Spurgeon & Joyfully Submitting to the Truth of God’s Infallible Word

It is evident in our culture today that many people are ready and willing to exchange the truth for absurdity. Relativism nicely illustrates the arrogance and egocentrism of human nature. None of us gets to decide what is true. Unless our truth is the truth our truth is a lie erroneously labeled. Should the bank teller honor your substantial withdrawal simply because you self-identify as Jeff Bezos? No. That would be absurd and unfair to Mr. Bezos.

Our culture venerates science, worships it as the source of absolute truth, yet when it comes to transgenderism, culture turns a blind eye to science. It is absurd to suggest that a biological man or woman can declare themselves another gender simply because they desire the change. God has already made a genetic decision for them that cannot be reversed. They are either male or female as Genesis explains.

Additionally, our culture loves the slogan “My body, my choice” when it pertains to murdering children and perhaps sexual identity, but when it comes to vaccinations people seem to change their tune.

All this to say, rejecting the absolute truth of God leads to stunning inconsistencies and absurdities. Isn’t it true that narcissism is the cream inside the relativism donut? Are we so self-absorbed that we actually believe truth is whatever we say it is?

People don’t pay good money for tickets to see a novice and overoptimistic musician pound random notes on the piano and making incoherent and horrendous sounds. Music is beautiful because of the truth of harmony, melody, rhythm, and finesse. Truth makes traveling on the road safe. If travelers drive according to their desires and what they wish was true, there will be carnage on route 283. What can relativism do at a funeral? Wishing someone back cannot reverse the harsh absolute truth of death.

The point is that we do not get to decide what is true. The existence of absolute truth requires us to bow in humble submission. In the case of God’s infallible Scriptures, bowing in humble submission is the pathway to true joy, peace, hope, and contentment, and let me add salvation. There is no salvation from our sin and misery without a complete surrender to the authoritative truth of God’s Word.

Charles Spurgeon was called the “Prince of Preachers.” He pastored New Park Street Chapel, what was later called the Metropolitan Tabernacle, in London for 38 years. He founded a college and charity. His sermons and books were published. He also wrote poetry and hymns. Spurgeon was an exceptional man. In one of his sermons, Spurgeon said this:

Human thought is not the arbiter of Truth, but the Infallible Word is the end of all strife. It is not ours to say what the Truth of God must be, or what we think it should be, or what we would like it to be—but reverently to sit down with open ears and willing heart to receive what God has spoken. If an astronomer were to refuse to examine the stars and teach an astronomy invented in his own brain, he would be an idiot! And those who treat theology in the same fashion are not much better!” [1]

An arbiter is a person who possesses the power to decide a matter. Human reasoning and will do not possess the authority to determine what God’s Word means. Our quest is to follow the Holy Spirit into the true meaning of God’s infallible truth. And this ends the matter. God speaks and the matter is settled. God speaks and we must listen and respond with trust.

We may wish the Bible said something different. We may not like everything it says. We may not understand everything it says. But we are not the arbiters of truth. We do not have the authority to change it. God’s Word has authority over us, has the power to change us, must change us.

Truth can be harsh. God’s law is unforgiving. But God’s law invites us to humbly take our seats, open our ears, and listen to God speak. Through His law, God speaks of righteousness and holiness, two things we do not have in ourselves, and the law condemns all unrighteous people. But law is not the only kind of God-speech. God also speaks gospel. He speaks the righteousness of Christ Jesus the Lord and his cross and resurrection. He speaks of the free gift of salvation which He generously gives to sinners by grace alone through faith alone. True theology transcends human preference or opinion. True theology is what God has revealed in His holy Word. We must not bring our presuppositions to God’s Word, we must allow God’s Word to shape our presuppositions. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and we are not the arbiters of truth. God is the arbiter of truth. Instead, we must come to God’s written Word humbly, bowing in joyful submission to its every letter. To do less is to deny God.

I say joyful submission because submission is not a dirty word. It’s a good word that leads to true joy when applied to Christ and his Word. When we submit ourselves to God’s Word, it changes us, transforms us, works to conform us to the image of Christ Jesus the Lord. Jesus prayed to God, “Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). There are echoes of Psalm 119:160 in his words: “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” And in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, Paul captured what the infallible Scriptures do for us: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” When we crucify the thought that we are arbiters of truth, and when we submit ourselves to God’s infallible Word, God teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us to live godly and holy lives for His glory. Through submission, God works to sanctify us and equip us for the good works He prepared beforehand for us to do.

Many people today are burdened and troubled because they assume they are arbiters of truth. The gospel bids us to come to Christ, to submit ourselves to him, to die to self and live to Christ, and when we do, we find the comfort and joy our souls desire.

[1] C. H. Spurgeon, “Forts Demolished and Prisoners Taken,” May 11, 1879, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons25.xxxii.html.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

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Jonathan Shirk

Welcome to the online home of Jonathan Shirk, family man, Reformed pastor, author, podcaster, and small town theologian. Whether you're from a small town or big city, may this website help you find deeper comfort and joy in the gospel.

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