All Reforms are Only through the Word of God
Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-5
No resolutions for individuals, families or businesses can be achieved if it is not for the Word of God. However, everything can be reformed when the Word enters. Hearts that are wicked and full of deceit can be reformed into a good heart when the Word of God enters.
Martin Luther's religious reformation in October 31, 1517 was powered through the Bible alone. The three principles of the religious reformation were "by grace alone" (Sola Gratia), "by faith alone" (Sola Fide), and "glory to God alone" (Soli Deo Gloria). During the dark times of the middle ages, the religious reformation erupted like a volcano under these principles and achieved success. The shouts of reformation that burned within the hearts of the religious reformers, who sought to live solely by the scriptures, became the strong voices that shake the heavens and the earth and ring within the hearts of people of faith today.
Matthew chapter 17 records the vision at the Mount of Transfiguration. When Jesus met with Moses and Elijah in His spiritual body, Peter said he will build a tabernacle each for the Lord, Elijah and Moses. At that time a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" Matthew 17:8 records, "they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone," and the Word alone remained.
1. The Bible is the Absolute Word of God
The reestablishment of the correct view of the Bible is necessary before the start of any reformation. A man's resolutions can last, at most, for three days. But the Word of God last forever and does not come to an end (Heb 1:12). The traditional view of the Bible for reformed Churches is the perpetuity of the Bible.
The Bible consists of sixty-six recorded books of the Old and New Testament, and these sixty-six books alone are the absolute Word of God. The sum of the 39 Old Testament books and the 27 New Testament books totals the complete revelation, the Word of God. There is nothing to be added and nothing to take away. The Bible was recorded by the old prophets and the apostles who were inspired by God, given and written not only for that period, but also for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Cor 10:11). The time for salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed (Rom 13:11).
God did not credit righteousness to Abraham just for his sake, "but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited" (Rom 4:24-25). When we believe in Jesus, God considers us as Abraham’s descendants, no matter the race or nationality. Even thousands of years later, that is why we, who live without knowing God but come to hear the gospel and believe in Jesus, are able to receive the same blessing that was given to Isaac who is Abraham’s direct bloodline. The Bible transcends all differences in time and culture, and is complete, inerrant and eternal.
The Bible is only standard for our faith and our acts, and is the absolute standard for judgment. Mankind and all other creatures of the universe and are judged by the Bible. All the doctrines of Christianity (such as the doctrine of creation, christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and anthropology) are established and standardized according to only the Word of God. The Bible is the absolute standard for all our thoughts and decisions.
The divine authority of the Bible comes from itself alone. Sinful man cannot discuss and decide on the divine authority of the Bible. As the living Word, the Bible proves its own authority. When God unfolds the Bible to us, we who are simple come to receive and understand it (Psalm 119:130).
2. The Bible, the Absolute Word of God, Judges All Things
Only the Bible can determine all heresies. Heresies are not determined by the arguments of men nor the number of its followers, but only through the Bible that acts as a mirror. The religious reformers, who criticized the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages and started the religious reformation, judged by the Word of God alone.
First, the reformers used only the Word of God to condemn the false theology of Catholicism. Catholicism permits the worship of Mary and countless other saints as divine beings. But even Mary, let alone other saints, must also believe in Jesus in order to receive salvation. Isn’t that why Jesus referred to Mary as "woman" on the cross (John 19:26)?
Second, the reformers used only the Word of God to condemn the false view of humanity in Catholicism. Catholicism claims that man is inherently righteous. But mankind is completely corrupt, a complete fallen being. Jeremiah 10:14-15 records, "Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge". Romans 3:10-12 refers to Psalms 14:1-3 and 53:1-3 ("none are righteous") and Romans 3:23, 5:12 state that all men are sinners. It is clearly recorded in many other verses that after Adam’s fall, all of mankind are sinners (Jer 17:9; Psalm 51:5, 144:8; Hab 2:4; Rom 1:25, 6:6, 7:18; Eph 2:3, 4:22-24; Job 15:14).
Third, the reformers used only the Word of God to condemn the false christology in Catholicism. Catholicism teaches that there are many ways to receive forgiveness of sins. They believe in false christology and atonement, such as Monday Saint, Tuesday Saint and Wednesday Saint. Forgiveness of sins does not have anything to do with dates and days of the week like Monday or Tuesday. The authority for the forgiveness of sins belongs to Jesus Christ alone. Christianity only believes in Jesus Christ. There is no salvation apart from Him. The verse of Romans 1:17, "But the righteous man shall live by faith," brought Martin Luther to his feet and started the religious reformation on October 31, 1517. Our righteousness is only attained by faith (Rom 9:30). The Catholic claim that salvation and the forgiveness of sins is a result of our actions, is a sin that distorts and denies the Word of God.
Fourth, the reformers used only the Word of God to condemn the false ecclesiology of Catholicism. Catholicism holds the belief that the church on this earth is without fault or blame. But is a church truly blameless? A church is a spiritual bathhouse where sinners come to wash away their dirty sins and to understand and believe the Word. Only Christ is the head of this church (1 Cor 6:15; Eph 1:22-23, 4:12, 5:23; Col 1:18).
