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It sounds like a simple question with a simple answer. “We all believe things a little bit differently, but we’re all still Christians because we all believe the same things about salvation and Jesus.”
But that statement, well meaning as it is…is a little bit naive. There’s a common teaching that it’s ok and even good that we believe things differently. After all, why does it really matter what we believe about things like the rapture, or baptism with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues? These things won’t keep anyone from being saved, …right?
At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. But without realizing it…we’re showing contempt for the word of God.
2nd Peter chapter 1 verses 20 and 21 says:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
And Matthew chapter 16 verses 11 and 12 says:
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Finally 1 Corinthians 5 verse 6 says:
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
So lets try to understand that every scripture is connected. The Bible is often called our daily bread. Leaven is yeast. If you put a small amount of leaven in your bread then every single bit of that bread will be affected. That includes your beliefs about salvation by the way.
So what are we saying when we make statements like “It’s ok that we believe differently about this one thing, as long as we agree on salvation.”
We are showing our contempt for the truth. We are saying that what God says about these other things isn’t really vital. So we call Jesus a liar when He says in Matthew 4 verse 4 that man shall live by EVERY word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We try to act like not every word from God is the difference between life and death.
We try to act like it’s ok to ignore the leaven…the false doctrine and beliefs for the sake of unity. But we don’t consider that light and dark do not have unity. So well meaning as the idea may be…ultimately it is only showing contempt for the word of God.
Let me give you an example. Lets pretend you believe the Bible says we don’t have to give to those in need. Lets say you believe it just makes the suggestion that it is good to do so, but it really isn’t important.
So you don’t.
Then you stand before God at the judgment thinking…ok I know what Jesus said about how to be saved. I’m going to be ok because I believed in Him.
Then Jesus quotes from Matthew chapter 25.
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
And then you may quote:
Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
And He will answer:
I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Your false belief caused you to refuse to show love for others. How does that affect salvation?
The Bible says he who is forgiven much loves much, but he who is forgiven of little loves little. And it also says that you can’t say you love if you have what another needs and refuse to give it.
Now how does this belief affect your salvation? Because if you had known that loving your brother meant you give to them what you are able to then you would have known you had no love and that would mean you had no forgiveness…meaning you need to reexamine your salvation.
So in this simple example you can see how one false belief about something so “trivial” affects everything else.
And what if you are still saved? What happens to all those who see the church not even able to agree on what is in the Bible and so they deny God? All because we think it’s ok to disagree over the word of God.
How many of us making the statement “It’s ok to disagree as long as we agree on salvation” will meet Jesus and hear Him say:
“Come with me, let me show you the souls in hell because of your contempt for my word.”
It’s not ok. It’s not ok for us to believe something that isn’t true, and it’s not ok for us to let others believe it either.
It’s time to stop dividing into denominations, which is choosing to listen only to what we believe and start listening to the truth. It’s time to honor every word of God as life giving and vital.
But how can we know what is true, you may ask?! Stop believing any man now or in times past had a monopoly on truth. Just because a “church father” taught something that has been believed by everyone for centuries doesn’t mean they were right!
Just because you already believe something to be true doesn’t mean it is.
So test your beliefs. Test them against what is in the Bible. Don’t ignore a single solitary verse because they all fit together. If one verse contradicts what you believe the other verses say then either you are wrong about the other verses or you are wrong about that one verse. Either way you need to get to the truth.
Because no one wants to hear Jesus say look at those in hell because you didn’t care enough about my word.