The Need for Certainty – Part II
In Part 1 of this article we learned that all of the apostles taught the infallibility of the church. Even the apostles, themselves, were infallible. If this is the case, in such an uncertain world and uncertain times, in what, then, can we believe?
The One Infallible, Certainty!
How can you know with certainty, how can you know with infallible certitude, exactly what you believe? How can you know for sure? This is a question that every Bible- believing Christian needs to understand. Where can you find certainty? How can you know for sure that something is infallible, that all the demons of hell or the governments of the world cannot change it because it is the truth? Where can you find that kind of certainty? That is what people are looking for today. We read from the Bible in Revelation 2:18–26 that you cannot get it from the church, you cannot get it from church councils (See Acts 21:18), you cannot get it from theologians (See Acts 20). You cannot even get it from the apostle Peter.
Since you need to know for a surety, I will show what is absolutely for certain. It is infallible. It has infallible certainty. You can know the truth, and by means of the truth you can have salvation, if you choose it. We will go to a source that is accepted by every Roman Catholic in the world. We will go to a source that is accepted by Protestants. We are going to go to the apostle Peter himself.
We see in Galatians 2 that Peter himself was not infallible, but Peter knew the source of infallible certainty. He knew where to get it, and he tells us where we can get it. He says, "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming [that is the Second Coming] of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." 2 Peter 1:16–18. Here, Peter is referring to a story in Matthew 17.
In Matthew 16:28 Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." Now who were the ones that were standing right there that were not going to see death until they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom?— Peter, James and John. How could He say that? Because, in just a few days Jesus was going to show them, in miniature, what the Second Coming of Christ would be like. We read in the very next chapter, Matthew 17:1–5, "Now after six days [six days after Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:28] Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’" Notice, Jesus was transfigured before them into a glorious personage, just as He will appear in the clouds at His Second Coming, and there were two people talking with Him. One of them was Moses, who had died on Mount Nebo as recorded in Deuteronomy, but Jude tells us Moses had been resurrected from the dead and taken to heaven. Who did Moses represent? Moses represented all those who have died in Christ. We all probably know someone, a Christian who loved and followed Jesus, who has died. But they are not going to stay dead, because Jesus is coming again. The graves are going to open up, and they are going to come up in the clouds. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 the dead in Christ are going to rise first, so Moses represents those who have died in Christ but who will be resurrected to go with the Lord. Elijah was also there, and the book of Kings tells us that Elijah was taken by a chariot of the Lord up into heaven. Who did Elijah represent? Since he never died, and never will, he represents the people who are living on the earth in the last generation and who are ready to meet the Lord. You see, the Transfiguration was a symbol of the Second Coming of Christ, in miniature. And, you notice, Peter was one of the ones that saw this. He heard the voice of the Father saying out of the luminous cloud, "This is My beloved Son. The Jews may decide to crucify Him. They may decide to spit in His face. The Roman Soldiers may nail Him to a cross, but just remember, this is My Son in whom I am well pleased. You listen to Him."
So Peter says to the people, "What we told you when we preached about the Second Coming of Christ and His coming in glory, it was not some cunningly devised fable. It was not something that we made up. We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. We saw it. We heard it." But now remember what you need? You need something that is infallible. You need something that you know absolutely for certain. Do you know that there is something that is even more certain than what the apostles saw? They saw the Second Coming of Christ in miniature; they heard the voice of God themselves, and they reported it to us.
An Even More Sure Word
But there is something that is even more certain than that. Look at 2 Peter 1:19, "We also have the more sure prophetic word." More sure than what? Made more sure than what you see and hear. It is infallible! The church is not infallible, the theologians are not infallible, the preachers are not infallible, even the apostles are not infallible, but the Word of the Lord, the word of prophecy is infallible. It is more sure than what you see and hear, and you can depend on it. It will never ever fail.
Do you know how many learned people have tried to prove the Bible is wrong? They have been trying for hundreds of years. My grandfather was one of them. There was a time when he was a skeptic. William Miller was, at one time, a skeptic. These people tried to prove that the Bible was wrong. They used to say, "There never were any people like the Hittites." The Bible talks a lot about the Hittites. They said, "Somebody made that up, because we do not have any record that there were any Hittites." They are not saying that any more, because archeologists have found abundant evidence in the Middle East of a large nation in ancient times called the Hittites.
People used to say, "There never was a king Belshazzar as written of in Daniel, because we do not have any record of it in the Greek records of the Babylonian kings." But, archeologists have since discovered a great deal of evidence, so no one is arguing today whether Belshazzar existed. They all know that they were wrong.
That is what happens every time skeptics try to prove the Bible wrong. The Bible is an infallible guide to truth. Peter says it is more sure than what you see and hear. It is infallible. You can depend on it.
"We also have the more sure prophetic word which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:19–21.
Whenever this subject comes up there immediately is a controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Roman Catholics say that the church gave us the Bible. The Protestants say that the Bible gave us the church. Which is so? Let us go to the Bible itself for the answer. In James 1:17, 18, James is talking to the Christian church, as you can see in verse seventeen, and he says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will [It is not talking about the church here, it is talking about God in heaven.] He brought us [the church] forth…." Who is the parent here, and who is the child? The parent is God in heaven; the child is the church.
The church was formed by the Word of God. The Word of God produced the church. The church does not produce the Word.
I have been questioned about how we acquired the Bible. Jesus, Himself, tells us. "Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’" Luke 24:44. Those are the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible that contain exactly the same books that we have today in the Old Testament. Jesus confirms that we still have the same books in the Old Testament as they had in His day. It is infallible. You can depend on the Old Testament.
