Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”
Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.”
1 Peter 1:25 says, “But the word of the Lord remains forever. This word is the good news that was preached to you.”
The Bible is filled with statements speaking to the enduring nature of the word of God. It is filled with warnings against tampering with it. It is filled with examples of destruction following those who are flippant with it.
In the Bible, God has given us something that will endure forever and something that doesn’t need amending.
People have tried to amend it for centuries.
They have tried to amend it by elevating certain passages to a degree that have negated other passages. Others have flat out lied and said that they speak for God while contradicting things that are revealed in the word. Others have invented phrases that sound good and that people have accepted with such passion that they throw out what the Bible clearly says.
Think of this example: “Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.”
So many people hold this phrase as the instructions for what someone needs to do to be saved. The problem is, this phrase is not found anywhere in the Bible.
No one is ever told to accept Jesus as their personal lord
In fact, when I turn over to Matt 7:21-23, I find a bunch of people that have “accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior” yet are still lost.
This phrase popped up on the scene when people began to teach that the church is not essential to salvation, which is also a doctrine foreign to scripture.
Jesus is the savior of the church (Eph 5:23; Col 1:17). No one will be saved outside of it. Instead of following this phrase that can’t be found in scripture, we would be much wiser to listen to Jesus and actually “Do the will of my Father.”
“Accept Jesus” has a first cousin named, “Ask Jesus into your heart.” While it sounds like a wonderful statement, the Bible never says that we need Jesus to come into us.
Rather, we need to come into Christ.
It is in Christ that his spiritual blessings are found (Eph 1:3-14). Not in us.
Not only have there been inventions like these, but there have also been those who have actually changed what the word of God says.
For example, I was in a Bible study with someone recently. We were in 1 Peter 3:21. This passage says, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Upon reading this passage, the student abruptly asked, “Are you telling me I need to be baptized?” I responded, “I am not telling you to do anything. What does that verse say?” This individual said, “I know what it says, but I just don’t believe it.”
There was a debate a few months ago on the issue of baptism. During the cross examination, a question was asked to the man who denied baptism. This was the question:
Which of these two statements is true? 1) “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved” or 2) “He that believes is saved and then is baptized.”
The man responded by saying that the second option is correct. The mind-blowing problem with that answer is that the first option is a direct quote from Mark 16:16.
Then another question was asked surrounding 1 Peter 3:21:
Which of these statements are true? 1) “Baptism does now also save us” or 2) “Baptism does not also save us.”
Again, the man responded by saying something that goes against precisely what the Bible says.
James 1:21 says we need to receive the word of God with meekness. This means we hear it with an open heart in such a way that we will simply obey its teachings instead of trying to change it or alter it.
The word of God will save our soul.
But not the altered or amended word of God.
We must be careful how we hear (Luke 8:18).
If we don’t approach the word of God in this pure and honest way, we will never be “doers of the word,” and we will be deceiving ourselves in our standing with God (James 1:22).
Satan’s oldest trick is to make subtle changes to the word of God (Gen 3). It is still one of his most effective tools. God’s power to save is found in the message (Rom 1:16), but it is not found in a changed or altered message.
Ben Shafer preaches for the LaFollette Church of Christ. He can be emailed at email@example.com.