THE BELT OF TRUTH is double pronged and preachers and teachers of the Bible must make a faithful use of both. They are to set forth both the negatives and positives seen everywhere in Scripture.
Centuries ago the prophet Isaiah did. And Jesus, reading the same passage years later, applied it to Himself. Here is what they believed when it came to responsibly setting forth truth. They believed it their duty "to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor]and the day of vengeance of our God" (Isaiah 61:2). They were to preach both positively and negatively - both "the acceptable year" and "the day of vengeance of our God."
Much later, the Apostle Paul maintained a similar stance. He viewed the preaching of his day as "a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2: 15,16) - notice "an aroma from death to death" and "an aroma from life to life."
A working battery has both positive and negative poles. It just won't work to block off the negative. The negative is essential. And when God speaks negatively (do count not only the "thou shalt nots' in Holy Scripture but also the "do nots" in such passages as Proverbs 23), I say, when God speaks negatively IT IS FOR THE SAKE OF A POSITIVE OUTCOME.
When a mother saw a thunderstorm forming in mid-afternoon, she worried about her seven-year-old daughter who would be walking the three blocks from school to home. Deciding to meet her, the mother saw her walking nonchalantly along, stopping to smile whenever the lightning flashed. Seeing her mother, the little girl ran to her, explaining happily, "all the way home, God's been taking my picture!
Even so, God works through His "do nots" and His numerous "you shalls" to produce the image of Jesus in us. The two together keep the power of God surging in us. Together the belt of truth hinges securely.
- dick christen