One Bible - Many Churches
Does it matter what we believe?

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Faith in the word of God
The essential feature of the process is faith in the word of God. This is the beginning of the new life, the basis of true religion. The Apostle Peter writes of being “born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). This is why so many parts of the New Testament lay emphasis upon the necessity for faith:

“He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.” (John 1:11,12)

“Without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe …” (Hebrews 11:6)

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:15,16)

Faith or superstition
As faith is so important, it stands to reason that the faith which God requires cannot mean believing in what is false or self-invented. The faith which God insists on is faith in what is true, because faith in what is false is really superstition. The Bible says, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). It tells us that ultimately a man’s actions are conditioned and regulated by what he believes, and therefore it follows that a false belief could result in a false life.

The writers of the New Testament knew this and were constantly urging the believers to hold fast to the truth. Consider the strong words which the Apostle Paul used on this very issue:

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8,9)

These are solemn sentences. Paul pronounces a double curse on those who preach falsehood. This is an example of the ‘intolerance’ already referred to. It is so different from the modern attitude of easy tolerance towards ideas about God which are totally divergent and sometimes mutually destructive. Paul insisted that the Gospel he preached was the truth and anything which contradicted it was a lie. He maintained that there was a definable standard of truth about God and His purpose and those who departed from it were in danger.
It is popular today to say that the Christian faith cannot be defined in propositions. It is supposed to be too personal and too mystical for that. It is this point of view which encourages so many to say that it does not matter what you believe or which church you join. But such a view is manifestly false, measured by the teaching of the New Testament where the church is called “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). There is a solemn duty laid on all believers to ensure that their faith and their church are built on that true foundation, as it is revealed in the Bible.

When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman about true religion, he used some very significant words:

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him.” (John 4:23)

What Jesus meant was that true religion does not consist of mere outward show and external ritual, nor only the performance of certain acts of praise and submission, but rather it is an inward condition, of the spirit and not just of the letter. This emphasises the importance of living according to the way God has commanded. It is possible to praise God with our lips but in our lives to dishonour Him. It is possible to sing songs of submission and bow our heads in humility and yet in our hearts to be as proud as peacocks. We prove the truth of our religion by the obedience of our lives. The need is to discover the truth by humble reference to God’s word, and to apply it in daily living. This is worship “in spirit and truth”. CONTINUE ...

 


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