” (Isaiah 25:4)? Why did Jesus say we have to bear our own cross in order to follow Him (Luke 14:27)?
If everything is acceptable in moderation, then is adultery okay as long as we are only moderately adulterous? Feels kind of different than that time when Jesus talked about cutting out our eyes if they cause us to lust (Matthew 5:29). Moderate drunkenness is acceptable? Well then why does Paul say that those who get drunk “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21)?
And if we are all God’s children, why does John say that “to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12)? Why are some called “children of the devil” (1 John 3:10)? Why are some “filled with wrath” upon hearing the teachings of Jesus (Luke 4:28)?
So why are people buying the bogus? Bible illiteracy.
A recent study indicates that 57% of people who “value the Bible for spiritual health” read their Bible four times per year or less. Another study shows that 71% of adults say the Bible has no influence on where they shop and that 54% say it has no influence on how they manage their finances. A third study says that about half of Americans can’t even name the first five books of the Bible.
Bible illiteracy is a serious problem.
If we don’t know what is true about God, we’re unable to know what is false. The Bible is breathed out by God, and it is the primary means of knowing who God really is (2 Timothy 3:16). Without it, we’ll believe anything that’s written on a church sign.
So, here’s my encouragement. Read the Bible. Be a student of the Scriptures. Be rooted in the Word, nourished by the Word, and sustained through the Word. We make time for all sorts of things that don’t really matter in the long run. This does. Get to know your Father. “Discipline yourself unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). If we don’t abide in Him, we won’t bear fruit (John 15:4). If we do, we’ll be fruitful in every season—even the dry ones (Jeremiah 17:8).
Don’t make me come down there . . . But You did!
2,000 years ago. When the world got messy, You didn’t stay where it was safe and tidy. You came. You descended into the mess with us. You provided our ransom, You brought us into Your family, and one day You’ll come down again. Today I will rejoice in these precious, Bible-anchored truths.
Father, I pray You would give us with a healthy, biblical view of who You are.