October 21, 2020

The Enduring Relevance of the Word of God

Many people say that the Bible is completely irrelevant. Let’s look at two reasons why they are wrong.

Firstly, people confuse relevance with popularity. The Bible has many things to say on subjects such as life and death, the nature of good and evil, gender roles, sexual purity, homosexuality, and marriage and divorce. The problem many have is that what the Bible has to say conflicts with what our modern culture believes. For that reason, people reject the Bible as bigoted, narrow-minded, and stupid.

Secondly, many people in today’s society think that newer is always better. Therefore, because the Bible is an ancient book, it is considered to be useless to the modern world.

Let’s look at these issues in some more detail.

Don’t Hide Good News

Suppose I know for a fact that you have a fatal, yet easily curable disease. Should I keep this news to myself or should I tell you so that you can get treatment? Why would it be bad to keep the news to myself out of a fear of upsetting you?

Obviously, I should tell you the news, bad as it is. Will this news be welcomed with songs of joy and unwavering happiness? No. I imagine the news of this potentially fatal illness will be entirely unwelcome, uncomfortable, unpalatable, and unpopular. Yet, it will also be the single most relevant and important piece of information you could possibly receive.

Suppose your house was on fire, but it’s the middle of the night and you hate being woken up abruptly. Should I say, ‘It’s unfeeling and unkind to wake people suddenly in the middle of the night, I’ll let them sleep!’ No. That would be evil. I should call the fire brigade and do whatever I can to save you.

The same is true with the Bible and what it teaches. It has some hard things to say to the human race. It tells us that the whole world is in rebellionagainst the King of the Universe. Because of that, the world is in grave danger of being eternally crushed in hell.

But. . . .

The King has made a way for us to escape this punishment. By turning from our sins and putting our faith in Jesus alone we can escape God’s punishment.

Christians believe that the whole world needs to hear this message. Even though our culture thinks that what the Bible teaches is bigoted, narrow-minded and out of date, we refuse to keep it to ourselves. Why?Because we don’t want people to spend eternity in hell.

Timeless Message

The world-famous magician, and well-known atheist, Penn Jillette (one half of Penn and Teller), asks a great question. “How much do you have to hate somebody to not evangelise? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Jillette gets the point we are making. If the Bible is true (and it is) then it’s the most important and relevant news in the world, whether it is popular or not.

The truths of sin, righteousness, and judgement to come have never been popular. Human beings have never welcomed the message that they are guilty sinners. But they need to hear the truth, whether it is popular or not. Not to tell them would be an act of hate.

Big Issues

The Bible doesn’t just bring us unpopular, but ever relevant, truth. It also speaks clearly on many of the big questions of life. It contains God’s answers to questions we would otherwise have no answers for.

Why am I here? What is the point of life?

This is, in many ways, the most important question in the world. If we turn off our TVs, computers, and phones, and sit in silence and think about the world we live in, then eventually we will ask ourselves, Why? Chances are, we’ll struggle for a meaningful answer.

Secular science and philosophy tell us that there is no meaning and no point to life. They say we come from nothing and are going to nothing. We are told we’re the result of a cosmic explosion. We are told that life is just a cruel joke, an accident, and that death is the end.

But deep down we know that life is too precious to be pointless. We know the universe is too complicated to be accidental. We know the world is too beautiful to be purposeless. We only find meaningful answers to our deepest questions inside the pages of the Bible.

The Bible begins with the simple fact that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).

This sentence means that the universe and everything in it, including us, exists for a reason. That means that we have value and a purpose, we are here for a reason. Isaiah 43:7 gives us that reason: “Everyone who bears my name and is created for my glory. I have formed them; indeed, I have made them.” We are created for the glory of God.

That is a weird phrase but, basically, it means that we are created to reflect the awesomeness, holiness, righteousness, beauty, love and wonder of our creator.

Sin-Stained World

But people will ask: If this is all true then why is there so much suffering in the world?

Nothing causes us to ask Why? quite like pain and suffering. Some people will ask how a good God can allow suffering to happen. They think that the presence of suffering must mean the absence of God. C. S. Lewis (author and brilliant dead guy) says this: “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

When we see suffering, we ask Why? because we know in the depth of our souls that something is wrong. We instinctively know that life isn’t supposed to be this way. When we see evil people getting away with evil deeds or hear about awful crimes on the news, we cry out for justice because we know deep down that evil should not go unpunished. We feel this way because we have been created in the image of God.

The Bible explains:

  • why suffering exists
  • that God’s justice will one day be eternally served
  • about the reality of eternal suffering
  • how to escape God’s judgement though the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Suffering exists because of the sinful rebellion of humanity against our Creator. We were created with dominion over the world, but our rebellion brought death and decay into the world.

“The creation was subjected to futility not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.”

(Rom. 8:20–21)

This verse explains that even though the world is broken, and isn’t as it should be, a day is coming when it will be made new and set free from the power of decay and the reality of death.

When Jesus returns He will perfect those who trust in Him and He will perfect this world. We will get to live with Him forever in a world of joy.

That final day will also mark the end of all evil. Injustice shall be no more. Everything that we think has been swept under the rug will be dragged into the light and the King of the Universe will act as the righteous judge and His justice shall be done for eternity.

Evil has an expiration date. One day Jesus will return, and on that day all evil will come to an end and those who love evil and reject Jesus will be thrown into hell for eternity. There is nothing in our world more relevant than this news!

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Our virtual Weekender is right around the corner. Join us from 29–31 October as we look at the crucial topic of the Bible.

  • Andy Mathieson

    Andy Mathieson is pastor of Lochee Baptist Chapel in Lochee, Scotland. He is married to Lauren and they have three children.

    Read All by Andy Mathieson ›

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