Did God Really Say?  (Part 2)

God’s Authority in Our Standards

In my last post, we saw how easy it is to question God’s authority and power in our lives, even as believers, leading us to redefine His truth in application.  The question is, then, how does that affect the everyday standards by which we live?

Life Reflects Belief

Our standards of living are grounded in what we believe to be right and wrong. And what we truly believe will not just affect how we live, but will GOVERN how we live.

For example, our belief in gravity affects our choice of actions and expectations.  None of us would jump off a building because of the resulting crash landing that gravity would cause.  When you sit in a chair, you are trusting gravity to hold you on the seat. And when you crack an egg, you put a bowl or pan under it, because you expect the goo to go down and not up.  Everything you choose to do and the results you expect are based on what you really believe.

Our standards as defined by how we live, then, reflect what we really believe. Not what we say we believe, but what we really believe.

If we say that God’s Word is the authority of our lives, then all of our standards for living in all areas of life should be based on what God says.  But are they?

The Problem of “Christian Liberty”

Too often, Christians ignore God’s authority in establishing standards, especially in what we call the “grey areas.”  The rationale is that if there is no strict command or prohibition by God in a certain area, then God must not care what we do in those areas of life, thereby allowing us “liberty in Christ” to make our own decisions in these things.

The problem is that nowhere in Scripture will you find any indication that there are areas of our lives that God does not care about. By defining Christian Liberty as “the freedom to choose absent of God’s preference”  is a gross misinterpretation and application of the freedom we have in Christ.  In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite.

God cares about what we eat, what we drink, how we dress (Matt 6:25-34)—the most “non-spiritual” parts of our physical existence—even to the extent that Christ says to not be concerned with these things, because the “Father knows you have need of them” and He will take care of them for you.

So, if God has promised to supply these most basic needs for subsistence (Phil 4:19), doesn’t that mean that God will choose what is best for us in these areas?  And if God is choosing what is best, doesn’t that mean that he has an opinion about what we should have? Doesn’t the Bible also say that we should acknowledge and consult God in ALL OUR WAYS (Prov 3:5-6)?

Obviously, God does have an opinion about everything we do, or He wouldn’t tell us to come to Him first.  And yet, the majority of Christians do not even consider asking God about His opinion in making decisions in these “inconsequential” areas of their lives. Why?

Because we challenge God’s authority by redefining His truth as we question His power to implement it in our lives.

In other words, it is easier to pretend that God has nothing to say about these matters, than to find out what He says and trust Him to help us to do things His way.

The Danger of Independent Thinking

Unfortunately, although our lack of submission to God’s authority begins by ignoring Him only in the “grey areas,” this independent mindset becomes the foundation of our thinking, and eventually creeps out into other “less-grey” areas of our lives, causing us to question and redefine what “God really said” even to the breaking down of the foundational doctrines of the faith.

This independent thinking (choices made apart from a foundation in Biblical principles) is the Satan’s device to draw us farther and farther from reliance on God’s absolute truth, and it becomes a cancer that eventually destroys our faith and corrupts our choices and lifestyle. This is precisely what Satan used to get Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit, even though she knew EXACTLY what God said.

What starts out as “Christian liberty” (the idea that God doesn’t have a preference) in our choices about things like music and clothing becomes the underlying philosophy that leads to an eventual acceptance of things like ordaining homosexuals to the ministry, as we foster the redefining of God’s truth to greater and greater extents, gradually becoming more and more independent from God’s truth in every area of our living and thinking.

I am sure at this point that there are many of you who are ready to do battle with me over this last statement.  But before engaging in the inevitable debate that is to follow, you must answer this question:

Where in the Bible does God ever say that there are areas of your life in which He does not care what you choose?

Without that foundation to start from, there is no argument you can make against the fact that God does have preferences for EVERY area of your life, especially when the Bible repeatedly commands us to seek Him in ALL our ways.

When it comes down to the standards by which we live our everyday lives (based on what we really believe), either we have chosen to go it alone, trying to redefine God’s definition of holiness to fit our chosen lifestyle apart from His principles of truth, or we are fully and truly submitted to God’s truth as the basis for everything we do, including the “grey areas” like food, music and clothing.

