Bible Reading: 1 John 1:5-10
How often today do we hear the subtle serpent’s “HATH GOD SAID” (Genesis 3:1) uttered by professed Christians in an attempt to exonerate themselves and excuse their sin. When scripturally reproved or corrected for their sin (2 Timothy 3:16), they resort to questioning their reprover’s interpretation of Scripture. They call into question the true meaning of what the Scripture really says by reducing it down from God’s objective truth to a mere matter of our subjective interpretations.
Many a scriptural “THOU SHALT NOT” is often twisted today into a tentative “HATH GOD SAID.” When sin is exposed by the searchlight of Scripture, many an exposed sinner attempts to dodge the Bible’s indictment by calling into question the Bible’s intent. Does the Bible really prohibit a particular sin or is there another possible interpretation of that particular biblical prohibition? And if there is another possible interpretation in the minds of those practicing the biblically impermissible, then who has the right to accuse them of violating Scripture for simply disobeying what is nothing more than a perceived biblical prohibition? Granted, there may be a difference of interpretations, but no one can say for sure that there is any disobedience to God’s Word, since the true meaning of Gods Word is uncertain, not to mention subject to a variety of different interpretations.
By turning a biblical “THOU SHALT NOT” into a tentative “HATH GOD SAID” and by subjecting the objective truth of Scripture to the subjectivity of men’s personal opinions, the scripturally exposed sinner is able to turn the tables on all of his detractors. Rather than being forced to either confess his sin or to deny what the Bible clearly teaches, he condemns his detractors for being guilty of intolerant dogmatism. How dare his detractors insist upon their interpretation of Scripture being preferred over his as the only plausible interpretation. It is this spiritual slight of hand, the distracting of others from his clear disobedience to Scripture to his detractors supposed self-righteousness, that enables the exposed sinner to keep the jury out on his sin while at the same time getting a quick conviction against his detractors as arrogant know-it-alls who demand unquestioning obedience to their personal opinions.
The Bible teaches Christians to use biblical “doctrine”—the clear teachings of Scripture – to “reprove” and “rebuke” one another for sin (2 Timothy 4:2). Furthermore, the Bible teaches us to appreciate rather than excoriate those who rebuke us for our violations of biblical prohibitions. For instance, the Bible teaches us to prefer rebuke over flattery and to “love” those who rebuke us (Proverbs 9:8; 28:23). The true Christian will therefore be appreciative of biblical reproof and willing to confess their sin when it is pointed out to them by Scripture. On the other hand, a hypocrite will always be angered by biblical reproof. Far from being willing to confess his sin, he will attempt to explain away the biblical proof of it and to excoriate anyone daring enough to point out his perpetration of anything the Bible prohibits.