Is Sincerity Sometimes Enough?

Christians have long objected to the demands for union and tolerance among denominational people. We have rightly pointed out that sincerity is simply not sufficient in determining acceptance before the Almighty. The claim that as long as a person is sincere in his worship, he is accepted by God does not jibe with what is revealed in His will. Notice Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. "Many will say to Me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" This verse clearly indicates that acceptance by God is dependent upon obedience to Him. He is accepted who, "does the will of My Father in heaven."

Other verses teach the same exact thing. Notice II John, verse 9, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son." John is stating that acceptance by God is contingent upon fidelity to his revelation.

We may notice as well that God expects us to mark and avoid those with whom He has no fellowship. Following the declaration of John noted above, he further states in verses 10 and 11, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."

It is alarming that some brethren are now espousing the fellowship of someone who teaches false doctrine, or practices certain sins. Such clearly conflicts with the principles we enumerated above. However, some believe that they have found a "loophole" in the fourteenth chapter of Romans. The contention is that the principles outlined in that chapter, in which we are to, "Receive one who is weak in the faith, {but} not to disputes over doubtful things" (vs. 1), includes matters of doctrine.

Not only does this conflict with such passages as II John 9-11, as indicated above, it also does violence to the context of the chapter. Notice the following about the scenarios, (eating of meats, and observance of days), as revealed in the context.

In effect, God does not care whether one eats or not. It is a matter of indifference to God, and therefore those who differ should receive one another. To insert matters of faith or doctrine, or things sinful into this passage does violence to the context. Put other things into the context...false teaching, adultery, immorality, idolatry, etc., and the true meaning of Romans 14 becomes clear. To say that any Christian could practice sin, or espouse false doctrine and do it "to the Lord" is absurd! There is no comfort to be found in that great chapter for those who would fellowship error. Brethren, let us remain pure!

By Stan Cox

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