Monday, September 03, 2012
Galatians 1:20 and the Truthfulness of Scripture
In preaching last Sunday on Preaching the faith he once destroyed (Galatians 1:18-24), I was struck by Paul's appeal to the truthfulfullness and integrity of his written testimony and the wider implications of this verse for the truth and integrity of all Scripture. Here are my notes from the exposition of this verse:
“Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not" (Galatians 1:20).
This verse tells us that the apostle Paul was being accused by these rogues in Galatia of being a liar. Paul the apostle is having to defend himself against the charge of being a deceiver. That is a rather difficult charge to defend oneself against. “Are you a liar and deceiver?” If you answer with an emphatic, “No,” such rogues can simply announce, “See, I told you so!”
Still, Paul appeals to anyone with working rational and spiritual capacity to heed this emphatic defense of the integrity of his testimony.
It is interesting to note that one could take v. 20 beyond the meaning it has for its specific context and apply it first to everything that Paul will write in this epistle, second to everything that he will write that will become part of the NT, and third to everything that the Holy Spirit of God has breathed out in all the Scriptures. Paul was a sinner, and he could bear false witness. In fact, before his conversion he bore false witness about Christ and his followers. But, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, his fallible traits as a man were overshadowed by the infallible guidance of that same Spirit.
Paul in his writings does not lie; the Scriptures do not lie, because God does not lie. The verse to lay alongside this one is Titus 2:2 which says God, who “cannot lie.” This verse then becomes a testimony to the total truthfulness and trustworthiness of Scripture.
This is why we believe that God made the world in six days and all very good, no matter how the philosophy of modern evolution rages against it.
This is why we believe that God created marriage as a one-flesh covenant union between one man and one woman that lasts a lifetime, no matter how many try to alter this definition.
This is why we believe that Jesus in the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes the Father except by him, no matter how men might rail against such exclusive claims.
This is why we believe that Jesus will come again to judge the world in righteousness as the man God has appointed for that task, no matter how scoffers might mock our hope.
And we could go on and on….
Why? Because the written Scriptures (note the emphasis on the inscripturated word) do not lie!
When Dr. Crampton preached for us back in July he offered a critique of the slogan: “God said it; I believe it; and that settles it” by saying that it ought instead to say, “God said it; that settles it; and I believe it.”
Biblical Christianity requires faith. And foundational to faith in Christ is faith in the Scriptures as the infallible written witness to Christ.