We live in a world which revels in ambiguity. Webster defines “ambiguous” as: “Having two or more meanings; doubtful; being of uncertain signification; susceptible of different interpretations; hence, obscure. It is applied to words and expressions.” Ambiguity revolves around uncertainty, making someone unsure of what should be done or why something is being done. It is specifically described as being applied to words and expressions, the things which we write and say.
Ambiguity has long been the politician’s best friend. They are able to make promises about anything they want, but never have to explain what they mean or how they intend to pay for all of these glorious additions to life and luxury. Unfortunately, many times, those who are ambiguous make things sound so good that many people do not even pick up on the ambiguity. They are happy to go along thinking they are following one thing, when in reality they are allowing something else entirely.
The most exasperating aspects of ambiguity are found in another area: religion. It has become commonplace in our religious society today to make everything Biblical ambiguous. There is no way to truly understand what God wanted to say to us because he was not intelligent enough to be able to give it in a way that we could understand it; or at least so the perceived argument goes. But is God really ambiguous in the Bible? Has God really given us double talk and unclear terminology of which we cannot come to a clear understanding? Certainly not. Man’s inventions have made it ambiguous, and man’s pride and arrogance have provided the foundation upon which such charges of ambiguity reside. Consider three vital areas where God has not been ambiguous.
God has not been ambiguous about salvation. Regardless of what many in the religious world profess, God has stated exactly what is expected of man in order to obtain eternal salvation. We must hear and understand the word of God (Rom. 10:17), believe in Jesus Christ and His promises (Heb. 11:6), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ before men (Rom. 10:9-10), and be immersed in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 22:16). These requirements are completely unambiguous, nor are they difficult to understand, unless you are one who does not want to believe them. Yet, God’s clarity does not end here.
God has not been ambiguous about worship. God has given to us very clearly what He expects out of our worship. We are to sing with the voice to teach and admonish one another in praise to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), we are to humbly bow ourselves in prayer to God (1 Tim. 2:1-8), we are to give from what God has so richly blessed us (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:6-8), we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week (Mat. 26:26-29; Acts 20:7), and we are to preach and teach to one another the Word of our Lord (Acts 20:7; 2 Tim. 4:2). These things are not difficult to understand or to carry out; but man’s hardened heart has stated that God’s unambiguous commands are not sufficient.
God has not been ambiguous about eternity. We live in an age where many people believe one of two ideas: either there is no eternity, or everyone is going to Heaven. Neither of these fit the Bible’s clear teaching. Heaven will be reserved for those who love God and keep his commandments (John 14:1-3; 1 The. 4:13-18; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). Hell has been reserved for those who refuse to follow through with the commandments of God and turn from him (2 The. 1:7-9; Rev. 21:8). These things are neither ambiguous nor hidden.
God, unlike man, is not ambiguous in what he says or expects. May it ever be our endeavor to be honest in our approach to God and his Word, that we might learn what is expected and reject those who will not proclaim it as it is.