Speculation and the Word of God
by Richlon Merrill
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Speculate. It’s something we all do real well. We speculate about the weather. We speculate about investments, a job change, a new car purchase, or even whether an upcoming feature film will be worth the price of admission. We speculate when we don’t have all the facts. Sometimes we get lucky and our speculating pays off. Other times we bomb out. The picnic got rained out. We lost money in the market. The new job didn’t pan out. The car turned out to be a lemon. And the movie didn’t live up to all the hype. While the down side of speculation may put us in a quandary, it usually doesn’t end in tragedy.
Those times when we do have all the facts but choose to ignore them are the times we may find ourselves in a deadlock with the truth. Do you care to speculate on who will prevail?
The process of speculation typically involves sorting through a myriad of information, facts, and opinions. We download all that criteria into a four pound mass of tissue between our ears, thereby formulating our conclusions. Isn’t it remarkable what that mass of tissue can conjure up? Unfortunately the human brain is not as reliable as a well tweaked computer processor. The download we feed into our brain is filtered through a lot of junk stored up there making the task of speculation a bit more cumbersome. Who among us would doubt that everybody everywhere is messed up to some degree? Not only does the environment provide opportunity for cluttering up our brains, but the body down below adds to our ailments affecting our ability to reason. Then on top of that is the fact that we were even born with various idiosyncrasies, anomalies, faults; oh let’s just call it what it is… the nature to ignore God and have our own way: The sin nature.
So we just continue to speculate. We need a basis of truth. We need an authority from which to draw conclusions. Who has the answers? You know the answer to that one. God. And I’m not talking about someone’s idea of God… someone’s supposed speculation of who God is and what he stands for. I’m talking about God himself revealing his answers to us. God has made himself known. We just don’t want to accept those answers. Paul in his letter to the Romans said that men “… suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21)
Notice the progression. Evidence in creation alone is enough to reveal His power and sovereignty. No one will be able to say to God, “you did not make yourself known.” We all are without excuse. Do we therefore honor Him as God or give thanks? On the contrary, we begin the process of speculation apart from anything God has to say about his creation and this life. This whole process of speculation becomes futile as we determine truth apart from his sovereign rule and authority. The human heart becomes darkened as it continues down this road of ignoring His principles, guidance, training, and admonitions he so graciously provides. Am I speculating on the source of God’s truth? Hardly.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy he says, “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16). Look closely at this passage. “All” means all. Now before you begin speculating as to which scriptures Paul is referring to, let’s just take this at face value. “God breathed” means that while men wrote it, God’s Spirit inspired the writing. God was in the process of bringing about his revelation to us beyond what natural revelation conveys. Biblical revelation has a purpose for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. Finally, these things serve the purpose of preparing us for God’s work in the world. Elsewhere we read, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
If we had read these scriptures only to then begin the process of futile speculation, we would have missed the valuable message it has for us.
The world’s principles are often in conflict with God’s wisdom. In order to obtain God’s truth over futile speculation, we need to begin with a view of the basic tenants of the gospel. For it is here that we are able to get back on the narrow road which leads to life. Christ put it this way, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) What is Christ saying? He is letting it be known that the speculations of many in this world only lead to destruction. The less traveled road of God’s rule and word is that which brings life. Why is it we cannot accept this simple truth? It’s because, as Paul had stated in Romans, our heart is darkened by sin. The gospel alone has the power to break sin’s power and bring life to our darkened soul. It is as if a dark thundercloud has covered the land. Then suddenly there is a break in the clouds. The marvelous sunlight comes streaming through. You’ve seen it and marveled at the sight. This is a picture of the penetrating power of the gospel. This message is simple yet powerful.
Sin, because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, came into the world and was handed down through the generations to you and me. We are hopeless and helpless to do anything about it. Obedience to the law won’t make us righteous. “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:7) Our hearts need changing. We need a savior to do what we are helpless to do for ourselves. “For as through the one man's disobedience (Adam) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Christ) the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)
“That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Through faith in Jesus Christ, you are given new life. His Spirit must come to live inside of you. That old heart full of sin and death must be replaced by a new heart which can never die. “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)
Upon receiving the life giving power of the Holy Spirit in our heart, we are then able to overcome the world.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
So you see, unless and until Christ comes to live within you through faith, speculation apart from God’s truth, will continue to take you further down that road to destruction. Now, rather than speculate, we are able to examine and understand God’s Word to us. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us (His Word). This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (1 Cor. 2:12-13)
And rather than futile speculation, we are given the ministry of upholding the authority of God.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Let’s bring this all home. Our tendency is to try and figure things out. Even if we call ourselves Christians, we continue to use that four pound mass of tissue between our ears as a higher authority over anything Scripture tells us. We use reasoning and then justify it by stating, “Well, why not, God gave us our brains to think, didn’t he?” Quite true, but we fail to remember that our brains have been corrupted due to the power of sin both in our own nature as well as the world’s corruptive influence. In other words, God expects us to walk down that narrow path of utilizing His resources, that is to say, His Word, His Church, His Holy Spirit, all working in tandem to bring us to the truth concerning a matter. Yes, use your brain, but do so in connection with those resources our Lord so graciously supplies. Receive this admonition from the Lord:
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”]; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:17-19)
Here are some other scriptural references to drive home the point:
1 Timothy 1:4
…or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.
2 Timothy 2:23-26
23But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 24The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
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