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The big "if" of the Bible

The big "if" of the Bible

When I was in high school, they offered a class aptly named Logic. It was in the late 80s that I had already owned a couple of home PCs, a VIC-20 and a Commodore 64, and taught myself BASIC. So, the sound of a class devoted to Logic was a perfect fit.

I will never forget the teacher. He was well dressed, usually business casual, and judging by his hair, he paid a lot for haircuts and products.

In this class, we learned about conditions. If then statements, and other rules of Logic. I found it quite helpful in life and math, and programming.

Because Logic was one of the few classes in school where I paid attention, naturally, I noticed things seminary when studying the scriptures. The infamous 'if-then' statements.

IF this, THEN that. A simplified explanation would be, "If the switch is on, the light works. If the switch is off, the light will not work."

It is easy to see why the if-then statement is essential when writing rules in code, determining a course of action in the business world or answering a math question. However, when I took the high school class, I never dreamed I would find "if-then" in the Bible.

There are many "conditional" statements in the scriptures. I believe the fact that they exist is evidence of our free will and ability to choose. From each conditional statement in scripture, two consequences are revealed, what happens if we do something and what happens if we do not do something. The first consequence is given, and the second is easily inferred.

Let's look at 1 John Chapter 1, where there are many examples.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10

A) IF we claim to be without sin, THEN;

  1. we deceive ourselves

  2. the truth is not in us

We can infer from this, IF we claim we have sinned, THEN;

  1. we are honest with ourselves

  2. the truth IS in us

B) IF we confess our sins, THEN

  1. He is faithful

  2. He is just

  3. He will forgive us our sins

  4. He will purify us from all unrighteousness

We can infer from this, IF we do not confess our sins, THEN;

  1. We prevent Him from being faithful to us because sin is between us

  2. We prevent Him from being just in our lives because sin is between us

  3. He will not forgive our sins because we won't confess they were sins

  4. He will not purify us from any unrighteousness

C) IF we claimed we have not sinned, THEN;

1. We make Him out to be a liar

2. and His Word is not in us

We can infer from this, IF we do claim we have sinned, THEN;

1. We make Him out to be Truthful

2. His word is in us

Understanding conditional verses in scripture and seeing that we can get more from them by inference will shed much light on our understanding of God's word.

Here are some more great verses which use the IF-THEN logic.

"If you love me, keep my commands." John 14:15

"The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you." 2 Chronicles 15:2b

"if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15

"If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." 1 John 2:15b

"If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love." John 15:10

"if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them." Ezekiel 18:21-22a

"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

"if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Thinking about if-then has really opened up a lot of scripture for me. I love how the word explains in so many ways why we need the Lord's forgiveness, how easy it is to obtain it, and what a blessing it is to have it in this messed-up world.


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