Old Faith For A New Day
By Rev. Simeon Young, Sr.
The term “the faith” in Scripture refers to the system of Christianity as it is revealed in the Gospel. Since faith is the primary element in Christianity, it follows that the combined doctrines of Christianity comprise “the faith.”
Personal faith in Jesus should be vital, vibrant and growing, and it should constantly renew itself. The system of revealed truth, however, has never changed, and it never needs to be updated.
Everything made by man needs to be modified. Mid-course correction maneuvers, for instance, are programmed into computers on space vehicles to compensate for the earth-wobble, as well as for human error. Technology is in constant flux. Dr. Walter Stewart of Princeton asked several students coming out of a seminar, “How did it go?” One student replied, “Wonderful, everything we knew about physics last week isn’t true.”
The Gospel, however, is still true. It is also relevant and actionable. The Gospel is ever God’s powerful method of saving sinners. Nothing else works as good. In fact, nothing else works at all.
Medical research may find a cure for “incurable” diseases, but a miracle drug for the eradication of sin in the soul will never be discovered. The message of Isaiah 1:18 speaks with freshness in 1998, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
The Gospel is unpopular with many. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but to us which are saved, it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The Gospel v was regarded by the contemporaries of the Apostles as weak and base and ineffective. But God chose “the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things to confound the things which are
mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
The Gospel is too simple for some. They want a sophisticated salfivic system which will challenge their intellect. They are ever learning, but are never able to come to the truth, nor are they willing to embrace God’s simple plan of salvation. They refuse to accept a theology which is defined with the word ~simplicity.” Naaman the leper is the timeless archtype of all who reject the simple command to “wash and be clean,” and who opt rather for some so-called “great thing.”
James Michener, the world-renown wordsmith, wrote long and complicated novels, and a thousand-page book was not uncommon for him. When someone complains that Michener is boring because he gets bogged down in minutia, I know they have never gotten past the first hundred pages. Michener once said that he deliberately filled the first hundred pages of his books with cumbersome details to deliberately weed out all but the most devoted fans. A Michener devotee will slug through to get to the good stuff.
The Gospel is unappealing to “the wise” and “the mighty.” “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty…” God does not try to “weed” anybody out of heaven, but He does insist that He get all the glory when a person is saved. Thus the Gospel was made base and despicable to the wise and mighty–that no flesh should glory in His presence.
The Gospel is too demanding for others. The antinomians in Jude’s day played loose with grace and turned it into license for immorality. They wanted to relax the moral stricture of the Gospel. They taught that “the faith” was too legalistic and that it held people in bondage. These people would make the Gospel accommodating to their sinful lifestyles. They had insinuated themselves into the Christian Church, at first unnoticed, but then their filthy behavior, as well as their open contempt for all spiritual authority and leadership, soon exposed them for what they really were–libertines of the darkest hue. Their presence in the Christian Church was likened by Jude to “spots in your feasts of charity” (Jude 12). Yet for all this, they sported outward appearances of Christianity. They were clouds, but without water. They were trees, but without fruit.
The antinomians of Jude’s day were the first in a long line of peddlers of cheap grace. Like their ancestral models, modern antinomians want the Church to accommodate the world. A growing chorus of literate evangelical voices is arguing for a salvation without repentance, discipleship, commitment or separation. Zane Hodges writes in his book, The Gospel Under Fire, that “Christian conversion involves no commitment whatsoever.” Charles Ryrie in his book, Balancing The Christian Life, claims the Bible promises salvation to anyone who simply believes the facts about Jesus and claims eternal life. Ryrie also believes that it is “not necessary to turn from sin, that there is no need to change your lifestyle, and that no commitment or willingness to yield to the Lordship of Jesus is required.” James Boice responds to this raging wildfire of heresy by saying, “It is time we pastors stop deluding people in order to keep unbelievers happy and augment the church rolls. It is time for preachers to proclaim the whole gospel.” (Table Talk magazine/May 1991).
Pardon me no-commitment Ryrie…excuse me no-repentance Hodges, but I’ve cast my lot with Jesus and Peter and Paul and the rest of the twelve Apostles. I’ll stay with Acts 2:38, thank you very much.
The Above Material Was Published By Apostolic World Report, October-December, 1998, Page 23. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.