I know many of us hesitate to tell others that we believe they are spiritually and religiously wrong. (Acts 2:36) We just do not feel comfortable taking such a firm stand on “SOUL” questions. Sadly, we can become so reluctant we refuse to take a concrete position on important Bible issues. I am talking about subjects that are critical to our eternal future.
Why do we think this way and why are we afraid to say, “This is God’s Will”? (1 Peter 3:14-16) Maybe we are just too unsure about our beliefs to take a stand. And, even though we believe this is right and that is wrong, we do not stand up for our religious beliefs.
Is there anything about God or religion that we could not get wrong? We could mess up the most basic teaching, and some do. If silence is the answer when there is a chance we are wrong, then we are not going to say much. But we do not live and react that way. I believe in the God of the Bible and Christ His Son, but many do not. (Acts 3:13-15) Some say the Bible is from men, but I believe it is God breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16) Someone is wrong, and yes it could be me. Having said that, I do not hesitate to tell people God is real, Christ is His Son, and the Bible is His Word. This is what I believe and I think others are wrong if they do not accept the same. (John 12:48-50)
If I am too unsure to speak up and defend my beliefs, then I need to do something to gain confidence. Not that confidence alone is enough because we can still be wrong. (1 Tim. 1:6) So if we are not sure about truth and right living, we need to begin by honestly weighting the data. (2 Tim. 2:15) Maybe we need to start by comparing the Bible against the Koran, Catholic teaching, or Calvinism. When we do, we find the evidence supporting the Bible is far superior to any other religious document or belief. I am so sure the Bible is God’s only and complete guide that I tell people their faith must come from it alone. (Rom. 10:17) Many do not agree with me, and I guess I could be wrong, but this is what I believe and I am going to defend my faith.
Think about all the varieties of faith and the many religious ideas in the world. Is it possible for them all to come from the Bible and be right? Does it make any sense to say God approves of religious conflict? (1 Cor. 1:10) To hear most people, none of this matters as long as we have a good heart. However, I do not believe this is what the Bible teaches. In fact, when you look at the Divine pages from beginning to end it teaches just the opposite. (Matt. 7:21-23)
Everyone is responsible to look at the Bible and to draw the right conclusions. (Eph. 3:1-4) If you have questions about baptism, the church, or worship, then go to the Bible for answers. Compare what you believe and what people say with what God reveals. (Rom. 1:16-17)
I have heard people say the Bible is not clear on some topics, and so they feel uncomfortable saying this is right or wrong in those areas. It is true; some subjects are clearer than others and we do not want to overstep what God says. For example, the Bible is clear about our resurrected bodies turning spiritual and becoming like Christ’s body. (1 Cor. 15:44) However, it is unclear about what all of this means and so I don’t know. (1 John 3:2) It is unclear because it does not say, and maybe it does not say because I cannot understand at this point.
Some want to make this same argument about other issues even when God has given direction. As in the example above, God is clear about the earthly body turning spiritual and I can teach that confidently. God is just as clear about baptism for remission of sins because that is what He said though Peter on Pentecost. (Acts 2:38) Is He any less clear about unleavened bread and fruit of the vine for the Lord’s Supper or the acts of acceptable worship? If God speaks about duty and service then I dare not say it is unclear.
Since Jesus gave unleavened bread and fruit of the vine to represent His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, I cannot say He was vague. (Matt. 26:26-29) When Paul reaffirmed these, it did not make it clearer; it only reinforced what Jesus had already said. (1 Cor. 11:24-25) How many times does God have to say something before it is clear?
I can say baptism saves because that it is just that clear. (1 Peter 3:21) I can also tell people they must believe and repent since both are so obvious from Scripture. But then some turn around and say, “No, I am not going to tell others they have to sing because I just don’t believe the Bible is clear about this issue. (Eph. 5:19) Maybe they say, “No, I am not going to tell people they have to assemble on Sunday or that they cannot scripturally take the Lord’s Supper on Tuesday. (Acts 20:7) These are just not as clear as baptism and faith. Why are they not as clear? The Bible reveals what God wants us to know about all of them. (1 Peter 1:20)
We tell people what we want them to know, what is important to us and what we are confident in. I am confident baptism saves, and so I tell others. I am confident people have no hope without Christ, and so I want them to know. My conviction comes from what the Bible says, and it is no less because others disagree or say it is unclear. Let us all study, grow in faith, and develop confidence in the words of the Bible. (1 Tim. 4:12-16)