Authority is a word that people love if it is preceded by the word “in” and usually hate if preceded by the word “under.” When a person is “in authority” they get to make the decisions. When a person is “under authority” they are subject to the will or desires of another. Accordingly, most people are okay with being “under authority” to someone or something as long as their desires line up. However, when there is a fork in the road, most people try to either assert their own will or find a new authority to be under. But then is that really being “under authority?” The simple answer is no. When my precious two-year-old bucks me at bed time, she is calling me “Mommy” but she is trying her hardest to get out from under Mommy’s authority. As “Mommy” I am the person who feeds her, changes her, kisses her “owies” and tickles her to make her laugh. She loves that side of me! But when I tell her to share with her sisters, to stay quiet, to take a bath or to go to sleep, she is over me. To further illustrate, when one of my cousins was about two years old, she started calling herself “Mummy.” In her world, her mom called the shots and so she renamed herself accordingly. We all thought her attempt at defiance was so cute that we called her “Mummy” too. My point is in both cases, at age two, these kids were trying to usurp the highest authority they knew whenever the going got rough. At age fill-in-the-blank how often are you doing the same thing with God?
I would suspect that one of the main reasons people don’t want to believe in God is because then they will have to answer to someone. If there is no God then there is no standard. If there is no standard then anyone who tries to push their will on someone else can easily be dismissed. What about the Christian? A Christian theoretically knows that he/she is subject to the Triune God (God the Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit) but how many Christians deny the authority of God’s Word because it conflicts with what they desire?
Some Christians don’t open their Bibles because of what they might find, others read their Bibles without intent or purpose and then there are those of us who love God’s Word until we get to the verse that condemns something that we sort of do because we have no other choice. Let’s clear up a common misconception: Once you have been saved, you are indeed under the authority of God AND you are under the authority of His Word.
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:9
You may want to read that verse again and with intent. On the basis of that verse, do you have the Father and the Son? Are you abiding in (subject to) the teaching of Christ? If you cannot be bothered to read your Bible the answer is a resounding no. Additionally, this verse says “teaching” not “teachings.” Christ taught many things in the Bible but God’s point in keeping “teaching” singular is that this is an all-or-nothing deal. You cannot pick and choose which teachings you will be subject to.
When you go before God one day to give an account of everything you have done good or bad in this life, please refrain from using the following excuses:
-“I didn’t know”
-“Pastor X didn’t cover that in any of his sermons”
-“But it felt right so I thought it was okay”
We have the definition of what God considers good and bad in the Bible. He knows the opportunities you took to read His Word and the ones you squandered.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Very simply put, all Scripture is from God and for the good of all of His people to do His work. God wants you to read the Bible.
It is tempting to think that once saved nothing else matters: that God doesn’t really care if the Bible is read and obeyed but it is just a good idea for Christians. However, if God doesn’t care, and if it is not going to affect us, why is God going to have us individually give Him an account of what we have done when He already knows?
Further, God does reveal things to His children through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, through the words of others and through events in our lives. But the most black and white revelation is readily available in His Word and the God who cannot lie will never contradict what He has written in His Word.
If you are a Christian with access to the Bible and you refuse to take advantage of this gift, I am confident in saying you will live to regret it. If you have tried and you don’t know how to read the Bible, join a Bible study. I highly recommend BSF for those who have never studied or even for those who think they know almost everything. I did not grow up reading the Bible. I had to learn how to study it as an adult. It was not easy to begin but I now know what it means to love God’s Word.
Finally, if you are stubborn and believe you can ignore the Bible now and plead ignorance later in order to live according to your own desires you are being duped. The reality is you are always under someone else’s authority but is it God or Satan? You don’t have to read the Bible to go to Heaven but even by doing nothing and reading nothing, you have made a choice of who you are going to follow while you are here on earth.