Did you ever wonder about the numbers on the little stickers that are on fresh fruit? Without going into a long discussion, all of them have a 4 digit code—usually beginning with the number 3 or 4. This indicates the fruit was “conventionally” grown, using fertilizer, pesticides, and other potentially harmful measures to protect the trees or vines.
There are two exceptions to this standard numbering—the addition of an 8 or 9 at the front of the numerical code. An 8 is of major concern as it means the produce has been Genetically Modified. The 9 verifies that the fruit is organically grown.
Back to the genetically modified for a moment. A simple definition: an organism not naturally found in nature is scientifically altered and a new DNA is created. According to the most recent literature, corn, soy, and cotton are the biggest culprits in the USA. The stated purpose is to enhance development and growth.
The organically grown is determined by strict standards, which include no added growth hormones or steroids (animals), no synthetic fertilizers or dangerous pesticides (fruit and vegetables). The jury is still out as to whether the significant cost increase outweighs any long term physical hazards.
The specific intent of this discussion is to neither champion physical health (although our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit”) nor to applaud/condemn scientific procedures. In the language of the New Testament, this is a parable (illustration), contrasting the “pure” seed with the “genetically modified” seed. In one of His widely known teaching sessions, Jesus spoke of the “sower” and the “seed” to the agri-economic culture of that day. And, He specifically noted the seed was the Word of God (Luke 8:11). While the preaching/teaching emphasis on this parable is frequently on the one who sows the seed and/or the types of soil on which the seed is scattered, the quality of the seed is never questioned. But perhaps for this moment we should narrow our focus to carefully consider what is being sown, as well as understanding the who and the where.
Long since I have concluded that the primary determination for any spiritual growth—or decline— is proportionally measured by our approach to and appropriation of His Word.
First, and of utmost significance, the Word of God is divinely inspired. Amazing how many people, even numbered among believers, do not accept the written Word as being “God-breathed”.
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action)” (2Timothy3:16 AMP)
“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, these prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT).
This encompasses ALL of the Word–both Old and New Testaments!
THE BEGINNING POINT FROM WHICH ALL SPIRITUAL DECEPTION, DOCTRINAL ERROR, UNSCRIPTURAL BEHAVIOR EMANATES IS TO DENY THAT ALL OR PORTIONS OF GOD’S WRITTEN WORD ARE INSPIRED, INFALLIBLE TRUTH.
The liberty to “pick and choose” what you want to accept or reject immediately negates the entire concept of inspiration. In effect, this is changing the DNA of Scripture—it becomes genetically modified!
Then, another dangerous thought process relates to the authority of the Word. Both the Old and New Testament give explicit evidence to the inherent power of the Word.
“For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).
Prophets of old stood before kings and rulers boldly declaring “Thus saith the Lord...” Literally, they risked their lives on the authority of what God told them. Jesus taught that “not one dotting of an i or crossing of a t would fail until it was all fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). To conclude, for example, that miracles have ceased is to imply that there have been generational or cultural changes that lessen the authority of Scripture. This too, alters the seed—it is genetically modified!
Perhaps (in my personal opinion) the most insidious and dangerous modification of the Word looming before us in this generation/culture is the almost unrestrained acceptance of contemporary mores as a basis for redefining Scriptural truth (i.e., homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle for a believer, the inclusion of various elements of other religions and humanistic philosophies). The theme of cultural relevance has often been trumpeted so loudly that it diminishes, or even more damaging, overrides an unwavering commitment to the Word. In spite of proclaiming otherwise, the method has at times changed the message. Anecdotal evidence has been employed to challenge generally understood and accepted Scriptural doctrine.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE DOES NOT ALTER THE IMMUTABLE PRINCIPLES OF THE WORD.
This transition comes rather easily when the subjective reality is defined by human intellect. Man’s concept of “fairness” and “justice” run counter to the absolute perfection of the Sovereign God. To use the experience as a measuring device for interpreting the Word inevitably results in Scriptural genetic modification! Rather than looking for “loopholes” in Scripture to justify our carnal/sinful behavior and attitudes, NOW is the moment to take up the “sword of the Spirit” (Word of God) (Ephesians 6:17).
Intolerance toward true followers of Christ has reached a crescendo in this era. There is a worldwide attack. At its core this is not culturally or politically motivated—it is the highest level of spiritual espionage and aggression. The Old Testament prophets were executed because they refused to “genetically modify” the commands of the Lord. John the Baptist had his head served on a platter for offending an adulterous woman. Paul suffered all types of physical abuse and ultimately death for his unwavering declaration that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. These Scriptural personalities, along with many who have lived in the centuries following, were not superhuman heroes. They were ordinary men and women with an uncompromising conviction that the Word of God was worth defending–in life or death.
It is more than a catchy phrase—
The Word says what it means-and means what it says!