God’s word was given to man by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (II Timothy 3:16). First Corinthians 2:10-13 tells us how. Paul says that the inspired word furnishes man completely unto every good work (II Timothy 3:17), while Peter informs us that God’s divine power hath granted unto us all things which pertain unto life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). This inspired word is all powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and when obeyed, will save man from his sins (Romans 1:16; James 1:21; I Peter 1:22-23). To obtain salvation, man must be obedient to the word (Hebrews 5:8-9). When sinful man rejects the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), there is nothing else to offer.
On one occasion a rich (Mark 10:22), young (Matthew 19:20), ruler (Luke 18:18) came to Jesus asking him the greatest question man can ask, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17)? Because the young man lived under the law of Moses the Master referred him to the teaching of Moses (Mark 10:19). The ruler replied, “Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth” (Mark 10:20). Jesus did not challenge or deny the statement, but loving him (Mark 10:21) told him, “One thing thou lackest: go sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). Upon receiving the answer to his question (Mark 10:17) the rich young ruler’s “countenance fell...and he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions” (Mark 10:22).
The great lesson from this incident (in the life of our Lord) is that when the question had been asked, the answer given and rejected, Jesus stood and watched the young man walk away lost. Jesus did not call him back and change his instructions so the terms would be acceptable. After the terms of divine inspiration had been given, the choice was the ruler’s: obey and be saved, reject and be lost.
The word given by inspiration cannot be changed by man or for man (I Corinthians 4:6; II John 9; Revelation 22:18-19). Whether it concerns the way of salvation, discipline, marriage, divorce and remarriage, instrumental music in worship, purity of life, etc. God’s word will be THE standard of judgment (John 12:48-49).
When men reject the word of God there is nothing else to offer. To change God’s word or make man’s word authority in religion is to lead man into perdition (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 15:7-9).
It is the word of God only, and only the word of God that can lead man unto salvation.
Thomas F. Eaves, Sr.