Life is a series of standards that we set for ourselves or another has set for us. The United States of America runs on the standard of the U.S. Constitution. We are considered a country of laws that apply to all of the citizens. Your employer has a set of standards that every employee is expected to know and follow.
Generally, standards are set to help achieve objectives and goals. The goal of the Constitution can be seen in the preamble, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Why did the founders of our country sit down and work out a written constitution? In order to meet the goals they set for this new country. They simply made a decision to write a document that would set a standard so that the people of the country could achieve the goal of having justice, enjoying domestic tranquility, being secure in their own country, a government that would promote the welfare of all the people, and a government that would not interfere with the blessings of a free people.
Even when we were men and women of the world we set standards within our own lives. Some decided they were willing to do whatever it took to get what they personally wanted in life. Thus establishing a standard of selfishness and self-centered living. Others made the decision to always do things that would help and aid another person, thus setting standards they felt would be beneficial for all. Some have set a standard of hard work, while others set a standard of doing as little as possible.
The standards that we hold personally set the rules and the ethic by which we live and engage in daily activities. Once a person becomes a Christian, he needs to set a new standard concerning the Word of God. For the believer who desires to renew his mind the Bible must become the standard, his only rule of believing and practice. The goal of renewing the mind cannot be accomplished without the Bible as the standard.
The standard for Truth will never be what your denomination teaches. Nor what your local minister teaches. Nor what feels right. Nor what your parents taught you is right. Nor what looks good in the public eye. For a believer, the only standard and source for Truth is the Word of God.
This does not preclude receiving knowledge and instruction from other sources than the Bible. But it dictates that everything that is presented to you must be seen in the Bible before it can be declared to be the Truth of God.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
The Word of God is the critic between what is the Truth and what is a lie. The Light of God's Word will reveal any deception that is being passed off as spiritual insight and understanding.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word of God can separate between soul and spirit. Soul here is the figure of speech metonymy whereby soul is put for the natural man. The Greek word is psuche and refers to the entire natural man, his mind [nous], his heart [kardia], and his conscience [sunideesis]. The Word of God can show you the line dividing the natural man and the new man. The Word will show you the source of the knowledge, or information, you want to act upon or are being asked to act upon.
Next weekend you go to a local church and the minister there is teaching on the necessity of water baptism. Is it in the Bible? Should you receive water baptism if you haven't already?
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Is water baptism in the Bible? Yes. Do you need to be baptized in water for your salvation? No. John's baptism was addressed to Israel and not the Church of the Body in the Administration of Grace. Is it against God's Word to water baptize someone in the Administration of Grace? No. It only becomes a problem when a minister or denomination requires water baptism for salvation. Then it is against God's Word.
Another minister might focus on verse six and teach you must confess your sins or you can't be saved. Again, this teaching wouldn't hold up to the standard of the Word of God as a source for Truth pertaining to the Administration of Grace.
The adversary quoted the Bible when he tempted Jesus Christ in the wilderness. Using words from the Word of God does not guarantee Truth, the words must be handled rightly, accurately.
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The Pharisees demonstrated that simply speaking words from the Bible did not make what they said the Truth. The Word of God must be rightly divided. That means you need to know and understand administrations and apply God's Word correctly.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Israel had a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. Principally the same can be said for most of Christianity today. Many ministers mean well and are very sincere but they are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and have made the Word of God of none effect by their teaching. Teaching believers in the Administration of Grace doctrine that is addressed to Israel is handling the Word of God incorrectly.
Some will read these verses in Romans and go on to proclaim we must follow the ten commandments. The logic is that Christ only ended the dietary laws and the ritual laws but not the ten commandments. They teach these things because that is what their denomination has taught. But the Mosaic Law, or the Law received by Moses, includes the dietary, the rituals, and the commandments. Romans doesn't say, "Christ was an end to those parts of the Law you don't want to follow but not to the other parts you feel like following." God didn't give mankind permission to re-write His book.
If you want to follow the Law then stop eating ham! Start sacrificing a lamb of the first year, and bullocks, and turtle doves, and so on. If you want to follow the Law then follow the whole Law.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
If you want to do the Law, then you must do the whole thing. Which would include dying for your own sins. But since we are all sinners, our sacrifice would not accomplish salvation because the sacrifice was to be a lamb without spot or blemish! Christ is an end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes because Christ fulfilled the Law.
