I’ve become convinced that certainty about what everything means in the Bible is a trap and a lie and the slipperiest slope ever.
Because it depends so heavily on the power of human reasoning.
And it usually doesn’t ask the Holy Spirit for help.
Certainty about everything in the Bible is, for some, absolutely necessary or their doctrine can become contaminated with uncertainty and their works found sinful because they did not — in every instance — rightly divide the word, and felt that somehow the intellect God gave them was a guarantee that they could and should and a command that they must.
That’s one of the dangers of seeing a command behind every period in every sentence of scripture, you see.
And I’m exaggerating, of course, for the value of emphasis — and please don’t take me to task for it as if no one on the “certainty” side of the argument has ever done that.
But let’s face it, when we lean on our own understanding … when we fail to ask for the Holy Spirit because we’ve convinced ourselves that He’s no longer given and wouldn’t help if He still were … when we become addicted to the adrenalin rush of certainty plus the power it brings over others ….
… we’ve gotten ourselves into a mess of trouble.
We’ve become self-reliant … authoritative … superior … judgmental … arrogant.
— when by contrast Jesus asks the believer to be reliant on Him, on His authority, on His superiority, on His judgment, on His humility.
Not everything in scripture is a command.
Nor is everything in scripture crystal-clear. Not every prophecy and mystery is self-explaining to the superior intellect.
If it were, then the humbly-blest (pathetic souls like me who can barely think their way out of a cardboard box) would be locked out of the gates of heaven for their ignorance and inability to decode God’s hidden agenda in scripture. Not because they didn’t obey; but because they didn’t obey everything they couldn’t understand.
Wow. That sounds really fair of God to damn the stupid.
Which leads me to believe that, when we rely on our own certainty instead of God’s, it’s because we’ve chosen to have a view of God that makes Him psychologically warped, secretive, vindictive, and condemnatory above all — while proclaiming Himself to be loving, kind, forgiving, merciful and just.
That’s where atheists go. They choose not to believe in Him because they don’t want to, and that’s the way they describe Him.
What does it say about the believer who chooses to believe in Him being that way?
Far too much of what we’ve been certain about are interpretations of scripture, conclusions drawn from it, based entirely on human logic that turns out to be fundamentally flawed under close inspection.
But there is one thing we can hang our hats (and souls) on — and should, and must:
God is who He says He is.
There are mysteries in scripture which He chose not to reveal in plain language — truths He reserves unto Himself, until the time He chooses to reveal them (and Himself) and in the way He chooses as well.
Paul did not have instructions from the Lord on some issues.
There are things that angels long to look into.
You can be certain of it. You can be certain of what He says. You can be certain that He means what He says.
You can be certain that if you use even your best human logic to try to Sherlock out what He meant to not say, you will fail.
You can also be certain of this: reliance on self to be smart enough, good enough and by-golly-people-like-you-enough to earn your place in heaven is always going to fail.
Gnosis was never meant to be your god.
Certainty was never meant to be your god.
But what your God wants you to be certain about, He makes abundantly clear in scripture and His words require no interpretation, no conclusions drawn, no human doctrine created to defend or explain.
They say what He means.
So don’t add. Don’t subtract. Don’t multiply or even divide them to the point where they no longer make His sense.
Ask for help. Ask for the gift of discernment given through the Holy Spirit. It just might be given.
If God loves us, He will tell us what we need to know.
But understand ahead of time that sometimes the scroll is meant to be eaten, and sometimes the words are sealed up for another time.
I’m certain of that.