Would it be true to say that the Bible only gives us the most vital information, but never tells us everything?
UK Apologetics Reply:
Yes, that is a very accurate statement. The Bible tells us what it is vital for us to know, things which - in most cases - we would probably never be able to fully discover in any other way. Then it leaves the details to us, regarding the logical working-out of how we may apply these things in our lives. As an example, marriage is upheld and shown to be very favourable to God (Genesis 1:27-30; 2:18, 21-24). So that is clear for us. But does this tell us that it is wrong not to marry? No, not at all, Paul the Apostle shows us that in some times and circumstances it could be better, although one should remember that 'it is better to marry than to burn' (with unfulfilled desire). The majority of men and women from all cultures do marry - even now! And that meets with God's approval. But God does not seek to punish those who don't marry. Again, we may look at many Bible verses and note that sexual promiscuity does not meet with God's favour. But God never tells us to marry any particular person; He has given us superb, reasoning minds and He wants to see us using them in making good and sensible choices.
A Christian asked me, "Should I, as a Christian, buy a lottery ticket?" He wanted a definite 'yes' or 'no.' But - standing under the law of Christ - I could give him neither! I said, it is your choice, my friend. Some Christians will buy them, others will not.
Another believer asked me if it would be sinful to watch a particular television programme. I said, 'What does your conscience tell you about that? For my part, I would not watch it, but you must decide.'
The Christian has greater freedom than those living under the old covenant. The law of Christ is a law of liberty - best summed up by the principles within the 'sermon on the mount' - God wants to see a people who are led by His Holy Spirit, true believers, making sensible and wise choices in those areas where the Bible does not rule; these are very considerable areas.
The Israelites, living under a 'ministration of death' which was carved on stone, knew exactly what God expected of them in many quite confined, narrow areas. For Christians it would be legalistic to look for such legislative control in every single area of ones life. Paul is clear that it would not be good to again become entangled in law but, rather, we should look to the guidance of the Spirit, and to God in prayer.
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because "the righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, "The person who does these things will live by them." (Galatians 3:11-12).
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1).
In contrast, the Israelites stood under an adminstration of law, under which penalties were always standing over them, waiting to administer punishment for any infraction, We, however, are not under the law, but under grace.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:14-15).
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.(Romans 8:1-4).
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corithians 3:7-18).
Robin A. Brace. January 10th, 2012.