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(Read Part 2)

Randy-WhiteAs we continue considering the need to have the right interpretive grid in order to properly interpret the Bible, we will think in this installment about our need to compare Scripture with Scripture. Only in this way will we be able to come to an accurate understanding of what the text says.

To illustrate this need, let us compare these two passages:

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matt. 5:22)

Now, how can you have eternal life that no one can take away—unless of course you call someone a fool? These do not seem to go together. But what we are going to see is that you can take every Scripture literally—I am convinced—and you will understand it correctly as long as you have the proper interpretive grid and define the terms correctly.

In order to illustrate this need further, we must consider two more passages. Here is the first:

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:20)

That is a frightening little verse because the Pharisees were the picture of righteousness, yet it says that you have to exceed their righteousness or you will not get into heaven.

But let us also consider this second passage:

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit. 3:4-7)

This is the message of grace!D Logo

Now, how do you have a message that appears to be a message of works in Matthew 5:20 and have this message which speaks so strongly of grace in Titus 3:4-7? What we must have is an interpretive grid to help us.

Keeping all these things in mind—before we put them all together—let us consider some more verses. First we see:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7:21-23)

These verses look kind of alarming, do they not? I have called upon the Lord, but it says that not everyone who does so will enter the kingdom of heaven.

But what about these verses?

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom. 10:9, 13)

How do we put all of these passages together? Some people have actually rejected Christianity because they look at the Bible and become skeptical when they do not understand how to fit these truths together. Unfortunately, what we often do in church is give them “Sunday school answers.” We can give a great sermon from any of these verses as long we do not cover more than one of them on the same Sunday—probably not even one week after another.

One week we could preach, “Just leave your seat, leave your sin, trust in Christ right now and we will rejoice that you are saved!” But the next week we could preach Mathew 7:21-23 and someone might say, “I thought I was saved last week, but now I do not know if I am saved this week.” And the skeptic says, “This place just really does not have it together.” In fact, they may even think that Christianity does not have it together. This is one reason why there are so many people who have tasted a little bit of Christianity and rejected it. They were exposed to ideas like this that appear to be contradictions, and the concepts were not properly explained.

I actually love skeptics, and one thing about skeptics is that if we just give them some real answers we can make progress with them. I even hope that some of you are saying, “I have been uncomfortable with the ‘Sunday school answers’ all my life, and this whole discussion is making me more uncomfortable—but I am going to figure this out so that I can stand ready to defend my faith in the future.”

There are a number of other passages that we could look, but first we must realize an essential reality. There really are two basic kinds of interpretive grids for reading the Scriptures. One is called covenant theology. This is by far the most prominent brand of theology or doctrine or interpretive grid today. The other interpretive grid is dispensationalism.

How do understanding these interpretive grids—with terms properly defined and comparing Scripture with Scripture—help us to arrive at the correct interpretation of these difficult verses? We will continue to work toward that answer in our next installment.

Editor’s Note: This blog article is taken from the following sermon, which you can watch in its entirety here:

(Read Part 4)

Copyright © 2016 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.

Scripture taken from the King James Version.