The Sufficiency of Scripture in a Culture of Selfies

Sola scriptura is one of the five solas, which were the war cries of the Protestant Reformation. The term is latin for, ‘scripture alone’. It was one of the central doctrines held by the reformers and many evangelicals to this day that hold fast to the  authenticity of Scripture. It is the truth that the Word of God, governed by the Holy Spirit, is all that is needed to open the eyes of the lost and bring people to saving faith in Christ.

It is the reality that the scriptures are their own interpreter, and nothing on the part of man is needed to be added to them in order to make them more effective.  In short, it is the Word of God that brings people to faith. And it is the Holy Spirit’s working in the heart of man through the knowledge of the scriptures that keeps them eternally.

One of the major battles of the reformers in the early 1500’s was over the sufficiency of the scriptures. At the time, the church in Rome was taking away from the scriptures and adding their own doctrine of works to them. They didn’t teach by grace alone through faith alone are you saved.

Rather, an element of works was added to their doctrine. Particularly in the form of the selling of indulgences. The church would sell indulgences to the people as a means of penance for their sins, and as a reduction of time spent in purgatory, which is another false teaching all together.

And in the midst of this great apostasy, the Lord used men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox and many others as a mega phone to cry out truth and stand firm on the authority of the scriptures.

The reformers were used of God to bring the culture back to the knowledge of the sufficiency of Scripture. They exposed the false doctrines of the Catholic church and shattered the teaching of adding works to the Gospel. And with them came light in a period of darkness.

The Protestant Reformation continues even to this day. Now perhaps more than ever, the church needs men standing on the authority of Scripture to cry out against the pervasive myths that are infiltrating protestantism at large. Our culture is in need of a reformation just as much as it was in the days of the original reformers.

Only today, it is not only Roman Catholicism that seems to pervert the doctrine of sola scriptura, it is secular humanism. It is religious cultural fads that become a normal part of our American society that are leading people away from the Gospel in droves.

And one of the biggest platforms, aside from the pulpit, that seems to be leading people away from Biblical orthodoxy and into man centered heresy is social media. Professing Christians would predominantly agree to the teaching of sola scripture.

They would agree to the statement that the Word of God is all that is needed to sustain the believer. Yet some of the most popular social media postings of professing Christians looks more like witch craft than true Christianity.

Sadly it is more common to see a social media post that leans more towards mysticism with a little Jesus sprinkled in rather than posting the Word of the Lord. Chain messages and internet pictures of Jesus arm wrestling Satan with the tag line, “If you love Jesus repost, and if you don’t just ignore” have replaced our belief in sola scriptura. It is as if our present day evangelical culture has come to believe that salvation can be lost or gained by merely posting a picture of Jesus.

Jesus is not looking down from Heaven waiting for you to affirm to the world your love for Him by typing “AMEN” in the comments under the post. And Jesus is not planning to shower your life with blessings simply because you shared a picture of a man dressed like Him that in all honesty looks more like a Star Wars Jedi than Jesus.

Our culture is more obsessed with promoting self (as seen in our overwhelming obsession with posting selfies) than with promoting God. That is clearly seen in social media posts that seek to gain things from God rather than to know God Himself.

Satan has used the most popular tool of 21st century communication which is social media to water down the Gospel. And it is no different than the people in the time of the Reformation believing that purchasing an indulgence would make them more favorable in the sight of God.

Our love for Jesus is not shown through responding to a post that says, “Type YES for Jesus and NO for Satan.” If we desire to know how we show God that we love Him, we let the scripture be our guide, not Facebook.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35.

“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” John 14:21.

Our love for Christ is shown through our love for others, and through our obedience to His commands. The greatest command is to love the Lord God with all of your heart, mind, and strength. And the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:36-40). Matthew writes that in these two commands, all of the laws of God can be fulfilled.

So in order to both exalt Christ to the utmost as well as love our neighbor as ourselves, we must ask two questions. First, what is it that God desires more than anything. Answer; His own glory.

For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” Isaiah 48:9-11.

Secondly, what is the greatest need of our neighbor. Answer; to know the one true living God and the depths and riches of His glory.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
 at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

It is not wrong or sinful for God to desire that we glorify Him above all, because the greatest and most fulfilling thing in the universe is God Himself. So God’s desire to be glorified is intricately tied to our greatest good. It would be unloving for God to withhold the privilege of glorifying Him from us, because only in Him can the fullness of joy be found.

Therefore, if what pleases God most is His glory, and if the greatest need of our neighbor is to know Christ, then what is the most loving thing we could do for God and people?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19.

Our highest calling on this side of Heaven is to be a Royal Priesthood. To share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. And sharing the Gospel goes much deeper than sharing a raise your hand for Jesus post. These efforts are shallow and powerless when it comes to proclamation.

Only the Word of God can pierce the hard hearts of men. Scripture alone has the ability to open the eyes of those who are lost in spiritual darkness. Only the preaching of the Word can bring about true regeneration.

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:14.

In Nehemiah chapter 8, Ezra did not tell the people to sign a paper saying they loved the Lord and then pass it on to their neighbor. Ezra opened the Word of the Lord to share with everyone, and their hearts were supernaturally opened to worship in Spirit and truth.

Social media has become one of the most effective and far reaching ways of communicating in our world today. And it can be a powerful tool for reaching others for Jesus Christ. But in order to do that, the truth of scripture must be proclaimed, and in our 21st century social media context…posted. Scripture alone is all that is needed to reach the masses with the Gospel and transform our society from a culture with a love for selfies into one that has a love for scripture.  Give them truth through the Word of God.

Sola Scriptura.

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