Warnings!The average consumer should feel insulted over the silly warning labels that accompany many products.
- On a blanket from Taiwan: Not to be used as protection from a tornado. This is good to know.
- On a fireplace log: Caution — Risk of Fire. Who would have thought it?
- On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights: For indoor or outdoor use only. This narrows our options.
- Warning on a cartridge for a laser printer: Do not eat toner.
Perhaps these warnings should come with a warning: Do not take this warning seriously.
Unfortunately, frivolous warnings disarm us. They tend to make us suspicious of all warnings. This is tragic. We must take God's warnings seriously.
In the Old Testament, the Lord warned Israel, "You shall not add to the word which 1 command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2).
Embedded within this warning is the revelation that adding to or taking from His words results in keeping something other than the word of God.
Agur adds a similar warning in Proverbs 30:6: Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar." We could be guilty of adding to His word by writing additional chapters or books. But we can violate this passage without going to that much trouble. Any time we substitute human wisdom for divine truth, we add to His word.
If someone objects that these are Old Testament passages, the New Testament offers the same warning. "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia —remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:3).
Those who fail to abide in the teaching of Christ do not have God (2 John 9). This means that if something is unauthorized by the Scriptures, we must leave it alone. Otherwise, we are no different from rebels who practice lawlessness – and that's not a frivolous warning!