Do any of you remember the first question and answer of the Essentials catechism book?
The first question of Lesson One is, “What is above all things precious?” The answer is, “The knowledge of the true God through Jesus Christ Whom. He has sent. John 17:3.”
A couple of months ago we wrote about how well we know the Scriptures. There is a reason why it is so important that we have a good grasp of the Scriptures. That reason is given in the second question and answer of Lesson One. “Why is this knowledge so precious? Because it is necessary for the possession and enjoyment of the highest good. Psalm 144:15.” The next question and answer tell us that the highest good is covenant-fellowship with the ever-blessed God.
Do you know of other passages of the Word of God which also prove that a knowledge of God is necessary for salvation?
Assuming to be true that to know of our salvation it is necessary for us to know God, we ask, How can one know God?
We know God only because He has revealed Himself to us. The Bible is God’s revelation.
We may then say that to know of our salvation it is necessary for us to know God as He is revealed in the Scriptures. This is proven by II Timothy 3:15, “. . . the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The Scriptures are able to make you to know your salvation.
Do you ever think about whether the Bible is true? Or whether God really is?
Do you wonder whether you are a child of God? Are you absolutely sure you are elect? Or is it a matter of little concern?
If you do wonder and are not absolutely sure, then the answer is simple: READ THE SCRIPTURES. Read them AGAIN. And AGAIN. And then do it again. Do you think it is, sufficient to read the Scriptures only once a day? Remember: they are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The unbeliever is “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (II Timothy 3:7) But he who comes to the Scriptures with faith in Christ Jesus is made wise unto salvation.
There is only one state and condition which is joyful, peaceful, and truly blessed and happy. That is SALVATION. In it one is free from guilt. He enjoys the blessedness of being right with God. He is already delivered from the power of sin. He receives the grace to repent.
The way to this state is the holy Scriptures. InPsalm 19:7 we read, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” And in Psalm 119:98we find more proof: “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.”
The holy Scriptures have this power because “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” (II Timothy 3:16)
God moved and directed men so to write His Word that He alone is the author. The Almighty used a living, thinking, reasoning, knowing man to write. The Only Wise One had each writer of the holy Scriptures born at a certain time and place, possessing specific gifts, equipped with a definite kind of education, undergoing specific experiences. The Holy Spirit prepared each man and moved him to pen with his own style the exact words God desired.
Therefore the holy. Scriptures are without error and contradiction.
They are of absolute authority. They and they alone determine what is right and what is wrong, not our imagination, nor our desires. They alone determine what we must believe and how we must live. With Martin Luther we must hold to them alone.
They are sufficient. They give to us all we need to know for belief and life. We need nothing more than what God has given to us in the Bible.
They interpret themselves. With a few, useful aids such as a concordance and dictionary, we are able to gain an understanding of the Scriptures.
What do we learn which makes us wise unto salvation through faith?
Briefly we learn: 1. God is a sovereign God Who created and upholds all things. 2. God is jealous of His love and loves only those in Jesus Christ. They alone are made happy. 3. Man deserves no blessing, for he is conceived in sin and of himself only daily increases his guilt. 4. Jesus alone is the ground for salvation because He bore the curse due to us and satisfied God’s justice. 5. Jesus Christ calls is to the power of the gospel, raising us from spiritual death and giving us life by His Spirit. 6. He is coming again to make all things new and establish a kingdom of glory and joy.
The holy Scriptures teach us that we are saved by grace alone. Therefore we must live in conformity with God’s will. We must live at peace with God and our neighbor within the law of love. The Scriptures teach obedience in the place of rebellion, honesty in place of the lie, holiness instead of lust, love rather than hate.
Do you doubt? Are you afraid you are not elect?
Then do something about it! Read and study the holy Scriptures.
Know them and believe them.
They are able. They have the power. The power is activated by faith which is that gift of God by which we believe.
Therefore, read them again and again. Memorize a verse every week. We all did that in Christian grade school because we had to do it. Now let us do it because we want to do it—because we want to be wise.
Do not think that through the more reading of the Bible salvation comes. Salvation is not brought about in a mechanical fashion. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
But . . . the knowledge unto salvation through faith is strengthened and assured by reading and studying the holy Scriptures. There is no way it can get into your heart except through your head.
A world-wide problem in the Church today is the appalling ignorance.
The demise of the Protestant Reformed Churches (which I earnestly pray never will come) will come because of a lack of knowledge of the holy Scriptures.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee . . . seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6.
“Behold the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land . . . of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall . . . run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11, 12.
Therefore, “buy the truth and sell it not.” Proverbs 23:23.
Jesus says, “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”Proverbs 8:10, 11.
“Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.” Proverbs 10:14.
Are you wise?
Do you want to be “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”? The holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise.