But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20, 21.
Today is not a day for spiritual wimps. It is a day that demands strength of mind, a resolved will, and deep spiritual conviction. The little New Testament letter of Jude reminds us that it takes Spirit-anointed prayer and the crucial foundation of biblical theology to thrive in our life with God until He returns. We need sound doctrine. Here are six reasons why it is vital, and why it is hard.
- Fewer and fewer people know the story line of the Bible, and biblical illiteracy appears to be at an all-time high. Does anyone even read the Bible anymore?! A 2022 American Bible Society report indicated that roughly 26 million people had mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible after COVID. It is not possible to build up the faith apart from Bible engagement.
- If the Bible is being neglected, entertainment-news and ninety-second social media posts are being ferociously consumed. Ratings-driven media endlessly feature the most repugnant violence, blatant immorality, systemic corruption, and all the worst things happening around the globe. The aim is to so rile the listener that we must continue watching. Besides diminishing attention spans to mere moments, this saturation of crisis upon crisis diverts us from our gravest predicament: estrangement from God.
- The United States Surgeon General recently announced the newest and fastest growing health epidemic of 2023: Loneliness. Prolific social media connections have not produced sense of community, belonging, or meaning for life. People feel alone and disconnected without answers to the questions: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is the meaning of life?” Each of these are most fully answered with a robust biblical theology.
- The world is filled with lies from the pit of hell; the entire world system is now under a massive cloud of deception about what is true and right. Jesus called the devil a liar and the father of lies. The Apostle Paul called him the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Further, Paul prophesied that in the day of the Lord, a lawless one, in the activity of Satan, would deceive the world to believe what is false and reject God’s truth. The most powerful antidote to deceptive counterfeits is the inerrant Word of God.
- Biblical theology is hard because it is thought to be foolishness by those who reject it. There is a growing hostility for Christian doctrine that defines anything about reality as emerging from or answerable to Another beyond us. Yet, the Apostle Paul embraced that very label in his letter to the Corinthians: “We are fools for Christ’s sake.” He knew that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” He taught that “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Being thought of as foolish is not the same thing as being foolish.
- Because of a diminished understanding of biblical theology many have labeled our world as “post-Christian.” Fair enough. But that could also mean it’s now “pre-Christian.” With so little knowledge of the Bible and theology, this could be our best day to tell the perfectly redemptive story of how God is working in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit to rescue broken humanity and renew all things for His Glory. The bedrock theology of the gospel is still the best news the world has ever heard. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.
Today is not a day for spiritual wimps. We need to be built up in the faith, rooted and grounded. Mature, not children. Anchored, not tossed by every wind and wave. That’s why “This We Believe” is our summer series. Let’s keep ourselves in the love of God!
With you on the journey,