J. Grant Swank, Jr.
God Himself attests to His Word being perfect:
2 Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit cannot provide an imperfect revelation. Those who regard the Bible as error-prone are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, the Scripture’s Author.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
Note that the word “all” is used. “All Scripture is God-breathed. . .” Yet mortals would breathe upon the Bible to disregard what they don’t like and keep what they do like. That is the height of hubris and will answer at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”
Note the words “every word” are used. “Every word of God is flawless. . .”
John 12:47-50 "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."
Note: “. . .whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” The Father cannot be mistaken, though some mortals claim Him to be in His ability to communication divine revelation.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living 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.”
Note that “. . .the word of God. . .judges the thoughts. . .” Those discounting the divine revelation set forth in the Scriptures will regret the moment they ever started on that course.
Jeremiah 23:29 "’Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’”
John 12:48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
Rejecting the inerrant Word of God will convict the rebellious one at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Psalms 12:6: ". . .the words of the LORD are flawless."
Can God speak more clearly than that?
Psalms 119:89: "Your word, O LORD, is eternal, it stands firm."
Dare one earthly mortal contest the eternal truth of divine revelation?
Matthew 5:18: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
Christ is most efficient in His overview of the divine inspiration. “. . .one jot or one tittle. . .”
John 10:35: "...and the scripture cannot be broken."
Those who break the Word of God will be broken by it at the Last Day.
Revelation 22:18-19 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
What applies to this divine revelation by extrapolation applies to any divine revelation throughout the Word of God.
What about the severe passages in the Old Testament?
In the Old Testament, God commanded the death penalty in twenty-some cases. This was not because God was barbaric, but because God was civil. The Israeli twelve tribes had no law enforcement agencies. Further, they were surrounded by barbarisms of strange magnitudes exhibited by neighboring pagan nations.
Consequently, for God to establish an Israeli civil community, He set forth stringent punishments--some being the death penalty. He Himself became, in other words, the Law Enforcement Agency for the new nation of Israel. That chosen community thereby was to model morality / civility to the surrounding nations.
Extremely severe penalties then were commanded by God in order to bring in line an Israeli community which tended to be unruly like its neighbors. If God had been lax in penalties, human nature, being what it is, would have tested gladly the boundaries. But when penalties were severe, human nature thought twice before testing the boundaries, hence the death penalty prescribed by God in some instances.
However, once Israel lost its nationhood by "going a-whoring after other loves", Israel's civil structure disappeared. Israel as a nation lost its temple, its government--that is, its two primary components of culture--religion and politics. Pagan nations then ruled over the heretofore nation of God. In this loss was the disappearance of death penalties previously prescribed by God. The death penalty period as dictated by divine revelation, in other words, ended near the close of the Old Testament era.
That is why when Jesus appeared as flesh-and-bones divine revelation, He pronounced, "You used to say, 'An eye for an eye', but now I say to you: Love your enemies." Jesus pronounced a civility of love toward one's enemies. "Love your foes, pray for your foes." This was the New Testament for it was now a new way of dealing with others--all others.
Government was now established primarily within the believer rather than under Israeli kings. "The Kingdom of God is within you." Law was now primarily of the heart. "My law will be written on your hearts." That was the new politic. Further, the tabernacle was now primarily the human frame: "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit." That was the new religion.
Therefore, for the New Testament Church Age, it is the law of love toward all--friends and foes. Jesus provided a simply stated ethic. He refused to garble it with amendments. But, one may ask: "What about these atrocious crimes and the death penalty?"
The biblical answer is still the same: love your friends and foes in Jesus. What kind of Christian love then can be shown to a multiple-murderer / rapist / arsonist / child molester? What kind of Christian love can be meted out to a Hitler?
It is a Christian tough love. Tough love keeps the exceptional criminal alive but consigns that one to supervised environs without parole. Hopefully, even that exceptional criminal then may come upon redemption through Christ, yet never be placed in tempting circumstances whereby he again may do others and Himself harm.
Keeping the individual alive also allows the possibility that, realizing human justice systems to be flawed, that person in truth may be found innocent though originally pronounced guilty. Indeed, the future may prove this to be fact if new evidence is forthcoming. History has case files on those in the aforementioned category.
Reason this moral / ethical situation from God's perspective: Adam and Eve slew God's love when they played loose with Eden's snake. However, God did not slay them. Instead, God banished them to their own solitary isles of remorse, hoping at least for their eternal redemption.
You once slew God's love by going your own stubborn way. In reality, you pronounced yourself Lord of your life. It is a hurtful truth to you now that you are a believer; nevertheless, living once in sin and for sin, you were once that callused toward your own loving Creator. However, did God obliterate you? No, instead God searched you out, loved you even while you were enemy, in hopes of redeeming what was left of your destiny.
He now invites each Christian to live out that same kind of persevering, at-times-tough love toward all others--especially those who are Enemy. God has already walked for us the path of love-for-foes. We, of all creatures, should know this for sure. Praise be to a loving, merciful God!
He then invites us to join Him on that love path. He has walked it for us. He asks us now to walk it for others.
FOOTNOTE: JUDGMENT DAY
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the judgment.
Matthew 7:21-23: the words of Christ:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 12:36-37: the words of Christ:
But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
God who will render to every man according to his deed: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immorality, eternal life; But unto them that are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor and peace to every man that worked good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
I Corinthians 4:5:
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsel of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
II Corinthians 5:10:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Be sure your sin will find you out.