Either the Word of God means what it says or it doesn't. If it doesn't, then throw the book away and join the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and all the others who worshiped the rocks, and the trees, and the sun, and the moon, and anything that didn't ran away from them (and even a few things that did run away)!
If a believer is going to make the Word of God his standard for Truth then he is going to have to believe that the Word of God has integrity. If what my denomination has said, if what my parents have said, if what my professor has said, if what the cynics of the world have said, carries more weight and more authority then God's Word, then you have not made the Word of God your standard for Truth.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Knowing this FIRST, not second, third, or never. No private interpretation. God is not asking for any person's review of the book He has Authored. We are not the critics of the Word, the Word is the critic of our thoughts and actions.
Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the holy spirit. We believe it is possible for an executive to dictate a letter to his secretary but we find it impossible for the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and everything that is in them, to work within a person to write what He wants written.
The Word of God didn't come by the will of man. Moses didn't sit down one day and decide to write this elaborate story about an invisible God. Hosea wasn't mad at his wife so he decided to write a letter to the world that she was sleeping around town. John wasn't on acid when he wrote the book of Revelation.
Christianity has a hard time accepting the Bible as THE Word of God because of the mindset God's adversary has introduced to the world. It's a book of stories and fables passed down from generation to generation and we have all played the game of telephone, sending a message around the room. We all also know how that game ends. What is your standard for Truth? The thoughts coming from the world or what God has declared in His Word? Which line of logic do you choose to stand with, paristemi? That is your current standard.
God, who is Spirit, inspired men who had His gift of spirit and they wrote as God worked within them. How does Daniel write four hundred and ninety years before the birth of Christ exactly when Christ will be born? A good guess or did God work within him? How does Daniel interpret the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, telling him that his kingdom will be taken over by the Persians, and that the Persians will be taken over by the Greeks, and that the leader of the Greeks will die and his kingdom will be split into four kingdoms? The Greeks weren't even around, as a power in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, let alone Alexander, whose kingdom, upon his death, split among his top four generals.
Far too often Christianity has been its own worst enemy as its leaders have proclaimed Biblical accounts as stories and myths only told to prove a point. Christian leadership has propounded a lack of integrity for the words of God while demanding its followers "believe" the Bible as these leaders see it. You can't really have it both ways.
The Bible belongs to no one person, nor to any particular denomination. The Bible is God's book, He is the Author.
If studied the Bible proves itself. We are all familiar with the O.J. Simpson trial and the phrase, "If it don't fit, you must acquit." The logic was how perfectly a hand fits into a glove. When you buy gloves for yourself, you try them on, you test their fit before you pay for them and walk out of the store. Well, there is another saying about a glove that concerns the Bible, "It fits like a hand in a glove."
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
God is not a man that He should lie. He has integrity. He means what He says, and does what He declares. If God has spoken it, He'll make it good. You can count on it! God is as good as His Word, that is why it comes to pass when it is believed.
What I write or teach, what another writes or teaches, concerning the Bible can be done in all sincerity and honesty. And can still be completely wrong. The standard for Truth for every Christian has to be the Word of God. We are to hold everything up to the Light of the Word to see if it is true or false.
Many men and women have studied the Word of God and have taught awesome, and wonderful, and accurate things from the Bible. We can, and should, learn from all of them. But in order to learn from them we must always bring it back to the Word itself and separate the Truth from the error. Being sincere doesn't count when it comes to your spiritual walk with God. You can be very sincerely interested when you walk up to a heavy set woman and ask when the child is due, but if she isn't pregnant, your sincerity will not make for a time of great fellowship. We want to know and understand the Word of God so that we can walk with Him in fellowship, as Father and child.
We can have many sources for knowledge and learning but we can only have one standard for Truth. We can have many standards pertaining to different areas of our lives but we can only have one standard for Truth.
The standard we set for ourselves becomes the foundation of our reasoning.
And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
The "they" is Jesus and the twelve.
And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
These rulers that came to Jesus questioned his authority. An authority they saw as theirs alone and to whosoever they appointed. These rulers were known as the sandhedrim, meaning the chosen seventy elders and rulers of Israel dating back to the days of Moses when he appointed elders to help him rule the nation of Israel.
