Love For The Lord And His Word
By Rich Carmicheal
One of the grievous conditions in the United States (and in other countries) is a growing dishonor for the Word of God. Some people, even within the church, are distorting what it says, others are watering it down, and still others are ignoring it altogether. This is true with even some of the most basic teachings in the Bible, including issues such as the definition of marriage, views toward homosexuality, gender issues, and the sanctity of life.
We should not be surprised, of course, that such dishonor and distortion is occurring. Even from the beginning of mankind, the validity of the Word of God has been under attack. Note how the devil’s scheme to deceive Eve was actually an effort to undermine the Word of God:
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Gen. 3:1-5).
In this attack the devil deceived Eve by telling her that she could not really trust the Lord and what He had said. And just like then, the devil, and other opposing forces, are working today to undermine the validity of God’s Word.
The Bible itself warns us to expect an end-time turning away from the Lord and His Word. For example, the Apostle Paul warns that the time will come when people will turn away from sound doctrine in preference to their own desires (2 Tim. 4:3); that “in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). This fits all too well with this sobering description of the last days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power…” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
A Vital Decision
In the midst of the spiritual breakdown we are witnessing today, we have a vital decision to make – a decision that may be very costly for us. That decision is whether or not we will stay true to the Word of God. Will we “hold fast the pattern of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13) that has been passed on to us? Will we “continue in the things which [we] have learned and been assured of…”? (2 Tim. 3:14).
Actually, the more essential question is this: Will we stay true to the Lord? This really is the heart of the matter because how we treat His Word is simply a reflection of our reverence for Him and our relationship with Him. If we revere and love Him, we will honor His Word and obey His commandments. Note the vital connection between reverence and love for the Lord and honor for His Word in these passages:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:5-7).
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deut. 10:12-13).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments…” (Psa. 111:10).
“Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me” (John 14:21).
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him…’” (John 14:23).
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).
If we truly belong to the Lord, we will honor and keep His Word. This becomes more challenging, of course, when we live in a culture that is pressuring us to adjust to its values instead of upholding the Lord’s values. In the midst of such pressure, we will find out how real our faith in the Lord is, and how much we love Him. Will we stay true to Him and His Word no matter the cost?
About This Issue
This issue of Herald of His Coming focuses on the Word of God. Our hope and prayer is that the Lord will use the messages to encourage and strengthen you personally in your love and devotion to Him and His Word. We also hope that you will join us in praying that He will work through this issue to bless and stir up many other brothers and sisters in Christ as well. This is certainly an hour for all of us to take the Lord’s Word fully to heart and, out of the overflow, impact the lives of others.