What The Bible Says

What The Bible Says

“What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 4”

What The Bible Says

Vol. II - No. 3 / July 14, 2019

"HOW TO SEE EYE TO EYE RELIGIOUSLY"

    Why do some people not see religious things the way we see them? Why is there so much difference between what we teach and what the denominations profess? Do we not all have the same Bible? Are we not all trying to serve the same God? Do we not all believe in the same Savior? These are perplexing questions, and they are not easily answered to everyone's satisfaction.

    Basically, our understanding of the Scriptures differs from the majority of the religious world because we operate on a different principle of interpretation. To most religious people "truth" is relative, adjusting freely to different times and circumstances. For us, however, truth is truth. It is unalterable, unchangeable, and everlasting. But did "we" just arbitrarily decide this would be our regard for truth? Not at all. God's own word boldly claims "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17) and "the word of the Lord is right; and all His works are done in truth." (Psalm 33:4) While there are scoffers at the idea of absolute truth, we accept Bible teaching that such does exist, and we are determined to know it. Pilate's piercing question, "What is truth?" (John 18:38) was prompted by these words from Jesus: "I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

    This then, is the basis upon which we may come to see religious matters alike. There must be a commitment to the same standard of truth. No one would ever attempt to use differing standards of measurement if building a house, marking off a football field, or sewing a garment. This would guarantee error and disaster. Twelve inches must equal one foot on all our rulers if we desire uniformity. There must be a healthy regard and respect for the Bible on the part of every religious person in order for understanding to occur. Without this common devotion to God's word, all efforts to see things the same will fail. In order to come to agreement on matters essential to salvation, we must begin where we agree. From this point we must study the Scriptures, resolving differences as we go along. Major problems of difference are solved in small steps, and then we can be united in Christ. But we will never see things the same if we cannot agree on the existence, necessity, and location of the truth.

    No Bible discussion is profitable unless every participant is a truth seeker. If everyone concerned really wants the truth, then coming to an agreement and an understanding of truth will be achievable. Believe it or not, it is possible to discuss religious differences without becoming rude or creating hurt feelings. People who love the truth are not concerned with who is right, but with what is right. Every truth seeker is willing to surrender any position if it is false. There is no other honorable course for an honest man. An honest man will seek the truth, and when he finds it he will believe it. “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding." (Proverbs 23:23).
—Mark W. White

 

"WHAT IS YOUR STANDARD?"

    When it comes to religious matters, there are many standards that are accepted.

    Many, who profess to be Christians, use the WORLD as their standard for the way they talk and dress. But Christians must "...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1,2). Also, we must not forget "...that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4).

    Religious organizations and those who are members of them, often are bound by HUMAN CREEDS, manuals, and disciplines. If these human creeds are nothing more than what the Bible teaches, as some claim, then what useful purpose do they serve? The truth in the matter is that human creeds contain more and they also contain less than what the Bible teaches. They contain the commandments of men. Yet Jesus said, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9) Any religious organization which uses a human creed is rendering their worship vain.

    Many people do what they do in religious matters because they have their own THOUGHTS about certain things. "I think it would be pleasing to God" is often the statement that is heard. However, God says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8,9). What I, or anyone else, think about something does not mean God thinks that way! Just because I think it is right doesn't make it right!

    Many accept HUMAN TRADITIONS as a standard. When questioned about why they do a certain thing in religion, they respond, "We've always done it that way!" We must realize that traditions of men are not after Christ (Colossians 2:8). Jesus asked a very relevant question in Matthew 15:3 when he asked, "...Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" Do you suppose He could ask the same question of religious denominations today if He were here on earth?

    Some see no need for anything more than their own CONSCIENCE. They do things in religion because they believe their conscience is a safe guide. Let us realize our conscience is the product of what we teach it. If we are taught the wrong things, our conscience will condone us as if we were doing the right things. We will feel just as good about doing wrong because we have been taught wrong. Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians (Acts 9:1) and consented to the death of Stephen (Acts 7:59-8:1), all with a good conscience (Acts 23:1).

    While there are many who accept the BIBLE, GOD'S WORD, as a standard for some things, very few are willing to completely accept the Bible as their standard. What about you? What really is your standard? Test yourself!

    What do you accept as authority in answering the question: What must I do to be saved? Is a person saved the moment they believe faith only? Where does the Bible teach that a person today can be saved by faith only? The only verse containing the words ‘faith only' are found in James 2:24 "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and NOT BY FAITH ONLY." (Emphasis mine, ERH) We do have the words of Jesus in Mark 16:16 saying, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." If you reject the part that baptism plays in the forgiveness of sins, you have accepted the wrong standard!

    What do you accept as the terms or conditions of church membership? Did a group of people have to vote on your acceptance into the church you are a member of? Where does the Bible teach that church membership is determined by a vote? We don't find any such thing in the standard of God's Word but we do find them in the creeds of man. The Scriptures teach: "...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47). The reason the Lord does the adding is because it is His church; not yours or mine. The Lord built it (Matthew 16:18), He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28), and He is the "Head" of it (Colossians 1:18).

    What is it that governs you in your worship? The church at Jerusalem "...continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42) The early church's fellowship was in the gospel and in the breaking of bread to commemorate the Lord's death. Where is your fellowship; in the "Fellowship Hall"? What does your breaking bread pertain to; the eating and drinking of a common meal? Every Christian is to teach and admonish "one another" in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). What about where you worship; do all Christians sing or are there solos, duets, quartets, and choirs, instead? Is there singing or is there playing upon mechanical instruments of music?

    God's Word must be our guide in all these things. It is His Word that we must accept as the standard by which we believe and practice the things we do. Won't you accept God's Word as your only standard? All other standards will not stand in the Judgment Day.
—E.R. Hall, Jr.

 

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