We sometimes wonder if we can trust what people say. After all, most of us know what it is like when someone burns us with lies or false data. I know we would like to believe people, but experience tells us to use caution. So, we often take their word with a “grain of salt.”
I am not suggesting that when people mislead us they always do so on purpose or with malice, because they may believe what they say. However, what they think changes nothing about the facts. Wrong is wrong and right is right despite what anyone thinks is true.
Sadly, we live in a time when lying is commonplace and almost viewed as an honored skill. We have nearly come to accept dishonesty as normal in certain circles; after all, “everyone” does it. Who’s surprised anymore when businesses or politicians deceive us? What about a parent lying to protect a child or an employee calling in “sick” to get a day off?
Can we trust anyone anymore to tell us the truth, and nothing but the truth? Thankfully the answer is yes. The One who has never and will never lie is God. In fact, He must tell the truth every time, no matter the circumstances, because His Nature demands it. (Titus 1:2) God does not even accidently tell an untruth because He is all powerful, knowing, and wise.
As we examine the Bible we read about His promises and prophecies. He told Adam and Eve if they ate the forbidden fruit they would die, and they did. (Gen. 3) God told Noah to build an ark because He was going to destroy the world with a flood, and He did. (Gen. 6) God said that He would send foreign powers to conquer Israel and Judah, and He did. (2 Kings 18:11 & 2 Kings 25) From the earliest biblical writings God promised to send the Savior, and Christ came. (Matt. 1:20-23) So, we can trust everything He says and know it is the truth.
For example, God promised to “make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” (Jer. 31:31-34) The Jews thought this meant He would reestablish David’s earthly throne and once again make them a great nation. However, God was talking about a spiritual kingdom, one where all people could come to Him. (Heb. 8:6-13) He kept this promise through Christ, and the apostles’ teaching.
We should also believe what the Bible says about Jesus being “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Heb. 5:9) And God is telling the truth when He says that only Jesus can save us. (Acts 4:12) So anyone who suggests that salvation can come from Mohammad, the Jewish Law, or by any other means is wrong. It is startling to me just how many “Christian” leaders and followers deny God’s plain teaching on this subject. They want to leave room in heaven for all the good Muslims, Jews, and religious people, even though they deny the Lord.
God is clear about the origin and power of Scriptures, and yet many reject what He has said. The Bible did not come from men, human reason or wisdom did not influence its message, and it is the complete and final Word from God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) It is God’s power to save, and it reveals all that we need to please Him. (Rom. 1:16-17) If we tamper with it, change it, or add to or take away from it, then we sin against Him. (Rev. 22:18-19)
The book of Acts plainly states God’s plan to save, and the inspired apostles preached its message. (Acts 2) They taught about the Lord’s life, death and resurrection with the goal of convincing people to believe. The message also included the sinner’s response to God’s Will. They had to repent, confess, and wash away their sins through baptism. We need to trust what God says because He is telling the truth.
I believe what the Bible says about the One True Church of Christ. Our Lord died to build it, the apostles preached to set it up, and their message was consistent and uniform. God condemns denominationalism, yet many religious people support the idea anyway. They exist because people do not follow the same teaching or respect the same authority. We cannot trust the words of those who excuse such division, but we must believe God when He says “there is one body” (church). (Eph. 4:4)
How can Christians live immoral lives and still please God? They can’t, but the way so many live it is clear they do not believe God. The Bible’s teaching is plain about divorce and remarriage, sex before marriage, homosexuality, modesty, drinking, and many other issues, yet religious people do them anyway. (Matt. 19:3-9 & Rom. 1:24-32) Saints must rise above sin and put off all that would corrupt their spiritual lives. (Col. 3:1-10) Believe God when He says that these sins will condemn you.
According to every recent survey I read, most religious people do not believe in an eternal hell. Even among those who say they are Christians, only about half think there is a real place called hell. Let’s face it, the idea of eternal punishment is unpopular, and so many would rather deny its existence. But again, I believe what God has said over what anyone else says. Hell is real, it is a place of torment, and its duration is eternal. (Matt. 25:41)
As you might guess, more people accept the idea of heaven, but among those, many do not believe what God says about getting there. For example, many people think that everyone will go to heaven or that most will go to heaven. But God says that few will get there. (Matt. 22:14) Many feel that it is easy to get to heaven, but God says that it is hard. (Matt. 7:13-14) If you want to go to heaven you must faithfully serve Christ, overcome the temptations of this world, and remain steadfast until the end. (Col. 1:21-23) You can count on God’s word and know that any contrary message is false.