Commentary By Robert DeWitt
For some time this writer has had concerns about unbalanced Christianity, where some believers make much over one truth of the Word of God and neglect others. Some Christians think that praising the Name of the Lord is the sum of the Christian life, and give little thought to church truth, spiritual life, and the way of redemption. Other believers only see a gospel endeavor as the work of faithful service, and care little for obedience to the Word. One needs to also discern those apostates who come pretending to be Christian, but not born of the Spirit and know not Christ. They will teach "damnable heresies" (2 Pet.2:1) and scramble the Word of God.
It is so sad to see extremism within God's testimony---some Christians setting forth ordinances and a rigid interpretation of one or two verses and caring less for the rest. Other professed believers are more concerned about having a social club with various activities and entertainment. Some carnal saints and their unconverted friends are occupied with certain social causes or works, and have great zeal for political activities. It is a shameful testimony before the world.
When we are devoted to the Lord, and consider "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) and can be "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (II Tim.2:15) as God has said, we can then be in conformity to the mind and will of God. It is necessary that readers not take verses out of context and build some doctrine on it. There cannot rightly be contradictions in the Word of God, so then it should be manifest that any ministry that denies or excludes, or runs contrary to other plain truth is an error. One sure way to properly understand verses of Scripture is to compare it with all others, for the Word must be in complete harmony and balanced from the beginning to the end. One needs to understand who is speaking, to whom is he speaking, what is he speaking, where is this happening, when is it occurring, and why is it recorded---who, what, where, when, why, will often reveal the truth of it. The Word is our only authority, not the religious ideas and innovations of men.
Neglecting Bible study and obedience to God's Word, and preaching one-sided truth, diminishes the whole and is unbalanced and harmful. This often happens within a church group when they set up a carnal Christian (or perhaps a non-believer) as their leader, and abdicate the priesthood of all "born again" saints (as 1 Pet. 2: 5 & 9). If he does not know the Bible, he can only keep preaching about activities or a single theme to keep his prominent place. Even in fundamental church groups the so-called Bible studies are often only a sermon on some subject of Scripture, rather than a progressive study through the Book by the gathered saints there.
Saints of God need to see all that is given for Redemption, which includes more than the gospel message of salvation. Church truth includes God's collective testimony in the world for His people in obedience for unity and His glory, our gathering together, our pathway; the Lord's table and worship locally, the doctrines of Christ, God's government within, etc. Spiritual life is more than our personal joy and comfort, and speaks of honor to the Lord, devotion, the leading of the Holy Spirit, charity to all, etc. These are essential for Christian balance.
These things all account for much of the failure and trouble among the saints today; and together with a rebellious spirit of pride, religious ideas, and individual preferences, many go astray; and many other dear saints are confused and stumbled. There will be a day of accountability. Woe unto those who dishonor and oppose the Lord, for "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:26-31). Ministers will have to answer for what and how they have ministered.
Christian study includes the whole of the Bible, recognizing creation and God's ways and purposes; God's dealings with man, the Old Testament worthies, the nation of Israel, and prophecies; and all historical events, which are for our learning (see Rom.15:4). As to the Christian life, however, we ought to appreciate that real Christian experience embraces the Person of the Christ and His redemption way, church truth, and spiritual life---all at the same time (John 14:6). To this we must add: "the greatest of these is charity" (1 Cor.13:1-13), which is divine love---to God and all men. - R. DeWitt, GB04; 2005; rev. 1/07