The Bible issues a warning to everyone
God not only announces an invitation to everyone through the Scriptures, he also issues grave warnings. Warnings of danger require decisive rhetoric to arrest people’s attention. Take for example the following illustration.
Suppose a person was inside a house and that person was deaf and blind. And suppose there is a storm coming towards the house…say, a hurricane. How would the blind and deaf person know that there was a storm coming and his or her life was in danger? Could the person hear the wind outside? Would the perceived rain and increasing wind clearly communicate the threat? Could the person see debris passing by the window as the storm intensified? The individual might perceive some of the threatening signs, but possibly not enough. What the person inside the house needs is someone to warn of the seriousness of the threat before it is too late. Here we have a metaphor of the biblical text—it warns in no uncertain terms.
The nature of the Bible's warnings
At times the Bible is clear to the point of being distressful; nevertheless, such strong warnings are used in many circumstances. People often use strong or blatant written text to arrest a reader’s attention about the threat of such things as tobacco and alcohol usage, illicit drugs, automobile safety, crime prevention, occupational safety, and many others. The biblical warnings are much the same. The warnings are serious because the threat is serious. So serious, in fact, that unambiguous and intentional warning is required. And where there is need for warning, the warning needs to be announced with substantial force.
Actually, deliberate and forceful warnings are often expected by society. For example, let’s say you were in a metropolitan city and you were standing on a street corner and waiting to cross a street. Fifty yards to your right is a person who is standing and looking at his cell phone paying no attention to his surroundings, including the child accompanying him. And suppose you notice a car begin to swerve in the road towards the child. In order to gain the child’s attention, you are probably going to leave off your politeness and decorum. In such a situation you will embrace words and actions that convey and communicate the danger of the moment—after all, a life is at stake and deliberate forceful action needs to be utilized. This is what the words of God communicated through the Bible does. It speaks boldly, sometimes brashly, sometimes with an obvious disregard for decorum in order to gain the reader’s attention to persuade and startle individuals into notice and action.
Unfortunately, as the renowned biblical commentator Matthew Henry remarks, “...[there are] very few that take notice of it as a public warning.” Nevertheless, the biblical warnings continue relentlessly through the years for the good of all who will listen.
The failure to warn
Let’s take the illustration one step further. Consider the reaction of people after the incident. How would people react if they were informed that someone saw imminent danger to the child and failed to take aggressive warning measures? What would they say if they learned that instead of forcefully communicating the extreme danger, the viewer chose to remain silent or announced the impending catastrophe softly or in such a way that the danger was not fully communicated and appreciated by those involved? Needless to say, the failure to warn with force would be met with public scrutiny and negative reaction. So it is with the Bible. The danger of sin and the failure to deal with sin is of such threat and of such consequence that God chooses to announce the danger with with full force for all to hear.
What are the biblical warnings? The warnings are relatively small in number. God keeps the communication to the vital points of ultimate consequence. The warnings revolve around man’s greatest dilemma—sin and the consequences of sin.
a. God warns that all persons are sinners (Romans 3:23).
b. God warns that all persons, each individual, will give an account for their sins (2 Corinthians 5:10).
c. God warns that all persons will face judgment for sin (Romans 2:2-5).
d. God warns that He has provided a single solution for man’s sins—Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10).
e. God warns that anyone who rejects this single resolution for their personal sins will be found eternally guilty for their sins (John 3:18).
F. God warns that the payment for sin is spiritual death, punishment, and eternal separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
There are other warnings but these are the most prominent and consequential.
The token of warning
Let’s end with one final point. The warnings of Scripture should be viewed not as pernicious or stifling, but as evidence of concern and a token of love. We know that when people make an effort to warn others of pending harm that it generally stems from their concern, a desire to help, and even from committment to duty to the welfare of others. Conversely, people also understand that failure to warn others of danger is indicative of someone demonstrating a lack of concern for others, even a sign of malice. God demonstrates his love for everyone in that he not only acted to make forgiveness of sins possible, he also acts by warning us of imminent danger through the pages of the Bible. This action is certainly a token and indicator of his love for each of us and all of humanity.
“...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV).
Our next point will deal with opposition to the Bible.To next section Homepage