Once upon a time there was a very wealthy man who passed away, apparently without leaving a will. According to the law his estate was to be divided amongst his only surviving distant relatives. Also all of his household goods were to be converted into cash at a public auction. During the sale the auctioneer held up a framed photograph of the deceased man’s son, but no one bid on it. Not even the relatives that were present. After the auction a woman approached the auctioneer and asked if she could purchase the photograph for a dollar. She explained that she was a servant in the man’s house and that the boy had died many years ago. The auctioneer accepted the dollar and the woman took the photograph home and placed it on a table beside her bed. At that moment she noticed a slight bulge in the back of the frame. She undid the backing and there she found the rich man’s will. The instructions were very simple. It read, “I give and bequeath all of my properties and possessions to the person who cares enough for my son to own and cherish this photograph.” So the woman became the heir of all that the man possessed.
In one sense God is very much the same as this man. Obviously this man was-not content to allow just anyone to inherit his possessions. The heir needed to be someone who at least showed an interest in that which he cherished and loved the most—his son. In one sense God is very much the same way. The truth is, not everyone is going to be saved. Not everyone is going to inherit eternal life in heaven.
Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:23-24).
If anyone is going to be saved it will be those who manifested an active interest in discovering what was pleasing to God and what His will actually was. The saved are going to be numbered amongst those who valued and loved the things that God valued and loved. It will be those who sought to serve Him and obey His will. But how do we really know or discover what God’s will is? What is the means by which He has chosen to reveal Himself and His will to us? Well, there are basically two ways that God has chosen to reveal Himself to the human race. The first means of revelation is within the creation around us.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor did language, where their voice is not hear (Psalm 19:1-3).
In other words, it doesn’t matter what language one speaks or what part of the world one lives in, all one has to do is look around to observe the fact that there is a God. Nature constantly proclaims that reality.
The second means that God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity is through His Word, the Bible. Now the creation is only a general revelation of Himself, but His Word is a much more specific revelation. The creation helps us to know that there is a God, but His Word actually tells us who He is. His Word tells us how to worship Him and how to serve Him. His Word tells us what He likes and what He dislikes, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Remember, not just anyone and everyone is going to be saved. It’s going to be those who showed an active interest in discovering what was pleasing to Him and what His will was. Now, Jesus once said, “Ye do err not knowing the scriptures” (Matthew 22:29). In other words, you’re making a serious mistake or doing wrong (error) by not familiarizing yourself in detail with what the scriptures actually say. In John 5:39 He said, “Search the scriptures…these are they which testify of me.” If one really wants to know the details of who God is and what He is about, one needs to familiarize himself with the Bible. The most important and profound truths of all time, space and matter are contained within its pages.
Now this may surprise you, but the most precious commodity in the world is not gold. It is not oil and it is not diamonds either. The absolutely most precious commodity in all existence is Truth. Now, in one sense truth is very much like gold, oil and diamonds in the fact that it is not commonly found just anywhere and everywhere in plain open sight. For instance, you don’t take a stroll down your sidewalk in the evenings to find gold lying in the gutters or on your neighbor’s lawn or in the street. You don’t find diamonds in your cereal box. Well, just as the most precious commodities of the earth are buried deep beneath the soil, so also is truth buried deep within the pages of the Bible. And truth is of much greater value than any material wealth:
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11).
This fact that truth is often “buried’ ‘ out of plain sight is further observed in the Book of Isaiah . Notice these words very carefully:
But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken (Isaiah 28:13).
Now, we have to ask ourselves this question: “How is it that God’s Word given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little can actually cause people to full, become broken, snared and taken? Isn’t God’s Word supposed to keep us from these travesties?” Well, the Word of God is deliberately “sprinkled” or interwoven throughout with very precious nuggets of truth. Here a little and there a little. It is intentionally and deliberately structured that way so that only the sincerely interested and curious will seek and discover truth. The uninterested won’t. Remember, truth is much like gold. It is very valuable and one has to search for it. That’s one reason why Jesus likened a true and wise disciple to a man who “dug deep” and found a sure and solid foundation upon which to build his house.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them. I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great (Luke 6:46-49).
