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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, October 05 2023

Shocked by The Bible, changed by the truth

Once we realize the truth of the Bible actually contradicts many traditional Christian beliefs and practices, we are faced with the question: What are we going to do about it?

Jerold Aust

To most religious-minded people, the unvarnished facts of the Bible can be shocking. One person who was shocked was Joe Kovacs, executive news editor at WorldNetDaily, who in December 2007, published a book entitled Shocked by the Bible, in which he offers his readers some interesting biblical facts. For example, one cannot find in the Bible that Sunday is the biblical Sabbath, and Christmas and Easter aren’t there at all. His book directly—and sometimes humorously—contrasts popular religious beliefs with biblical facts.

The Bible records a positive case of biblical shock in the ancient city of Berea in northern Greece. The Apostle Paul and his companion Silas went into the synagogue in Berea and preached the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Both Jews and Greeks there set about proving whether what they had heard was true, examining “ the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Though they had never heard of these facts from the Bible (for them a set of scrolls), they still approached Paul's teaching with a positive attitude.

The Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, experienced an even greater shock. Although he was educated in the Old Testament scriptures as a rabbinical student, he aggressively persecuted the early Church (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2). He was even complicit in the execution of Stephen, a faithful deacon who was stoned to death (Acts 7:58 and 8:1). God shocked Paul by blinding him for three days, and then directed Ananias to lay his hands on him so that his sight would be restored (Acts 9:3-17), after which he "preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God" (verse 20).

God shocked Paul and changed his life completely. He selected Paul to be "a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (verse 15). As his life neared its end, Paul wrote: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

In our world today there are hundreds if not thousands of different religious denominations believing they have the truth—and yet their doctrines vary wildly and often diametrically contradict each other. The Apostle Paul warned, there is a "god of this age" who has subtly blinds well-meaning people from the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). This lying being, Satan the devil, has deceived people into believing in "another Jesus" with a "different gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:4). He slyly palms himself off as "an angel of light," with misguided ministers following him who may seem to be ministers of righteousness but are purveyors of falsehood (verses 13-15).

Many major "Christian" beliefs and practices—such as Christmas, Easter and weekly Sunday worship—are not found in the Bible and are man-made religious traditions. They are part of a different gospel, a counterfeit of Jesus' true gospel and the accompanying authentic biblical observances of Passover, Pentecost and God's other commanded festivals, as well as the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 23).

Millions of professing Christians are blinded by human religious tradition, and the sad fact is that they are, at least in part, complicit in their own blindness. Jesus said: "For the heart of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them" (Matthew 13:15).

Jesus holds each of us responsible to act on the facts of Scripture once we hear them (James 4:17). Such spiritual discernment and understanding can come only through the gift of God's Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). God the Father must, first of all, call us, setting the stage for our salvation. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). We must respond to God as we learn His truth. The Bible refers to this as repentance (Acts 2:37-38).

We must then exercise faith or belief in God beyond simply saying we are Christians or that we believe in Jesus. This means accepting Christ’s sacrifice for sins and receiving Him and the Father into your life completely, by believing in Jesus' teachings and acting on them. As Christ said, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).

We should then seek to be baptized from a minister of Christ who believes, teaches and practices the truths of the Bible. True Christian baptism is total immersion in water symbolizing the death and burial of the old sinful self and resurrection to a new life in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-11). God washes our sins away through Christ when we go through this symbolic act (Acts 22:16).

After the minister baptizes us, he then places his hands on our head, asking God to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17), which God does if our repentance is sincere. Through receiving the Holy Spirit, we are begotten as the Father's own children (2 Corinthians 6:18), and are now expected to live our life after the manner that Jesus lived His, as a new creation in Him (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We should examine and evaluate our life on a daily basis (1 Peter 4:17: 1 Corinthians 11:31-32), viewing ourselves in the mirror of God's law of liberty and Jesus' sinless and perfect life (James 1:21-25).

Finally we strive daily to become more and more spiritually mature or perfect (Matthew 5:48), living by and applying God's law, which is spiritual and holy (Romans 7:12). The Apostle Paul said that we die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31), continuing to repent of our old habits and sins that crop back up at times, and are renewed, striving to follow Jesus' sinless example (2 Corinthians 4:16). To be changed by the truth, one must give up the world's way of living and actively live God's way of life.