Fifth, the reformers used only the Word of God to condemn the false view of this life in Catholicism. Catholics do not believe in hell and claim universalism. They believe that those who have died without believing may go to hell, but can be moved to heaven immediately if the surviving family members do good deeds. However there are 40 places in the Bible that state that God will judge according to one’s faith, according to one’s deeds (Matthew 16:27 and Romans 2:6-7). Is this a lie? The Catholics of the Middle Ages were the ones to lie, saying that families of the deceased move their loved ones to heaven by giving offering. The money from these lies constructed cathedrals. Even if a church is built on top of all sorts of treasures like silver and gold, it must not be established by crushing the Bible. The church cannot precede the Word of God, for the church must only exist under the Word.
Sixth, the reformers used only the Word of God to condemn the incorrect view of the Bible within Catholicism. Christianity holds the belief that only the sixty-six books of the Bible are the Word of God. Catholicism, however, believes that the apocrypha are also part of the Bible. The Apocrypha are merely records of stories passed down, detailing the traditions and lifestyles of humankind. But Catholics use the excuse of tradition to claim that the apocrypha is the same as the Bible. Not only are they equating church traditions to the Bible, but they are prioritizing it more than the Bible.
The Bible is the only Word of God that was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The church is not founded on traditions but on the Bible, the Word of God alone. We must find ourselves, the church, our parents and ancestors only within the Word of God, which is the Bible.
3. The Bible alone is the absolute Word of God, meaning only the kerygma movement must be used to understand its meaning
"Kerygma" refers to the proclaimed sermons of the Word of God. The Greek word "kerygma" contains the the archetypal fundamental meaning of "to spread, to evangelize, to preach." This is why all churches must be engraved once again with the Word of God. God protects His saints who have the Word of God with the fire of the Holy Spirit, and He keeps Satan from getting a foothold. God is our only shield, our refuge and our protector.
Bring back what was lost of the Word of God. Find it and store it in your houses of faith. Apostle Paul, who gave his all for the evangelical movement by preaching, taught anything that was profitable without reluctance (Acts 20:20). He considered it his mission to spread the Word, and did not consider his life of any account as dear to himself (Acts 20:24). He sternly commanded his beloved son of faith, Timothy, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Tim 4:1-2) and testified to the congregation in Corinth, saying, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel" (1 Cor 9:16).
Jesus was physically born from the line of David, but was spiritually "declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness" (Rom 1:2-4). We are of the flesh, but were saved completely by Jesus, who came to us by the spirit of holiness, with both humanity and divinity. Jesus came to us in complete humanity and spoke to men with human lips. This Word is the eternal Word. It is the Word that does not see death (John 6:68; 1 John 2:25). Jesus Himself is the living Word, the eternal Word of Life (John 1:1, 14). We must believe that we can transcend the period of 2000 years and meet Jesus everyday through this recorded Word.
How can we not long for this Word? I felt this when writing the History of Redemption series. When I was praying in Mt. Jiri, I could not even see ahead of me for eight months, because the clouds were thick with thunder and lightning. But as I prayed at night and read the Bible during the day, I was able to see the hidden messages in the Bible through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. While reading the Bible, I learned Hebrew and Greek on my own through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Each time I came to understand God's hidden message inside the Bible, I danced with joy.
Logos, the Word of God is the recorded Word that is living. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word is living and active. You cannot stay still if you receive this Word. Even newborns wiggle and move. They cannot grow if you force them to be still by binding them tightly. Movement is a sign of life. When we receive the Word, we must not stay still. The recorded Word moves. The Bible is the living Word, the sword of the Holy Spirit, a cold glass of water for the thirsty. I cannot help but dance when I read the Bible because my heart is so glad. The heart is refreshed and you are glad and fresh (Acts 3:19). You will not be thirsty (John 4:14, 6:35). That is why the Bible is the impetus for the movement of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is true, the support for the kerygma movement.
We are able to meet God through the Bible. This Word of God is near us right now. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the triune God, is with us here as the recorded Word through the Holy Spirit. The 33 years of Jesus' incarnation on this earth is recorded in the Old and New Testament. It does not end there, however; Jesus continues to be with us even today. I urge you to believe that He is with us through the written Bible.
Let us conclude.
All nations are subjects of the gospel movement (Matt 24:14). Since the fall of Adam, it is our responsibility as mankind to spread and proclaim the gospel wherever we go. We must bring it to others, whether or not they believe. The gospel movement requires "faith" (Acts 16:31) and promises "eternal life" (John 3:16). It will bring back those who were lost (Matt 18:14). This gospel movement progresses only through prayer and the Word of God. I pray that the living and active Word of God will continue its movement of the gospel through us, chasing away darkness and bringing reformation of light.
Sermon by Huisun Rev. Abraham Park during 2nd service on Lord’s Day, August 29, 2010