There are different opinions concerning what people believe. Some say that sincerity is enough. But, the Bible is the proper standard of judgment. It is the final word. My opinion or your opinion does not matter. What matters is what God says, not what we think or feel. There is a vast difference between judging according to one’s own standard (Prov. 14:12) and making judgments according to God’s standard (John 12:48). As the Lord’s people, we are to make “righteous” judgments (John 7:24)! We are to recognize, respect, accept and follow God’s judgments. Notice the difference between what man says and what God says.

Man says: “The important thing is whether or not one loves God, not keeping commandments.” God says: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). If we do not keep God’s commandments, how can we please God? Why did He give His holy word if it's not to be kept? Man is the one who says we don't have to keep God’s commandments. God doesn't say that.

Man says: “Thank God for the many churches so that man may find the one that best suits him.” God says: “There is ONE body...ONE faith” (Eph. 4:4-5). Christ “is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18). He will save his body and no other (Eph. 5:23). Those in his body, the church (Col. 1:18), will be saved and those not in his body (Eph. 1:22-23) will be lost. Are you in the one body, the one faith, the church?

Man says: “Join the church of your choice.” God says: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13). “Let there be no divisions among you” (1 Cor. 1:10). The Bible says nothing about joining a church. It says God adds, man doesn't join. Where does God give man a choice? This may sound good, but cannot be supported from the holy Scriptures.

Man says: “Each person should follow the way that seems right to him and that honesty and conscience direct.” God says: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). “...The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). When man follows his own way and conscience, he will not be following God’s way. Man’s feelings and opinions are not the standard. God’s word is the standard. We must accept God’s judgments and honor his commandments.

Man says: “Faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort.” “By ‘faith only’ is a man justified.” God says: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. ... But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? ... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. ... Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:17,20,24,26). “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6).

Man says: “Baptism is not necessary for one to be saved” and has “nothing to do with salvation.” God says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16). “Baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21). At water baptism, one is “...then made free from sin...” and becomes a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:3- 6,18).

Man says: “Baptism is an ordinance that can be administered by sprinkling or pouring as well as by immersion in water.” God says: “We are buried with him by baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4). “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). “They came unto a certain water...and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39).

Man says: “Do not let religion go to your head, make sure you get enough recreation and do other things you would like to do.” God says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). We must count the cost and pay the price of discipleship. Luke 14:26-33 makes this very plain. That means we put first things first.

By Garland M. Robinson

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