God’s commandments are not hidden

By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist
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When one considers the proliferation of religious organizations and affiliations having diverse and even contradictory beliefs and practices, yet all clinging steadfastly to the designation, “Christian”; one might get the erroneous idea that God has deliberately masked and hidden His will in some maze that one has to spend long hours and go great distances to untangle, decipher, interpret and make application of in order to know the will of God, but such is far from the truth. It fact, though heard often that we cannot all understand the Bible alike, it would be a case of failure on the part of God to accomplish His intended goal were such inabilities accurate, for the scriptures are the revelation of God’s will to man and if man cannot understand them, God failed in His attempt to “reveal” them. That is indeed a grievous charge to make against God. It would seem more logical to cast any blame for not understanding on man and his feeble if not altogether lacking attempts to know that which God has revealed. As the apostle made his defense before King Agrippa, Festus accused him of being made mad by way of much learning. Paul’s response to that accusation was, “I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him, for this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:25-26). God has never hidden from man what He wanted man to know and do.

Many years before man was graced with the prolific pen of the apostle Paul, man was graced with the mighty Moses. Yet, it was from words that Moses had written (Deut. 30:11-14) that the apostle quoted, saying “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above: Or, Who shall descend into the deep? That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Rom. 10: 5-8). Those Jews of Moses’ day could know without a shadow of a doubt what God required of them, for He had revealed it to them through the old Law of Moses and the inspired prophets. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21). The problem with the children of Israel was not that the word of God was not available, nor that they could not understand it; but it was that they deviated from it and violated God’s command, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it…” (Deut. 4:2), and “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deut. 5:32).

In this Christian age, God has revealed His will to man, just as completely and clearly as it was to the nation of Israel in the days of Moses and the prophets, if not more so. We could not know what was in the mind of God except He reveal it to us, which He did. Paul said, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God…Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:10, 13). Paul later told the Corinthians, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Cor. 14:37). Speaking of the gospel of Christ, Paul said, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith…” (Rom. 1:17). Peter wrote, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Pet. 1:25).

The problem today is not that God’s will has not been revealed, nor that man cannot understand it. It is the same problem Israel had in that they departed to the right or to the left and added and diminished, contrary to what God had commanded. Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:2-4). The gospel of Christ has been revealed, thus we can know what God requires of us. This fact mandates that we not be divided into to divers doctrines and practices, but that we “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. 1:10). We are not divided because God has not clearly revealed His will to us, but because far too many do not know that word and abide by it.

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By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]