Let God be True
It seems that man has great difficulty in learning that God is not man (Num. 23: 19). God does not think like man and is not characterized by man's traits (Isa. 55: 8, 9). Another lesson man seems unable to learn is the regal authority that God possesses. Jesus possesses all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28: 18). One of the stronger statements relative to God and man was made by the apostle Paul: "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Rom. 3: 4). God is true, it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6: 18). When there is a conflict between what God and man has said, God is to be considered true and man a liar. Consider these comments regarding Romans 3: 4:
"Gods words shall be accomplished, his purposes performed, and all his ends answered, though there be a generation that by their unbelief go about to make God a liar. 'Let God be true but every man a liar;' let us abide by this principle, that God is true to every word which he has spoken, and will let none of his oracles fall to the ground, though thereby we give the lie to man; better question and overthrow the credit of all the men in the world than doubt of the faithfulness of God. What David said in his haste (Ps. 116:11), that all men are liars, Paul here asserts deliberately . All men are liars, compared with God" (Complete Commentary, by Matthew Henry).
Having biblically established the veracity of God, let us notice some specific areas in which there is a disparity between what God has said and in what man says.
God has said that sin is sin. The Bible does not glamorize or rationalize sin. Sin is presented as terrible. Sin alienates man from his God, is deceiving, and enslaving (Isa. 59: 1, 2; Heb. 11: 25; Jn. 8: 32). The end result of sin is spiritual death and ruination (Rom. 6: 23). Notwithstanding what God has said about sin, man often apologizes for sin. "Sin is just a result of man's fallen nature, transmitted to him by Adam," we are told. Hence, man cannot really help sinning. If man could not help but sin due to an overpowering corrupt nature that God has imputed to man, then man would not be held responsible for sin, but he is (cp. Matt. 3: 5 ff.). Man would have us believe that sin is defined by the contemporary society and that sin only involves gross injustices toward mankind. Sin, God says, is lawlessness or acting without the authority of God's word (I Jn. 3: 4, see the American Standard Translation). Sin is degrading and will keep those sinning from heaven. "Mortal" and "venial" are terms that man applies to sin, in an effort to maximize and minimize sins. Situation ethics advocates:
"How shall we respond to the question whether extramarital sex is always wrong? Or even paid sex? Women have done it to feed their families, to pay debts, to serve their countries in counterespionage, to honor a man whom they could not marry. Are we not entitled to say that, depending on the situation, those who break the Seventh Commandment of the old law, even whores, could be doing a good thing, if it is for love's sake, for neighbor's sake? In short, is there any real 'law' or universal weight? The situationists thinks not" (Situation Ethics, by Joseph Fletcher, pg. 146).
Man has an eternal soul, God says. Man will continue to exist for an eternality, either in heaven or hell (Matt. 25: 46). The materialist would have us believe that when the wicked die, their soul ceases to exist.
" The human soul does not have immortality and incorruption but dies with the body" (Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie, pg. 147).
God said, "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night " (Rev. 14: 11). To the converse, the saved shall bask in the bliss of heaven forever (Rev. 21, 22). Man often only looks on the physical and tangible. However, there is the "inward man" (2 Cor. 4: 16 ff.).
God says it does matter what one believes religiously. The truth makes free, sanctifies, and purifies, according to God (Jn. 8: 32; 17: 17; I Pet. 1: 22, 23). Man must "worship in spirit and in truth" in order for his worship to be acceptable to God (Jn. 4: 24). God will send a strong delusion to all that do not "love the truth" but "have pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes. 2: 10-12). "Just as long as you are sincere, it does not matter what you believe," we hear man saying.
God says his word is final and that there will be no latter day revelations. The New Testament is the final revelation from God, his last will and testament. Jesus is "the mediator of the new testament," that covenant to which the first covenant God made with the Jews looked (Heb. 9: 15; 8: 6-13). Jesus' sacrifice is so perfect that "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb. 9: 28). Jude wrote, " that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). The word "once" in both cases is derived from a Greek word that means that the contemplated act was so complete as to never require repetition or addition. Notwithstanding, a number of religions are based on the concept and belief of latter day revelations. Where would Mormonism be without their Book of Mormon?
God says man can fall from grace. A number of religions aggressively teach the doctrine of "once saved, always saved." "When saved, man cannot so sin as to be everlastingly lost," they state. I recall studying with a denominational preacher who said, "man cannot fall from grace." I asked him that if I showed him where God said man can fall from grace, would he believe it. He said he would. I then had him read, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Gal. 5: 4). He did not believe it and continued teaching the impossibility of apostasy. Regarding the teaching that man's sins do not affect the condition of his soul, please read the following teaching by man:
"We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever do to with the salvation of his soul .All the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger .The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul" (by Sam Morris, Baptist preacher for the First Baptist Church in Stanford, Texas, when he wrote the tract in which in made the foregoing statement).
God says water baptism is essential to the salvation of the lost. When Jesus issued the Great Commission, he stated in clear terms: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16: 16). Disciples are made "by baptism" (Matt. 28: 19, ASV). Baptism is "for the remission of sin" and places one in Christ, where salvation is found (Acts 2: 38; Gal. 3: 26, 27). Even though God has been clear in the matter of baptism and salvation, we continue to hear man say, "man is saved before baptism, at the point of belief only."
God says there is but one church, Jesus' church. Many times we read that there is "one body" (see I Cor. 12: 13; Eph. 4: 4). The one body is the church (Eph. 1: 22, 23). Jesus promised to build his church and he kept his promise (Matt. 16: 18; Acts 2: 47 ff.). The basic concept of denominationalism, many different churches, teaching many different doctrines, is condemned by God (cp. I Cor. 1: 10 ff.). However, man says, "pick the church of your choice" and "it does not matter to which church you belong."
Indeed, there is a sharp contrast and difference between what God has said in his word and in what man says. There is also often a marked difference between what God has said and in what man says God said. Let us remember, "let God be true, but every man a liar." Those who enter heaven will be those who "do the will of my Father which is in heaven," Jesus said (Matt. 7: 21-29).