FROM THE PULPIT

Ancient Words: Propaganda--Nothing New (2)

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4:12-13 NIV)

This scripture ends with a statement "we must give account". Please observe, however, this phrase was added by the NIV in the 1970's. The KJV renders the text this way: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Heb 4:12-13 KJV-BRG)

There seems to be a conflict here in this comparison in that the NIV text generates the thought that everyone must give account to God for their past. In the KJV text, this thought is not there. The ending phrase--"but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do"--is focused on the all-seeing eye of God not the accountability of man. This rendering by the KJV is fundamental to basic Christian theology: But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands.....but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.....How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance---- (Heb 9:11-15 NIV)

While "propaganda" is not intended by the NIV folks, the message here has generated a lot of misinformation (propaganda) about the final Judgement. If Christ has removed your sins and continues to remove your sins--then there is nothing to be accountable for: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.....This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (Heb 10:12-18 KJV-BRG)

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.... (1Jn 1:5-10 KJV-BRG)

Read your Bibles carefully, whether it be KJV, NIV, or any other version. Remember a council of men and women pen the updates to all Bibles, and we are thankful for the work in attempting to give us clearer understanding of the written word--- and in languages thru which all people on earth can receive the message of Christ. However, don't let new renderings cloud or cancel the Truth about the Message of the Gospel! Christ's death was to remove fear from his followers not imbed it, for, standing to give an account of your past generates fear. Grace and mercy came thru Jesus to remove fear---the law of fear and death came thru Moses. The Hebrew writer completes chapter 4 with the positive news about grace and mercy (not accountability): Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:14-16 NIV)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1Jn 5:13 NIV)

Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected].