GOING BY THE BOOK

October 07, 2016 0 Comments

Read this verse: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deut.4:2)

Here in this text, Moses reminds Israel of the importance of “going by the Book”—total obedience to the Word of God. They were not to add to God’s commands, nor take away from God’s commands. To live by the Book means a Christian must be committed to "Sola Scriptura", the Bible alone! Every false cult ever devised by man has been guilty of adding their own “scriptures” to the Bible. We believe the Bible is God’s complete and final revelation. Anyone who says God appeared to them with some kind of “new revelation” is a false prophet. Obedience, by definition, is doing ONLY what the Lord says: nothing more and nothing less.

This same identical spiritual teaching is repeated at the end of the Bible in Revelation 22:18. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of this book, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life.” What a solemn warning this is! The warning God gave through Moses to Israel is the same warning God gave through the Apostle John to the church—do not tamper with the Word of God.

Jesus was constantly in conflict with the religious leaders of His day over this very issue. The Pharisees had added a whole list of man-made rules to God’s commands and superimposed them on the Law. They had come up with ridiculous things like prohibiting spitting on the ground, because it disturbed the soil and was the same as "plowing" the earth. No wonder Jesus told them they were “straining at a gnat.” We must all make sure we are living by the Book, not some decree from a church hierarchy. In Deut. 8:3 we have this poignant principle: “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” As you know, Jesus quotes this text in His confrontation with Satan in Matt. 4:4, and gets victory in the hour of temptation because He based His life on the Bible alone.

Later on in the book of Deuteronomy, God gives Israel a warning about false prophets, and how a false prophet may be tested. “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass of which he spoke to you saying: Let us go after other gods—which you have not known—and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet.” (Deut. 13:1-2) The acid test of a true prophet, therefore, was not whether his predictions came true, but whether his words were in harmony with God’s Word. Satan can do great “signs and wonders”, and this is why so many will follow the Anti-Christ. (Rev. 13:13) May the Bible be the sole criteria by which all the theories, philosophies, ideas, and religious rules of man are measured!

We must be careful when somebody says God gave them a message in a dream or vision. We must decide whether the basis of truth is the Word of God, or human experience. Do we live by what God says or by our feelings?

Martin Luther wrote these words:
“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

Richard Seefried
Harrisonburg, VA
Richard Seefried has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry, and is licensed & certified by the NCCA as a clinical pastoral counselor.