Does it MATTER what one Believes?

Does it MATTER what we Believe? part one.

Toward the end of nearly every discussion about the divisive state of the religious world, one will usually say something like this…

“You can’t tell me my sweet grandma (could be neighbor, friend or relative), who never went to church (or did go to a denomination ‘religiously’), who was kind to people and animals, who never said a bad word or did a bad thing, who helped anyone that asked, is lost. She was so very sincere in what she believed.”

Instead of approaching the idea of whether sincerity saves, let’s ask the question:

Does it MATTER what one believes?

Usually in these discussions we can agree that certain very wicked people are lost (the Hitlers and the pedophiles of the world). Are the kind and the sincere who didn’t follow the bible totally saved because of their sincerity and goodness?

We’ll set aside the fact that those who say this are suggesting a ‘works based’ salvation, which they would normally condemn. We will just look at the Bible and ask, does it MATTER?

Does it MATTER what we believe?

Most would agree that we ought to obey GOD rather than MAN. (Acts 5:29). Jesus was critical of those that created doctrines contrary to the doctrine of God.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” (Mark 7:7-8a)

Usually, they will agree with this point that you have to believe in God, in Christ and in the Bible. But when it comes to saying that the non-Christian religious people are lost, they stop short saying; “I’m not the judge.” This is the fallacy of equivocation. We’re not judging their hearts, we’re making righteous judgment with the Word of God. (cf. Mat 7:1-2)

Paul had ‘judged’ that the Jews of his day were not saved; “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom 10:1-2). He had discerned from the Truth of God’s word that they had not obeyed the gospel and therefore were not saved.

Which brings us to our next point about “does it MATTER,” does your belief AGREE with the Doctrine of Christ?

In both Old and the New Testaments, one had to have a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for their beliefs and actions. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) When King David desired to build a Permanent Temple for God, he was prohibited because he didn’t have a command from God, there was no scriptural command to do this good thing. Therefore, it was a wrong thing. (2Sam 7:1-7)

Here’s the point, God’s word is Objective Truth. It is transparent, researchable, universal to all, for the thinking person, and it is heavenly (cf. James 3:17). Compare the objective Word of God to the subjective, shifting sand of a person’s heart. (Mat 7:24-29) “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14)

David appealed to the subjective standard of his feelings. He was pointed toward the OBJECTIVE, fixed standard of God’s Word. We’re told not to go beyond what is written (2Cor 4:13), speak as the oracles of God (1Pet 4:11), the commandments of the Lord (1Cor 14:37), the inspired Scriptures (2Tim 3:16-17), using the words chosen by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:9-13), and not to add to nor take away from the Word (Rev 22:18-19).

Then, in this 3rd point, when we have an objective standard, called the TRUTH (John 17:17), we have an ability to search the scripture to find out if what we feel is true (Acts 17:11).

Did you know it’s possible to feel secure and not know the Lord has departed from you? (Judges 16:20) Did you know it’s possible to believe a lie? (1Kings 13:18; cf. 2Thess 2:9-12)

By reading & studying God’s word, we can Know the truth and be set free from the bondage of lies, sin, and the corruption of this life. (John 8:32; 12:48; cf. James 1:25; 2:12)

7 Lessons for FATHERS

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.5 million children, more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. Source: U.S. Census Bureau. (2018). Living arrangements of children under 18 years old: 1960 to present.

Those are troubling numbers. FATHERS are vital to any society, but what can the church do about it. We can do what we have been appointed to do, train the brethren who are, or hope to be FATHERS. Let’s look at 7 things the Bible Teaches about FATHERS.

Fathers, and all Christians, are to be FEARLESS & FAITHFUL. An example of both is found in the Parents of Moses when they hid him from Pharoah [Heb 11:23; Ex 2:1-4; cf. Rev 21:8]. “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.”

The second thing, as is seen in the stats above, Fathers are to ABIDE with their children’s mother. Marriage is honorable (Heb 13:4), and it is not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18). Peter wrote, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1Peter 3:7)

With these first two in place, then the third becomes easier. Fathers are to TRAIN their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4; cf. Heb 12:12:3-11). Numerous Proverbs & other Old Testament passages say the same. “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (Prov 29:17)

The fourth thing is somewhat unpopular at the moment, but is still the Truth. Fathers are to be the HEAD of the Household. He is to lead his house both for their physical needs, but especially for their spiritual needs. (1Tim 3:4; Eph 5:23; 1Cor 11:3) Leading the home is a qualification of Elders in the church.

The fifth thing is a warning to fathers not to ENABLE their children. He is to care for them, but that doesn’t mean he is to enable their sin. An example of this is found in Eli of 1Samual 2:27-36 & 3:13-14. “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

RESPECT is to be given to fathers by his family, this is the sixth thing (Heb 12:9; Eph 5:33). But respect must be earned, it cannot be forced. Therefore, this is within his ability to do. Earning RESPECT from anyone requires the person desiring it to be worthy of respect. A good starting place might be 2Peter 1:5-10. “…add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Lastly, Fathers are to provide for the SECURITY of their family. This means that he is to work to provide for the physical needs of his house; “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Tim 5:8) Looking again at the stats at the beginning of this article, one can easily see what happens when a father fails in his duty to provide for his house. Their may be special circumstances that hinder his ability to work, but these do not negate any of his responsibilities. There are many examples of godly men providing for the security of their families, but Job stands out among them all. “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” While we don’t offer burnt offerings today, we fathers must continually pray for our whole family, especially for our children.

Years ago, I was taught how to pray for my children. I pray 5 things for my boys still today.

  • I pray for their Physical health (3John 2).
  • I pray for their Emotional Protection. (Pr 4:23)
  • I pray that they have positive Associates to influence them. (1Cor 15:33)
  • I pray that they may be Coupled in marriage to Godly women. (1Cor 7:39)
  • I pray that they be faithful to God and have an Eternal home in Heaven. (2John 4)

Fathers, we have a vital role to play in the lives of our children, let us do it with purpose & joy.