“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17)
Your employer decides what time you begin and end work. He tells you what to do and the way he wants it done. Parents let their children know what they expect from them. Coaches teach their players and then decide who plays where, or if they play at all. Government powers make and impose laws on their citizens. These examples show how the will of some may override the wishes and thoughts of others.
You may not agree with someone in charge, but their position gives them the right to decide. In the same manner Paul talks about the “will of the Lord”, so we see that Jesus wants us to know and do something. And from other passages we learn that He has all authority and the right to impose His Will. (Matt. 28:18-20) We may not always agree with Him, but Christ has the right to decide.
Inspired Scriptures make known the Lord’s Will and they give us all we need to please Him. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) Jesus also promised to send the Holy Spirit to the apostle, to guide them “into all truth.” (John 16:13) Unfortunately, not everyone believes this simple fact.
Consider the following quote from Cardinal James Gibbons in The Faith of Our Fathers. “A rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice.” So to them, the Bible is not enough to save man. They believe the church must step in to continue God’s revelation. For me, I will take what Jesus said over a corrupt theology and church.
Some say the Bible is just too deep or confusing to understand, but this is wrong. They do not believe we can do what God says we must. In writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul said “When you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ….” (Eph. 3:4) Mr. Gibbons does not believe Paul. Notice what he said in The Faith of Our Fathers. “A competent religious guide must be clear and intelligible to all, so that everyone may fully understand the true meaning of the instructions it contains. Is the Bible a book intelligible to all? Far from it; it is full of obscurities and difficulties not only for the illiterate, but even for the learned.” So the Catholic Church has set itself up as the sole interpreter and guardian of truth. It decides what part of Scriptures are important, what to change, and what to ignore. They believe their rulings and traditions carry equal force with the God’s Word. I will take what the Bible says over some man or institution.
Catholicism is not the only religious body to add their own creeds to what the Bible says. Some hold church meetings to decide what is right and wrong for their members. They do not hesitate to change God’s message by adding to or taking out what they do not like. Again, the idea behind all of this is the Bible is not enough.
I often wonder, what more could the Holy Spirit say or disclose if He revealed all truth to the apostles? If He did not reveal all truth, then why didn’t He, because Jesus said he would? For those who believe the Bible is inadequate, they need to answer these two questions. I do not think they can and at the same time stay faithful to God’s Word. You see the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit did exactly what Christ said he would do. (1 Cor. 2:10-13) So the real problem is not with the Bible, but with people following their own wants and biases.
Paul implies it is unwise for anyone to not understand the Lord’s Will. It is simple, without spiritual understanding salvation is out of our reach. Speaking about lost Gentiles, Paul said “having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart….” (Eph. 4:18)
Paul also said to Timothy, “you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) By understanding God’s Word we learn what He wants us to do. We come to know how to live and what not to do to receive heaven. The Bible is God’s power to save, not some creed or catechism from man. In fact, when we follow man’s wisdom and traditions over Scriptures, we empty the power God’s power. (Mark 7:5-13)
“Do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” God has given the information we need for salvation, and He has created us so we can understand. So I close with the words of Paul, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)