John Gill commented concerning this section of scripture, "The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "this thing"; as if the sanhedrim only referred to his preaching the Gospel, which is mentioned in the preceding verse, and was what he was about when they came to him: but the Persic version reads, "all these things"; not only preaching, but working miracles; and particularly driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, which especially affected them, they losing their rents thereby:"
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
The word "reasoned" in verse 31 is the Greek word logizomai. Logizomai is our reasoning, our manner of thinking. Our reasoning is how we respond to all the five senses information that is received into the nous. Your logic pattern, or manner of reasoning is based upon the standard(s) you have set. Your reasoning will determine what senses information you dwell upon. It is your reasoning that will move some of the senses information from the nous into the kardia.
These religious leaders had a logic pattern, or a system of reasoning, but it was not based upon the Word of God as it should have been. If they had reasoned with the words of God, they would have recognized Jesus as The Messiah. Instead, they based their reasoning upon their standards of personal profit, lost money from the money changers Jesus threw out of the Temple, and self-preservation in that they feared the people because of their response to John the Baptist.
Nothing is wrong with having multiple standards. The standard for care of my vehicle is my car's owner's manual. A mechanic's standard for repairing my car is the Chilton Repair Manual. The standard for the taxes I pay is the United States Tax Code. We have different standards for different areas of our lives. The problem enters when we have more than one standard for Truth . The only standard for Truth is the Word of God. If a Christian has any other standard for Truth than the Word of God, that Christian will never walk with a renewed mind.
Our reasoning dictates what will stay fixed in our nous. Tell Stephen Hawking that God created the heavens and he will not even consider your statement. Why, because his standard is mathematics and his reasoning is closed to the Creator God.
Stephen Hawking states, " Before we understood science, it was natural to believe God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation." Mr. Hawking has set his standard and there is no room for God in the creation. In a separate interview in The Guardian he speaks of heaven and an afterlife as a fairy story for those afraid of the dark. He's wrong in this regard, Christians aren't afraid of the dark, we just don't want to live in the dark.
God has given each of us freedom of will and Mr. Hawking has exercised his freewill to remove God to the point he describes himself as an atheist. But is the Christian any better off in this life if he sets a man or men as his standard?
1 Corinthians 3:3-7
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
For a Christian it is never about a man or men, it's about God. You may appreciate the style of one teacher over another but the heart of the matter is the Word of God that is held forth. When we set our standard as God's Word all of these carnal issues become irrelevant. Once our standard for Truth is set, our reasoning will follow.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The word "think" is the Greek word logizomai. How will you reason with these things if the Word of God is not your standard?
2 Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
"Imaginations" is the Greek word logismos, the masculine noun of logizomai. "Thought" is the Greek word noema, the neuter noun of nous. The world has a massive amount of knowledge that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The world has many ways of reasoning that declare themselves more logical and beneficial then reasoning with the logic God provides. We are instructed to cast these things down and bring our mind into line with Christ.
When the world declares it is every man for himself, we are to cast that logic down. When a minister declares you are sinful and going to hell, we are to cast that logic down. God has justified you according to Romans, that is our standard, that is how we reason. Christ himself has shown us every man for himself only leads to chaos and greed, for he walked forth in the love of God, not self-love.
1 Corinthians 13:5
Doth not behave itself [context is speaking of the love of God] unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
While defining what is the love of God we have this verse in 1 Corinthians. The word "thinketh" is again logizomai. A Christian with a renewed mind doesn't reason with evil but with the love of God.
Abortion is murder! Thus consideration of a woman's free will decision will never get to your heart because you have discounted the information the moment you heard it. By your standard you have set up the reasoning to view the woman who has had an abortion as a murderer. Yet, is it controlling your mind with the words of God? One of these two thoughts is not of God. Either abortion is murder or it is a woman's choice. Which thought is exalting itself against the knowledge of God?
The renewed mind sets God's Word as the standard for Truth. Then when Truth is seen, the mind and lifestyle are changed to what God has declared in His Word. It's not about your denomination's doctrine, nor your personal doctrine, or personal feelings. What does God say on the subject?
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.