“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
Every generation of Christians faces its own particular challenges, and unless we understand these challenges, we will not effectively reach nonbelievers with the gospel or equip believers for ministry. Without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges of our day is the challenge of relativism. Our culture has been so thoroughly inundated with the message that there is no such thing as absolute truth that we can find it easy to vacillate when we are speaking about God. To make an assertion of absolute truth in our era is often considered divisive or even hateful. The pressure is enormous to compromise the truth in order to get along, to present the truth less boldly, or to remain silent altogether.
When we look to Scripture, however, we find that the early Christians were known for the forthright manner of their preaching and teaching. Peter and John, for example, spoke with boldness about the gospel (Acts 4:13). Paul asked the Ephesian church to pray for him that words would be given him so that he could open his mouth “boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:18–20). Boldness and confidence are to attend the ministry of God’s Word.
This confidence and boldness, of course, must not be rooted in our own abilities. If we speak boldly because we have put our trust in our own intellect or speaking skills, then we have not proclaimed God’s Word with a holy confidence but with arrogance. Our boldness must arise from a firm commitment to the truth of God’s Word. Those who preach and teach confidently in the manner that God approves of are those who humbly admit that they themselves have no message to bring. Instead, they are heralds of the King, bearing His unchanging message that is not only for those being taught but also for the teacher.
What we need is a prophetic ministry of the Word of God, not in the sense of prophets who give new revelation but in the sense that we can confidently say “Thus says the Lord” when we expound His Word. And that will come only if we understand that the Word of God is the only message that will stand forever (Isa. 40:8). Getting that truth into our bones cannot help but make us eager and courageous to declare His Word confidently. The Reformers had such confidence, and that drove them to study the Scriptures carefully so that they might accurately and boldly teach the people of God. Not all of us are ordained to gospel ministry, but all of us can study God’s Word carefully so that we will more accurately and boldly teach it to others.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
If our confidence in proclaiming God’s Word is grounded in our own abilities, then we will be arrogant and will ultimately not stand for the truth under pressure. Our confidence must be grounded in the Word of God itself, in our conviction that it is enduring and will always accomplish its purposes. Are you confident in God’s Word? Ask the Lord to make you ever confident of His Word’s truth and power.