Does it really matter what we believe?

By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist

We realize that we have used a title similar to the one above not too long ago, but rest assured the topic is a bit different this time. It would really seem silly to most sober thinking people to even ask such a question, yet it would seem from observation that far too many people seem to put little if any credit into the necessity to strictly obey God’s word in any and every detail of instruction given in the Bible. Since this great number includes so many people who are obviously intelligent and knowledgeable about many things in this material realm, it would seem that those who are considered to be Christians are simply not taking Christianity serious. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman brethren saying, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11). Friends, it is time that we all woke up!

It is a fact that God either has revealed His will to us or He has not! The first of these options is the one that is true. God has revealed to man His will. He has done so since creation. In the garden of Eden He specified to Adam and Eve what He required of them. They understood it and disobeyed Him. The result was separation from God. Under the law of Moses, Israel knew what God required of them. Moses wrote, “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and thou mayest do it” (Deut. 30:14). It is important that we recognize just which law has been revealed to us for our direction from God. The Hebrew writer stated, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…(Heb. 1:1-2). Paul told the Galatians, “…whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). God has revealed to us His will for this Christian age by way of the gospel of Christ. Paul told the Corinthians, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit…(I Cor. 2:10). To the Romans he wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).

It is a fact that God either allows us to deviate from His will or He does not! Of these two options, it is the second that is truth and the first found false. God does not allow deviation from His commands! To Israel He said, “Ye shall not add unto the world which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it…” (Deut. 4:2). Paul spoke of those who would pervert the gospel of Christ and then stated, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). Consider a couple of examples that illustrate that God does not allow deviation from His commands. Moses records, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1-2). Where the fire came from may seem a minor detail to us, but it was not commanded by God and He did not allow that deviation from His word. In the book of First Samuel, we read where God commanded king Saul to destroy the Amalekites, keeping none of the spoil or sparing any of the people. Though Saul expressed what could surely be called a noble reason for deviating from God’s commands (I Sam. 15:15), God’s words as spoken by Samuel were, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Sam. 15:22). God does not allow deviations from His commands.

Paul warned Timothy that the time would come when people did not want the truth, but wanted that which was pleasing to them (II Tim. 4:3-4). It would seem that that time has surely come, for multitudes are following things that are deviations from God’s word. Space would not allow us to detail all the examples of such departures from God’s way that are being practiced in our time. However, let us just suggest that it is time that we got serious about doing just what God has revealed to us in His word when it comes to the one church that was built by Christ (Matt. 16:18), the gospel plan of salvation (Heb. 5:8-9), worship that is pleasing to God (John 4:23-24) and God’s instructions concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:9). When there are varying doctrines and practices on these as well as many other subjects, it is obvious that someone is deviating from what God said. This is a serious matter. It is our eternal souls that are at stake. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13).

By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]