Is the bible outdated?
A common refrain is that the bible is “outdated.” The same argument being used to overturn the U.S. Constitution and many other well worn institutions.
Is not, however, the lies and tactics of Satan the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but just with a different wrapper?
Who was John
The Apostle John was fighting the heresy of Gnosticism and trying to give an assurance of salvation in 1st John.
Now you may say, “I don’t know of any Gnostics. Or, at least none who call themselves that. So, is this even relevant today?”
But you do. We just call them something else.
- called the “beloved apostle” – John 19:26 “…the disciple whom He loved…”
- Christ put Mary under the care of John while on the cross – John 10:26-27 “women, behold your son!” “…behold your mother!” “from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.”
- the younger brother of the apostle James
- their mother tried to garner special favors for the two – Matt 20:21
- only apostle not to die a martyr’s death.
- wrote the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, and Revelation
Studying the Bible
- quality vs. quantity – “Paul…” Romans 1:1, Philemon 1:1, etc.
- diamonds cut diamonds – cross references – 1 John 1.1 and Acts 4:20
- commentaries and study bibles not only have another’s opinion, they have another’s biased opinion. Not wrong but you need to know from where they are coming.
- repetition – something new will pop out
- multi faceted – same diamond but different facets
Gnostic, which mean “knower,” is a philosophy of existence, which prided itself on secret knowledge, and disdained orthodox Christianity, which they thought as ignorant. The main tenets held the following:
- Matter, for example the body, is inherently evil, and separate from the spirit.
- Knowledge is superior to virtue.
These foundational principles resulted in the following teachings which interrelate and support each other:
- Asceticism – since all matter is evil –
- God cannot be the creator, because God cannot create evil.
- A spiritual deity could not have been incarnated as Jesus, the man, because “deity cannot unite itself with anything material.”
- The man Jesus may have died on the cross but not the deity Christ – thus, there is no propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins.
- The resurrection of Christ was not possible because Jesus was man only and not deity – thus, our resurrection is also not possible.
- Docetism – supports Asceticism relative to Jesus, and is from the Greek verb dokein, “to seem.”
- Extreme Docetism held that Jesus was not human but a prolonged theophany or a phantom – simply the appearance of a deity.
- More moderate Docetism held that Jesus was the natural son of Joseph and Mary, but Christ, the deity, came upon Jesus at the time of baptism and left before the crucifixion. Christ then, was neither born not died as a man.
- As with Asceticism, the death and resurrection of Jesus the man, is insufficient to save us.
- Antinomianism – lawlessness.
- Since knowledge is superior to virtue, and
- Since the body is not part of the true self, the spirit,
- what the body does is not sin as it is separate from the spirit which remained sinless.
- Scriptural knowledge is non-literal, and only available to a select few.
- Those who are saved, and consequently produce good works, are discredited along with the example of Christ’s life.
John’s Response in 1 John
The ear, eye, and hand – witnessed incarnation of God as Jesus Christ.
John relates his physical witnessing of Jesus through our human senses and relates that in 1 John 1:1-4. Additionally, there were a multitude of supporting witnesses to these same facts.
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”
Simply, Jesus is the Christ who died on the cross and was resurrected. He also was the creator of all things. His death and resurrection is sufficient for our eternal salvation.
The truths about sin.
Since the Gnostics felt superior to ignorant Christians, and their knowledge was superior to virtue, they felt that their separated bodies could sin at will and not impact their sinless spirits. John addresses this in 1 John 1:5-10.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
Since Jesus was the Christ and since in Him, “there is no darkness” if we walk in darkness, “we lie” if we say “we have no sin” “the truth is not in us.” He will “forgive us our sins” and “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What are the newest wrappers?
These same lies are present today albeit in new terms. It is important to recognize them and to understand that the truths of the bible are as applicable now as they were when originally written.
- Evolution – there is no God and certainly He didn’t create the world nor did He create you – so what power would He have to offer salvation?
- Thus Jesus cannot save you.
- Relativism – the idea that views are relative to differences in cultures, perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.
- Thus man is not sinning since his actions are relative.
- Absolutism – there are no absolutes. The only absolute is one’s own personal values. (Self contradicting – the only absolute is that there are no absolutes???)
- Thus the results of Antinomianism – sin, just took on another name.
- Socialism – the state is god.
- “The earth is the State’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” God and salvation are denied and left on the altar of the state.
- Elitism – those in the know today are the elite – globalist, media, entertainment, academia, etc.,
- They disdain Christianity, their knowledge, of course, being superior.
Satan’s lies are the same, they’re just manifested under new and more modern names.
God’s answers to Satan’s lies is also the same, making the Bible as relevant today as it ever was.