Standards Based in Holiness

At this point, we have to address the elephant in the room:

What DOES God say about specific standards for living based in holiness?

Stay with me and we will get to that next time, using Biblical truth to establish the foundation of how we should live as Christians, even in the “grey areas” of life.

Did God Really Say? (Part 1)


All of us live by standards, even if we don’t want to call them that.

There are certain unwritten guidelines that we have set for ourselves that govern our choices and behavior in different areas of our lives.

Not that many years ago, our American society as a whole used Biblical standards as guidelines for governing what was acceptable and not acceptable. The last six of God’s Ten Commandments were pretty much the rule that society lived by as a standard for morality and ethics in our treatment of others. Even the first four commandments were respected to some degree by the majority of society as an underlying guideline for language and lifestyle.

Yet, it seems that the degeneration of our society over the past 40-50 years has manifested itself in the church as well, even as we decry the departure of society from the basic social and moral values of the Bible.

As a whole, believers and the church have abandoned Biblical authority over our practical living as we succumb to the same challenge to God’s authority that has driven people away from God for millennia.

Questioning God’s Authority

The underlying issue is a challenge to the authority of God.  The question is the same one that the serpent used in Genesis 3 to challenge Eve’s thinking and plant the seed of doubt in her mind about God’s authority over her. It started with a simple but profound question:

“Did God really say…?”

That question has been at the crux of Satan’s attack against God’s truth since the beginning to draw men away from accepting God’s absolute authority in their lives.  It is also the exact question that is at the heart of the degeneration of the church in general, and specifically, the abandonment of holiness as the goal of individual believers in our Christian lives as we question God’s authority in establishing individual standards for living.

When Satan can get believers to question the authority of God in our lives by challenging His message and its application, he has then undermined the entire foundation of the Christian life.

Redefining God’s Truth

Satan’s challenge to Eve was rooted in redefining what God had said– “You won’t really die.” Once she diverted from God’s original intent in His command and application, she was ripe for the picking (pun intended).

Throughout Scripture, God commands His people to be holy, because He is holy and as He is holy (Lev 11:44-45; Lev 19:2; Lev 20:7, 26; I Pet 1:15-16). In the modern day church, however, holiness has been redefined as a movement or ideology rather than an actual lifestyle.  Instead of prioritizing holiness as a command of God for us to become what He wants us to be, we redefine it as an ethereal guideline that keeps us from becoming as sinful as “unregenerates.”

After all, “it is impossible for us as fallible (albeit redeemed) humans to live without sinning, so it is ridiculous to expect that any person, even a saved one, could be as holy as the sinless and perfect God is holy, right?”

With that reasoning, we are right back to the original question: Did God REALLY say that I need to be holy? Surely, He didn’t mean that I need to live without sinning, since that is impossible.

Thus, we have just undermined the authority of God in our lives by questioning His command in trying to redefine its application—exactly like Satan did with Eve.

Questioning God’s Power

Our problem with challenging God’s authority in redefining application is rooted in a doubting of God’s power.

Basically, the argument against absolute holiness comes down to whether God has the ability to keep us from sinning as a believer.

As Christians, we are taught in the Bible that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God (1 Cor 6:19). That means that we have the advantage of having God’s presence with us all the time to help us understand and to do what is right (Rom 8:14). Literally, God is inside of us, telling us how to live—not in generalities, but in specific actions and choices, minute by minute.

So, the question that must be answered is this—would God ever tell us to do something that is sin?  The answer is an obvious “NO.”

The next question is equally as important—is God strong enough to keep us from sinning? 

Your confidence in God’s power determines how you answer this question. If your answer is no, then you have denied the power of God in the life of a believer, undermining the very foundation of your salvation. If you answer yes, then you have just confirmed that the power of God in a believer’s life is literally able to keep us from sinning, thus making possible true holiness.

Then why do we, as believers, sin?  Because we choose to rebel against God’s authority as we redefine His application and doubt His power.

God’s Authority in Our Standards

So, what does all this have to do with our standards?  I’m glad you asked.

But because this post is already longer than I intended,  I will continue to develop this thought in my next post: Did God really Say? (Part 2)

I hope to see you there.