Author Archives: William Cody Bateman

What God Says About the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” ~ II Peter 1:20

William Cody Bateman | Jesus Christ - the Spirit of ProphecyThe spiritual gift of prophecy is listed among the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and Romans 12:6. The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God which is designed to influence people.

Many people misunderstand the gift of prophecy to be the ability to predict the future. While knowing something about the future may sometimes have been an aspect of the gift of prophecy, it was primarily a gift of proclamation (“forth-telling”), not prediction (“fore-telling”).

A Christian whom declares the the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ of the Bible can be considered a “prophesier” in that he is speaking forth the counsel of God. With the completion of the New Testament canon, prophesying changed from declaring new revelation to declaring the completed revelation God has already given. Jude 3 speaks of “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (emphasis added). In other words, the faith to which we hold has been settled forever, and it does not need the addition or refinement that comes from extra-biblical revelations.

Also, note the transition from prophet to teacher in 2 Peter 2:1: “There were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (emphasis added). Peter indicates that the Old Testament age had prophets, whereas the church will have teachers. The spiritual gift of prophecy, in the sense of receiving new revelations from God to be proclaimed to others, ceased with the completion of the Bible. During the time that prophecy was a revelatory gift, it was to be used for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of men (1 Corinthians 14:3). The modern gift of prophecy, which is really more akin to teaching, still declares the truth of God. What has changed is that the truth of God today has already been fully revealed in His Word, while, in the early church, it had not yet been fully revealed.

Christians are to be very wary of those who claim to have a “new” message from God. It is one thing to say, “I had an interesting dream last night.” However, it is quite another matter to say, “God gave me a dream last night, and you must obey it.”

No utterance of man should be considered equal to or above the written Word. We must hold to the Word that God has already given and commit ourselves to sola scriptura—Scripture alone

What God Says About Bitterness

“…see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” ~ Hebrews 12:15

Root of Bitterness | William Cody BatemanBitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility towards others. The Bible teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” It then goes on to tell us how to deal with such bitterness and its fruits by being “kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

As an adjective, the word bitter means “sharp like an arrow or pungent to the taste, disagreeable; venomous.” The idea is that of the poisonous water given to the women who were suspected of committing adultery in Numbers 5:18: “the bitter water that brings a curse.” In its figurative sense bitterness refers to a mental or emotional state that corrodes or “eats away at.” Bitterness can affect one experiencing profound grief or anything which acts on the mind in the way poison acts on the body. Bitterness is that state of mind which willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, able to break out in anger at any moment.

The foremost danger in succumbing to bitterness and allowing it to rule our hearts is that it is a spirit that refuses reconciliation. As a result, bitterness leads to wrath, which is the explosion on the outside of the feelings on the inside. Such unbridled wrath and anger often lead to “brawling” which is the brash self-absorption of an angry person who needs to make everyone hear his grievances. Another evil brought on by bitterness is slander. As used in Ephesians 4, it is not referring to blasphemy against God or merely slander against men, but to any speech springing from anger and designed to wound or injure others.

All this then leads to a spirit of malice, which signifies evil-mindedness or feelings of intense hatred. This kind of attitude is sensual and devilish in its influences. Malice is a deliberate attempt to harm another person. Therefore, “every form of malice” must be done away with (Ephesians 4:31).

The person who is bitter is often resentful, cynical, harsh, cold, relentless, and unpleasant to be around. Any expression of these characteristics is sin against God, and those who persist in them will not inherit His kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).

We must always be wary of allowing “bitter roots” to grow in our hearts; such roots will cause us to fall short of the grace of God. God wills that His people live in love, joy, peace, and holiness — not in bitterness. Therefore, the believer must always watch diligently, being on guard against the grave peril of bitterness.

What God Says About Injustice

“The LORD detests differing weights, / and dishonest scales do not please him” – Proverbs 20:23

William Cody Bateman | InjusticeThe Bible has a lot to say on the subject of injustice. We know that God is in favor of justice; we know that He is against injustice, even in the most basic terms. Justice is foundational to God’s throne (Psalm 89:14), and God does not approve of partiality, whether we are talking about a weighted scale or an unjust legal system (Leviticus 19:15).

There are many other verses, in both Old and New Testaments, that give us an idea of God’s distaste for injustice (2 Chronicles 19:7; Job 6:29; 11:14; Proverbs 16:8; Ezekiel 18:24; Romans 9:14).

Isaiah lived in a time when Judah was struggling under the weight of injustice: “Justice is driven back, / and righteousness stands at a distance; / truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. / Truth is nowhere to be found, / and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. / The LORD looked and was displeased / that there was no justice” (Isaiah 59:14–15). God’s message for them was simple: “Learn to do right; seek justice. / Defend the oppressed. / Take up the cause of the fatherless; / plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Later, God tells them to “loose the chains of injustice” (Isaiah 58:6; cf. Psalm 82:3), indicating that injustice is a form of bondage and oppression.

In the book of James, we see more deeply into the heart of God regarding injustice. God is not petty or obsessive. He does not value justice simply for the sake of having orderliness. There are deeper issues at stake. In James 2, we see a discussion about partiality. James speaks to a group of believers who have been judging the people in their gathering according to their social status. In the human heart, injustice is a sign of partiality, judgmentalism, and a lack of love. When we strive to be righteous by our own human measurements, we invariably forget God’s measurement: perfection. Anything less than perfection is, to God, a scale out of balance.

Every human is, because of the fall, unjust. We do a lot of incongruent things. We make mistakes, we blow hot and cold, we do and say things that are totally contradictory. As James says, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). Injustice permeates our lives, as we judge unfairly and hold others to a different standard than we are willing to abide by ourselves.

The only way to truly escape injustice is to first accept that God is perfectly just and humans are inherently unjust, i.e., less than perfect, and then to accept God’s righteousness (1 John 1:5–9). Only when we are no longer concerned with making ourselves righteous can we trust the One who justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5). Then, as God’s children, we can see clearly to combat the injustice around us with a merciful attitude (Micah 6:8; James 1:27).

Jesus is totally just; there is no injustice in Him at all. Because of His perfection, Jesus can provide true justice. In fact, “the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).

We look forward to the time when righteousness and justice will be the order of the day and injustice will be banished forever: “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7).

What Does God Say About Marriage?

“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” ~ Genesis 2:23-24

What Does God Say About Marriage? | William Cody BatemanGod created man and then made woman to complement him. In the Bible marriage is God’s “fix” for the fact that “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

As the Bible describes the first marriage, it uses the word helper to identify Eve (Genesis 2:20). To “help” in this context means “to surround, to protect or aid.” God created Eve to come alongside Adam as his “other half,” to be his aid and his helper. The Bible says that marriage causes a man and woman to become “one flesh.” This oneness is manifested most fully in the physical union of sexual intimacy. The New Testament adds a warning regarding this oneness: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).

Several of Paul’s epistles refer to marriage and how believers are to operate within the marriage relationship. One such passage is Ephesians 5:22–33. Studying this passage provides some key truths concerning what the Bible says marriage should be.

  • The Bible, in Ephesians 5, says a successful biblical marriage involves both the husband and the wife fulfilling certain roles: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (Ephesians 5:22–23).
  • “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28–29).
  • “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).

When a believing husband and wife institute God’s principles of marriage in the Bible, a solid, healthy marriage results. A biblically based marriage keeps Christ as the head of the man and the wife together. The biblical concept of marriage involves a oneness between a husband and wife that pictures the oneness of Christ with His church.

Copyright © 2017. Powered by Reagan Communications & John 3:16-17.