Now, the problem with many people today and even a lot of “Christians” is that they don’t “dig deep.” With only a casual familiarity with only the more “popular” passages of scripture they develop only a partial familiarity with truth. They too quickly formulate decisions and jump to conclusions without carefully considering more of what the Bible has to say about particular subjects. They suffer with a little problem that we’ll just call Partial Faith Syndrome. Sadly, however, the consequences of Partial Faith Syndrome can be of a spiritual and an eternal nature. Remember, Jesus said, “Ye do err not knowing the scriptures.” Now just in case you think that Partial Faith Syndrome is not a reality to be concerned with, let’s quickly consider one biblical event that demonstrates Partial Faith Syndrome in action. Did you know that it was always promised and prophesied deep within the ancient writings of the Old Testament that God would one day reveal or manifest Himself as a man? Somewhere around 740 B.C. the prophet Isaiah penned these words:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Did you get that? This Son, this Child would in fact be God Himself. Around 600 B.C. the prophet Jeremiah also shed some light on this amazing promise:
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
Wow, what an amazing promise! Someday God is going to raise up a physical descendant of King David himself this king will prosper and execute judgment and justice throughout the entire world! In his days the land of Israel will dwell in safety. And his name whereby he shall be called is none other than. The Lord Our Righteousness. This King is going to be God Himself! You see, it was always prophesied that God would one day manifest Himself as a man. Yet somehow through time that precious truth slowly became neglected, lost and mostly forgotten by many of God’s people. Why, it was even prophesied precisely when He would actually show up (see Daniel 9:25). But again, somehow through time this precious truth became neglected and dismissed. And it was precisely this ignorance that Jesus was addressing when He said these words:
And he said also to the people, when ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, there cometh a shower, and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time? (Luke 12:54-56).
In essence He was saying, “If you would just go to the writings of the prophets and ‘do your homework,’ you would know who is standing in front of you right now.” It is very interesting to me how some people seem to be more interested in Jesus’ skin color than they are in what He actually had to say. Many it seems are eager to identify with Him on some level but yet at the same time they blatantly disregard and ignore who He actually is. Keep in mind that Jesus Himself said things like “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). He also said, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). But many of the people in Jesus’ day were guilty of Partial Faith Syndrome. Partial Faith Syndrome in its purest form is when you really do believe in God, but you really don’t believe God. And such is the case with a lot of people today. Sadly, such is the case with even a lot of “Christians” today. Somehow through time the original teachings of Jesus and the apostles have gradually been reduced to an inferior, secondary source of knowledge and truth. Somehow through time the theological and doctrinal teachings of ordinary men have been embraced and exalted more than the first and original teachings of Jesus and the apostles.
Now, before we go any further in this discourse it is absolutely imperative that we first understand why the teachings of the apostles are of such importance and in fact as equally authoritative as the teachings of.
Jesus Himself First notice what Jesus Himself once told His disciples:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26).
Did you get that? (I’ll tell on myself). Sometimes I have a hard time remembering what my wife said just a few minutes earlier. So this passage is even more impressive to me. But the disciples were supernaturally empowered to remember everything Jesus ever said to them. Notice this passage also.
Jesus is still talking to His disciples:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
This is how the apostles got the authority to teach the things that they taught. They were personally led by the Spirit of God into all truth. And they were supernaturally empowered to remember everything Jesus ever said to them. They didn’t just make this stuff up! This is precisely why our doctrine should not differ from that of the apostles. The teachings of Jesus and the apostles are the only truly solid and perfectly accurate foundation upon which to build.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-20).
So we see then that we are not built upon the teachings of ordinary men that lived and came upon the scene years after Jesus and the apostles. We are not built upon Justin Martyr, Martin Luther, Charles Russell or Joseph Smith. We are not built upon Max Lucado, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren or Billy Graham. We are not built upon the pope, your pastor or my pastor. True Christianity, in its purest form, is built upon the original teachings of Jesus and the apostles. True Christians endeavor to practice, apply and obey the original commands of Jesus and the apostles no matter how unpopular those commands may ever become or how much they may alienate them from the majority of everyone else in the world. And let me warn you. If you choose to seriously live by the original teachings of Jesus and His apostles it most certainly will separate you from the majority. And sadly that’s a price many people don’t want to pay. But it’s absolutely imperative that we hold to the same relentless, undying confidence in the certainty of God’s Word that the Apostle Paul held to:
Let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).
This same attitude of absolute, undying faith in the Scriptures is the first essential step in order to be truly rooted and firmly established in pure, authentic Christianity. This will serve as the only remedy to annihilate a terminal case of Partial Faith Syndrome.
The above article “Partial Faith Syndrome” is written by Darin Bowler. This article was excerpted from chapter one in Bowler’s book The Intolerant Christ.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.