Assembly Truth (5): Convictions (2)

Failure in Convictions

Some saints do not have convictions from the Word of God because they have never been taught them or because they have never discovered them for themselves. God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6, KJV). First Corinthians is a book of failure. Ten times we read, “Know ye not?” The Corinthians could have answered, at least about some of them, “Yes, we know;” but they did not know them as they ought to have known them, or their behavior would have been different! The real test of knowledge is not how much I know mentally (in my head). The real test of knowledge is how much my knowledge affects my actions. If truth does not affect my actions, then I do not know truth as I ought to know it. Our knowledge should control our behavior.

There are truths in the Word of God of which we need to be reminded. Peter said “I … stir you up by putting you in remembrance” (2Peter 1:13, KJV). Paul said “To write the same thing to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe” (Phil 3:1, KJV ). “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov 11:14, KJV). In Jeremiah 23, God found fault with shepherds and prophets who had not helped God’s people. “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied” (v21, KJV). The next verse is remarkable. “But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (v22, KJV).

God condescends to tell us why Judah went into captivity: “And the Lord God of their fathers sent unto them by His messengers, rising up betimes and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy” (2Chron 36: 15-16, KJV). We can, however, get encouragement from these two solemn verses. As long as we are open to the Word of God there is always the possibility of recovery. But these verses warn us that, once we close our consciences to God’s Word, there is no longer any real hope of recovery.

There is a return to the Word of God in every recovery and revival recorded in the Bible. We read of the Passover in the revival of Hezekiah’s day, “For since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like kept in Jerusalem” (2Chron 30: 26, KJV). But of the Passover kept during the revival of Josiah’s day we read, “And there was no Passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet” (2Chron 35:18, KJV). We have to go further back in Israel’s history to find a Passover like that kept in Josiah’s day because it was closer to the Word of God.

“And all the congregation that were come again out of the captivity made booths and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so.” It is no wonder the verse closes with the words, “And there was very great gladness” (Neh 8:17, KJV). May the Lord encourage every one of us to study the Word of God diligently so that we have the convictions which we should have based on the Word of God.

Some saints are afraid they will become extreme if they go diligently by the Word of God. I freely admit I could become extreme by going very close to one part of the Word of God and neglecting another part which should regulate how I obey the first part. But I hope my readers can see this would not be going too close to the Word of God. Rather, it is not going close enough. The closer we are to the Word of God, the more balanced we will be in holding and obeying its truth, for the Word of God is a balanced book.

We find an example of how balanced the Word of God is in 1 Kings 12. King Rehoboam made a fatal mistake by not going by the advice of the older men. But in the very next chapter (13), not 20 chapters later, the man of God from Judah lost his life because he took seriously the words of the old prophet of Bethel. “The hoary head is a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Prov 16:31, KJV).

How we get along with one another is part of the truth of God. The Lord Jesus was the only perfectly balanced man who ever lived, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, KJV). He was the true meal offering made of fine flour with no unevenness. He possessed every desirable characteristic in perfect blend. Surely every believer wants to be more like Him!

We read these words about good king Josiah, “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (2Kings 22:2, KJV). Some may take these words as an encouragement to compromise, but 2 Kings 23:25 clearly shows that king Josiah excelled in going according to all of God’s Word. He is the only king of whom it is written, he “turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.”