Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 11, 1982
NUMBER 23, PAGE 4-5b



The article appearing on the front page in this issue, "You Can Understand The Bible" by Robert Welch is being put into tract form, and constitutes another in the series of our "Tract-of-the-Month" service. Single copies of this fine tract can be had for 15 cents each; and they can be ordered in quantities of one hundred or more at ten cents per copy. Address all orders to Gospel Guardian, Box 980, Lufkin, Texas.

"Luther's Text"

"Forever, 0 Lord, thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119: 89) This declaration had such a profound effect on Martin Luther that it became known as "Luther's text." He had it written in charcoal on the walls of his room, and even embroidered on the dress of his servants. It is a text which needs to be impressed deeply into the heart and understanding of every person today who would serve God.

The changes taking place within our world these last few years have been so rapid and so awesome as to leave widespread confusion and bewilderment in their wake. Governments and institutions which had endured for centuries have been toppled and destroyed; kingdoms have been founded and destroyed within a decade; scientific concepts accepted since the dawn of history have been shown to be false and untenable; religious and moral values have been questioned, denied, and entire new concepts in both philosophy and religion have swept the world almost overnight. It is a time of chaos — political chaos, mental confusion, and moral conflict. And it is time when the heart of man desperately needs to know that some things, at least, are "settled forever in heaven"!

If God's word is indeed "settled in heaven," then the man who accepts it has something eternally stable and secure to which he can anchor his life. The ephemeral and ethereal circumstances of the world, or of this world's creatures, are of only passing interest. He is intrigued, but not enthralled, by humanity's achievements, whether they be on this earth, in space, or even in outer space. The service of God and man's relationship to him is infinitely more important and significant than even the most spectacular conquest of the kingdoms of men or the reaches of the heavens.

If God's word be "settled," there can be no area In which world opinion or world revolution can change it. If more than three billion people living on the earth today should unanimously agree to accept baptism for the remission of sins, that would make such baptism not one whit more the word of God than unanimous agreement to reject it would make it less the word of God. It is "settled" in heaven, regardless of humanity's acceptance or rejection of it. In all matters of spiritual or moral interest, there is such a thing as truth — real, objective, and certain. It is not subject to change or influenced by human manipulations.

Members of the Lord's church would do well to ponder this The truth or falsity of any teaching is not established by popular acceptance or rejection of it. It is "settled in heaven," for example, whether a childless man can ever qualify as an elder in the church; it is established in eternal fact whether a cooperative work of several congregations under a single eldership is acceptable to God; it is absolutely true, or it is absolutely false, that an alien sinner can be baptized in harmony with God's will without knowing that such baptism is in order to the remission of his sins. In heaven a "yes" or a "no" Is settled on each of these matters. On earth it behooves man only to seek to "know the certainty" of that which he has believed or practiced relative to these questions and to all others having to do with our service of God.

Fortunately, the Bible as we have it is a "revelation" to humanity of that word of God which is "settled in heaven." God's will is made known through God's word. And God's word is given to man in such language, thoughts, ideas, examples and applications as man can understand (see Brother Welch's splendid article on that subject in this issue). If man can understand God s word, then it follows as certain that man Is obligated to obey it. No matter how great may be the pressures, how subtle the ratiocination that would lead to a deviation from the truth, each man is to be judged according to the divine standard — that word which is "settled in heaven" and now "once for all delivered unto the saints."

There is one course, and only one that is safe. Ezra, the great hero of the restoration, had the right idea when he "set his heart to seek the law of Jehovah, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and ordinances." (Ezra 7:10) God's law can be known; that law is "settled In heaven"; and men must do it and teach it to be acceptable before him.

— F. Y. T.