How about the New Testament? Jesus answers that for us, also. "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth [Holy Spirit] who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning." John 15:26, 27. Who did Jesus say was to bear witness to the whole world that He was the Messiah? It was the apostles. He selected them. The early church did not produce the New Testament. Do not ever get confused on that. That is a lie. The apostles wrote the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the church received it from them. The Bible is not the word of the church. The Bible is the Word of the Lord.
The early church understood this concept. There were all kinds of people (see Revelation 2 and 3), who were coming to the early church saying, "I am an apostle." The early church tested these people claiming to be apostles and found out that they were liars. The early church had one simple rule as to whether a book should appear in the New Testament—was it written by an apostle? All of the books in the New Testament came from apostles.
Peter knew the prophetic Word was Scripture. He says, "…that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures." 2 Peter 3:15, 16. Peter recognized that the apostle Paul’s writings were Scripture. The apostle Paul wrote over half the books in the New Testament, so there is the evidence for over half the books in the New Testament. This Book, the Scriptures, is infallible.
"Oh," somebody says, "can you really say something like that?" Yes, I can. "But aren’t there some mistakes in the Bible? Did the translators make some mistakes? Did the copyists make mistakes?" Let me ask you something. Suppose you received a letter. The person who wrote you the letter dictated it to his secretary, and the secretary misspelled a word. The person told you the truth, but the secretary they dictated the letter to misspelled a word. Do you throw out the letter as being in error? No. This is what happened with the Bible. When we look at the Greek text, we can see that the people the apostles dictated to sometimes made a grammatical mistake. It does not change the message. I want to tell you something. It is all true. It is infallible. If you follow it, you will be saved.
The Strongest Arguments
The two strongest evidences in the Bible that prove that it is infallible are:
1 Fulfillment of prophecy. Prophecy has been fulfilled over and over and over again.
Just a hundred years ago people who were studying Bible prophecy said, "The time is going to come in the United States when this country is going to get very close to Rome." And people said, "Oh no, this is a Protestant country; that will never happen here." But it is happening here! How did they know that? They knew it from studying Revelation 13, 14 and 17.
As a boy I can remember when all the different churches were split up. There were people who studied Bible prophecy in Revelation 17 who said, "According to Revelation 17 there is going to be a movement when all the churches are going to try to get together." People did not believe them. The Bible told the truth nineteen hundred years ago. It is that way with every single Bible prophecy.
- Infallibility. This is the strongest proof of all that the Bible is true, that it is infallible. In Romans 8 the apostle explains the Gospel. He shows how a sinner, who cannot save himself, can have his sins taken away by the blood of Christ. If he puts his trust in Jesus, all of his guilt can be taken away; his life can be changed; he can receive the Holy Spirit, and he can live a new life. Then in Romans 8:16 Paul says, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." When you surrender your heart to Jesus as your Lord and Saviour from sin, the Holy Spirit changes your heart. The Holy Spirit comes in, changes your heart, and takes away the hate, the bitterness, the anger, the clamor, the competition, the sourness, the negativeness; all these awful things of sin that have ruined your life and ruined your family, the Holy Spirit takes them all away. That is the strongest evidence that the Bible is infallible and that it is true! And that is what all the apostles taught.
Maybe you have tried a hundred times to change. Mark Twain said that it is not hard to stop smoking. He said, "I quit smoking a thousand times." That means that he started again at least nine hundred ninety-nine times. You may say, "I am not going to speak that way anymore to my wife because it hurts her," and then you do it again. You try, and you try, and you try, and you find out, like the Bible says, that the sinner is in hell. He is bound with the cords of his sins, and there is nothing he can do about it. The Holy Spirit sets you free and gives you the power. He gives you a new heart so that you think differently; you feel differently; you speak differently; and everybody says, "What has happened? This is not the same person anymore." The Holy Spirit is living inside, and when the Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, you are not a child of the devil anymore. You do not have covetousness anymore. You do not have wrath, anger, clamor and strife in your home anymore, because you have given your heart to the Lord, and you have the peace of heaven in your heart and in your home. When that happens, that is a miracle that all the philosophy, all the psychology, all the sociology, all the learning of this world cannot produce. None of those things can give you a new heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, and that happens when you yield yourself to Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
The strongest proof that the Bible is true is the miracle that God has worked in your life. No matter how many unbelievers there are, you know the Bible is infallible and it is true, because it has happened to you.
Do you want that miracle to happen in your life? It can. Even if you are the worst sinner, it can happen to you. Paul said that Jesus came to this world to save sinners "of whom I am chief." I Timothy 1:15. Paul was a murderer, you know, and the people he murdered were not criminals. They were holy people. Do you want Jesus to come into your heart and your life to give you a new heart? That is a Bible promise. The Lord says, "I will give you a new heart, a new spirit. If you will seek me with all your heart you are going to find me." (See Ezekiel 26:36, Jeremiah 29:13.) Jesus said, "Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,…and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28–30.
Do you want to come? Do you say, "Lord Jesus I want the strife, the anguish, the trouble, the anger, the wrath, the bitterness, all of these awful things that sin has produced, out of my life; I want a new heart! Is that what you want? Only He can give it to you, and He will give it to you, if you want it. He said, "If you come to Me I will give you rest for your souls." Ibid. You will have the evidence that the Bible is so. It is the infallible proof of the Christian religion. It is infallible, and if you follow and do what it says, you will be saved.
March 2000 Table of Contents