One of my favorite movies is “The Book of Eli.” In the movie, Denzel Washington portrays a lone, nomad warrior in a post-apocalyptic world who is told by a voice to deliver a mysterious book to a safe location on the West Coast.
Along his journey, he has to fight his way across the desolate wasteland protecting a book that he believes contains the only key to the redemption and restoration of mankind. The book turns out to be the only existing Bible, which subsequently falls into the hands of his enemies. Eli eventually reaches his destination and delivers the complete version of the Bible, which he has internalized and memorized word for word in spite of the challenges he faced during his treacherous journey.
There are more versions of the Bible available to this present generation then any that has come before it. Yet the battle for the validity of the Bible as the inspired, infallible written word of God is on — and the conflict is heating up day by day. No matter how hot the debate, the Christian must stand firm on the authenticity and authority of the Scriptures.
I believe the Bible is the only book in the world that imparts divine knowledge concerning God’s revelation of himself in Jesus Christ. It’s a revelation so life-changing that the battle to keep this book out of the hearts and hands of mankind is increasing daily. (When is the last time you really read yours?)
If Jesus is who the Bible proclaims him to be (Savior) and if he accomplished what the Bible declared he was sent to do (redeem mankind), the revelation of those truths must be imparted to a world that is too blind to see the reality of what they really need. As Spirit-filled believers, we have been entrusted with the assignment of unveiling and delivering these truths without getting sidetracked with battles that have little or nothing to do with accomplishing our mission.
For this reason, the church must arm herself with the revelation of the purpose and power of the Bible in order to defend her faith, which is currently under fire. This effort requires you and me to do as Eli did and follow the Apostle Paul’s advice: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The Apostle also reminds us that “if our Gospel be hid (veiled), it is hid to them that are lost (dying) and to those whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world (Satan) to keep them from the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). We must avoid engaging in judgmental battles with motives to simply prove that we are right and exert our energy into strategies of love in order to get the lost to light! The god of this world is in a battle to remove the authentic power of the light emanating from the living word of God.
In Matthew 4, we discover that Jesus has been led into the wilderness by the spirit of God to be tempted by the devil. The first thing the tempter does is to bring into question Jesus’ divine nature and then tempt him to satisfy his own personal desires by turning stones into bread. Notice that Jesus never responds to the tempter’s statement, “If thou be the Son of God.”
Indicating that when you obtain a biblical awareness of your identity in Christ, there is nothing the devil can do or say to alter your perspective. The church does not get her identity from the world, she gets her identity from the Bible. The church doesn’t need a government to define who she is, the Bible already defines her as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”
(1 Peter 2:9).
When the tempter suggests to Jesus that he command these stones be made into bread, Jesus’ response should resonate in the ears of all humanity and be repeated on a daily basis. “It is written man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
We have become a society that desires to live by our own words, ideas, thoughts and concepts, instead of living our lives by the words spoken out of the mouth of our Creator — a decision that just might bring about our demise.
Betton is the pastor of Cathedral of Praise Church Ministries and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.