Where Do You Stand?
By Grant Phillips
I have much respect for those who hold to their beliefs based upon God’s Word, the Bible. Today, far too many are wishy-washy about the things of God. Jesus said, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:26-27) Just prior to this statement He said of another, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
The Apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (ESV) Paul followed up in 2 Timothy 2:15 with this statement, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (NASB)
We immediately see in these verses that (1) we must have a solid foundation, (2) we must stand firm on that foundation, and (3) we must accurately handle the Word of Truth that sits on that foundation of God, which is of His Son Jesus Christ.
Many reasons come to mind for not being on the firm foundation of God’s Truth, but instead upon the loose sand of human opinion:
First of all the one spouting their religious beliefs may not even know the God of whom they speak.
Secondly, they may be lazy and not accurately handle the Word of Truth, but depend upon others opinions or even their own.
Thirdly, they may be coerced by some religious organization’s mandates.
Fourthly, they may have pre-conceived beliefs that have been drummed into them from earlier years.
Fifthly, they may be interested only in attempting to make God’s Word agree with them, instead of them agreeing with God’s Word.
Sixthly, they may be so bull-headed, they just won’t listen to anything other than what they think is correct. In other words, these are those who would cut off their nose to spite their face. Let’s take a little time, and look closer at these in example number six.
They won’t listen to anyone but themselves. They think they are right and everyone else is wrong. They major in subjectivity and objectivity is out the door.
I have found that one of the greatest reasons for becoming stale in the Word is not being objective in our thinking. Now, just what does that mean, being objective that is?
Objectivity is being free of bias or prejudice caused by our own personal feelings. It means we consider the facts as set before us rather than thoughts or opinions. To listen and/or read objectively is to consider the teaching before us without being swayed into the quicksand of error. That isn’t always easy, and requires guidance by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, prayer for guidance is a definite prerequisite.
As an example, I have come to a firm belief about, “What must I do to be saved.” (Acts 16:31) I have read what the Bible says. I have listened to and read the opinions of others. I have compared the two, and I remain unchanged. If you read my articles, you know exactly where I stand on this truth, and it will not change. I have done the same with the truth of eternal security. Some like to call it “Once saved, always saved” (OSAS). Again, if you read my articles, you know where I stand, and it will not change.
These two truths and others concern issues that must not be denied. Other truths for example would be: Jesus is God. He was born of a virgin. He died and rose again. He is the only way to God. There is death and then the judgment. There are others, but hopefully, you get the idea. It is not being bull-headed to not flinch on these basic truths. Unfortunately, many who call themselves Christians flinch. Some even flat out deny these truths.
Some issues are important, but not a must for salvation. For example, I firmly believe in what we call the Rapture of the Church prior to the commonly called time of seven-years Tribulation upon this earth. Some do not, and that is okay as far as the eternal welfare of our soul is concerned. All of us will not agree all the time, but again, this doctrine is about the rapture not salvation.
Let me offer another example. I believe in the doctrine of baptism, but not as a prerequisite or requisite for salvation. Some believe that it is a requirement to be saved. Which is correct? I stand on Ephesians 2:8-9. I repeat. If you read my articles, you know exactly where I stand on this Biblical issue, and it will not change.
Is it wrong to be dogmatic? No, unless you’re dogmatically wrong. But if you will never listen with an open mind, how are you going to know?
Who do we listen to with an open mind to learn? We can listen to others and learn, but more importantly, we can listen to God, via the Bible, and learn. Our aim should be that of the Bereans. “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” (Acts 17:11 NLT)
Have you ever met someone who will not even listen to a contrary view? Of course you have! I’m aware of entire organizations that fit this category. They are locked in their erroneous ways and will not change because they will not listen. They refuse to practice the Berean philosophy.
We may disagree on matters that don’t affect our eternal destiny, and that is okay, but when it does affect our eternal destiny, we had better be sure that we are standing on the firm foundation that Jesus Christ has laid out for us all.
Where you do stand?