Can we go to the Bible and find in it that which is sufficient for all of life and conduct?
The answer, I believe, is a resounding yes. And the proof is the testimony of the greatest authority in the universe, none other than God Himself. As we continue this series in the coming weeks, we’re going to set our attention on one single passage— Psalm 19, which I think is the single greatest passage on the sufficiency of Scripture in all of the Bible.
But first, I want us to look at a myriad of passages that will strengthen our understanding of this vital truth. A good starting place would be in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. And I want to mention one verse to you, 2 Corinthians 3:5. Listen to what it says. “Our sufficiency is from God.” Did you hear that? “Our sufficiency is from God.” Now we could preach off of just that statement at great length.
Our sufficiency is not from men, from human wisdom, from human resources. That means our capability for living life in God’s plan to the maximum is from Him. In other words, because we are Christians, we live in an environment in which the resources for life are divine. We live at a sphere, at a strata, which human wisdom does not feed.
Now I want you to understand that I am not saying that there’s nothing outside the Bible that has any value. There are many things in the world that have value, that are helpful because of God’s common grace. But when it comes to the matters of spiritual life, all we need to know is revealed in the Word of the living God and ministered to us by the Spirit through that Word. And we do not have to look for a sufficiency that is not provided in the Scriptures.
So we don’t say, “Well, this is a problem that we can’t handle. Boy, you’ve got a spiritual problem the Bible doesn’t deal with. You better get into actualization or visualization or psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.” If it is a spiritual issue, if it has to do with the life of a believer, the life of the church, the soul of man, the struggles of man, the Bible can deal with those things and does. It is sufficient.
Another verse in 2 Corinthians is in chapter 9. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace” – not just some grace, or most grace, but all grace – “abound toward you that you always will have all sufficiency in all things.” It’s an absolutely amazing statement.
And anybody who goes around saying, “The simple gospel, the Word of God, just isn’t enough. I’ve got to have this philosophy and this human wisdom and this approach,” doesn’t understand that that is a sin against the claim of God Himself to be able to make all grace abound toward you so that you always have all sufficiency in all things.
The superlatives here are staggering, absolutely staggering. Now when somebody comes along and says, “The Bible is just not sufficient. This is an issue the Scripture can’t deal with. We just don’t have the answers in Christianity for those deeper kinds of problems,” it flies in the face of the testimony of God in this very passage itself. Our God is able to provide the resources for all our needs. Our sufficiency begins with God.
Now let’s widen our understanding of that basic idea. I believe that the resources God gives to us come through the Spirit of God and the Word of God. Listen to some of the testimony of Scripture as we consider this thought. First of all, when Jesus spoke of the total sanctification of a believer, He said this to His Father in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by Your truth.”
Now the word “sanctify” means “set apart from sin, holy, separated unto God.” It has the idea of spiritual perfection, spiritual completion, that which we should be in Christ. And He says, “God, make them pure, make them holy, set them apart from sin unto Yourself and do it by Your truth.” Then He says in the same verse, “Your Word is truth.” We conclude then, very obviously, that the full holiness of the believer is the work of the Word of God.
It is not the Word of God plus something else — that’s what the cults have been saying for years. You need the Word of God plus the visions of Joseph Smith and the writings of Brigham Young. You need the Word of God plus the edicts of the church. You need the Bible plus human wisdom and philosophy. It’s an age-old thing, striking a blow at the sufficiency of Scripture.
But Jesus said, “Make them perfect and pure by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” The full holiness of the believer is the work of the Word of God. Listen to the testimony of the prophet Micah. He says this very, very important statement in 2:7. “Do not My words do good to the one walking uprightly?” God, speaking through the prophet, says, “Is it not true that when you live an obedient life, My Word produces good in your life?”
The point is that the Word of God is the source of the goodness of life, of benefit to an obedient believer who walks uprightly. It brings us all the good that God can dispense as we walk in obedience to that Word.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1985, titled “The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 1.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at www.masters.edu.
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