DO WE BELIEVE GOD?
BY: E. W. BULLINGER
Note: I discovered this wonderful article by Dr. Bullinger some time ago, and do not have the exact location from which it came. It is a provocative article that should stimulate you to consider your own levels of belief in what God say in His Word.
Do we believe what He says?
By nature, none of us believe Him. We none of us wish to believe. The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the Law and the Word of God. We all seek to evade it by various devices.
Some deny that there is any God to speak to man.
Others believe there is a God, but deny that He has spoken in His Word.
Others believe that He has spoken, and that the Bible contains His Word, but deny that it is His Word.
Others believe that the Bible contains the Word of God, but cannot tell us where to find it or how to distinguish His words, or where to hear His voice.
Others receive it, and receive their emoluments and dignities for so doing, but deny its Divine origin and inspiration, and spend their energies in destroying it; declaring its histories to be “myths” and “legends”, and “old wives’ fables”, and its prophecies to be the shrewd guesses of mortal men, or the work of those who lived after their fulfillment.
Others receive it, but declare that much of it consists of forgeries, and spend their whole time criticizing it or writing commentaries upon it. No class of men are so busily engaged in writing about the Word of God. They cut it up with their pens, just as Jehoiakim cut it up with his penknife.
Others are content to use it as a book to pick to pieces, not to find fault with it, but to find “texts” suitable for sermons or almanacs, or birthday-books, or motto-cards; just as Shakespeare and the poets are used for the same purpose.
Others believe it to be inspired by God, but have their various “schools of thought” as to the kind of inspiration involved, and the nature and the measure of it.
Others believe, as a matter of fact, or as an article of faith, that is inspired, but holds that no one can really understand it, and thus endeavor to shield themselves from all responsibility to believe it, on the ground of their ignorance.
Others go a step further, and, while holding that, while no one can understand it, the Church (whatever that expression may mean!) can do so. They thus seek to shelter themselves by shifting their responsibility to believe God from themselves to the Church; and thus, while refusing to believe God, they believe man, and swallow down with credulity all that man may say.
Others receive it, as a good book, but are content with setting it to music; and treat it as being useful for making “libretto” or an oratorio or cantata, or of a song or a solo. Thus, with some it becomes a “book of the words,” while the performers are ‘rendering” the music. They receive the applause of man for singing with great gusto warnings which they ignore; threatenings which they do not fear; commands which they disobey; prophecies to which they do not take heed; and promises by which they are not moved.
Others receive it, and believe it to a certain extent, and value, and even reverence, the Scriptures as the Word of God, but not by a Divine or ‘living faith,” because it has not the evidence of the ‘good works,” which are manifested only in “faith-obedience.”
“Faith-obedience” is the obedience, which proceeds from, and is produced by, a living faith in the Living God. In other words, it is the acting as if what we heard were true.
We hear, for example, what God says about our condition by nature; that we are not only ruined sinners, on account of what we have done, but ruined creatures, on account of what we are. Do we believe it? It so, we shall act accordingly, and the belief will make us so sad and miserable, that we shall thankfully believe what He says when He declares that He has provided a substitute for the sinner so believing and so convicted; and that He has accepted that perfect One in the sinner’s stead.
If we believe this we shall be at peace with God; and have no more concern or trouble about our standing in His sight; we shall have nothing to do but to get to know more and more of Him, and to be giving Him thanks for what He hath done in making us meet for His glorious presence. We shall not be forever putting ourselves back into our old place from which we have been delivered. We shall not be always be asking for forgiveness of the sins for which He was delivered, because we shall always be rejoicing in Him “in Whom WE HAVE redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:14), and while we are giving Him thanks for “HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES” (Col 2:13), we shall forget our old occupation of for ever confessing our sins and praying for forgiveness.
We shall be looking and pressing forward to the “CALLING ON HIGH” (Phil 3:14)
We shall be free to witness for Him, and to engage in His service, being no longer occupied with ourselves, our walk, or our life. We shall be no longer taken up with judging our brethren, knowing that the same Lord has “made them meet” also; and that they are members of “the same body,” and that we shall soon be called on high together. We shall cherish our fellowship with them here (if they will let us knowing that we shall soon be “together” with them there.
We shall hold not only the precious doctrinal truth connected with Christ the Head of the one Body, but the practical truths connected with the members of that Body.
We shall seek to learn ever more and more of God’s purposes connected with “the great mystery concerning Christ and His Church,” and to enter into all that concerns its glorious Head.
We shall have such an insight into His wondrous wisdom Who has ordered all these things that we shall thankfully prefer it to our own.
We shall recognize that His “will,” manifested I the working out of His eternal purpose, is so perfect, that we shall prefer it to our own, and desire it to work out all else that concerns us.
We shall have nothing to “surrender.” We shall have done with that new miserable “gospel” of self-occupation; and, all connected with its phraseology will have been left far behind, as being on a lower and different plane of Christian experience altogether.
Christ will be our one object, and we shall count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord (Phil 3:8).
If this be not the result of our believing God, it is proof positive that we have not a “living faith,” and that all our works for holiness are only “dead works,” because we have not this blessed evidence as the result of our “faith-obedience”.
We have this simple test in our own hands.
Without the Holy Spirit’s Word by the Apostle James we should not possess this test. But now that we have it, and see it, it will be our own fault if we do not profit by it, and use it for our own blessing and peace and rest.
If we do thus use it, we shall find ourselves strangely out of harmony with all that rules in modern Christianity, and all that characterizes present-day religion.
We shall realize that its phraseology and its terminology are all based upon a lower plane of experience. We shall find ourselves out of touch with many of our fellow-believers; for we shall have learnt to “cease from man.” We shall have lost and given up “religion;” but this will be because we shall have found Christ, and know what it means to be “FOUND IN HIM.”
DO WE BELIEVE GOD? [E. W. Bullinger] 1