From grade school through college, I played a French Horn in band and orchestra. After warming up our instruments, before we began to play a particular piece of music, we would always tune our instruments either to the first-chair clarinetist or violinist, playing a concert A. Or we would all tune up to a u-shaped steel tuning fork (invented in 1711 by British musician John Shore), which when set to resonating, sounds the pure tone of the note A (440 Hertz frequency), which is the pitch of the violin’s second string, the viola’s first string and an octave above the first string of the cello. If our instruments weren’t all in tune with the same pitch, our music would sound very dissonant and unpleasant to the ear. All it takes is one instrument to be out of tune to adversely affect the sound of the entire band or orchestra. It was our responsibility to listen carefully as we were playing to make sure we were still in tune with the rest of the instruments and we would occasionally have to adjust our instrument even after the concert had started. To this day, when listening to a band or orchestra, I can still detect an instrument in the group that is out of tune or that plays a wrong note.
God has given us a “tuning fork” to which we must adjust our lives if we are going to make harmonious music pleasing to the ear and to Him. It is His inspired Word, the Bible. It is only as we “tune” our lives to the commands and principles of His Word, that we can have right relationships, not only with God, but with one another. As we observe the world around us today with all its chaos, hatred, anger, division and conflict, it is because many are not operating “on the right frequency.” Many, like in the dark period of Israel’s history of the judges, are doing “what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25) with no regard for the absolute standards of God’s Word. Many have no regard for God’s standards for gender (male and female as established at birth), marriage (between one man and one woman), the sanctity of life (beginning at conception), the leadership structure for a church, etc.
On this day, our nation celebrates the life of civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, who, in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” wrote these words: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the Law of God. An unjust law is out of harmony with the moral law.” In his civil rights crusade, King refused to obey what he regarded as an immoral law that did not square with the law of God.
Occasionally our high school band would join with other bands for a concert. Imagine what it would have sounded like if each of the bands had tuned up to a different note rather than all tuning to concert A! Well, that’s what happens when everyone decides there is no absolute standard and does what pleases themselves. You have a world like the one we live in today.
There are those, even among professing Christians, who believe we need to adjust God’s Word to fit our current culture, that the Bible is really “outdated” for this period of time and needs to “be amended” to fit today. Jesus dealt with a group of people in His day that felt the same. Jesus uttered some sharp words of rebuke for the scribes and Pharisees, who had distorted the plain teachings of Scripture with numerous “interpretations” that enabled them to ignore whatever teaching they found inconvenient. The Lord Jesus always took the Scriptures literally and as divine authority and we should as well. Jesus said, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished…The scripture cannot be broken” (Mt. 5:18; Jn. 10:35). Skeptics have maintained that the Bible is full of contradictions; evolutionists may ridicule the account of creation, and sinners in general may try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, but the Scripture cannot be broken! Jesus said, “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” (Jn. 12:48). Jesus is the living Word of God, and the Scriptures are the written Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 3:16,17; II Pet. 1:20,21).
Many modern “progressive Christians” and cultists are following the example of the Pharisees rather than that of Christ, and are “distorting the Scriptures to their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16). Peter continues with this admonition: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (vv. 17,18). Paul wrote a similar warning in his letter to the Colossian believers: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ (and God’s Word!) (Col. 2:8). Make sure that God’s Word (His “tuning fork”) is always your standard for faith and practice.