Summary: What we believe makes a difference in every area of life.
IT REALLY DOES MATTER
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25
Many years ago, in my high school chemistry class, a little poem was often quoted. Its effort at humor may have been lacking but the consequences of an erroneous belief were certainly well depicted. It goes
“Alas for little Willie,
We’ll ne’er see Willie more,
For what he thought was H2O,
Was H2 SO4.”
The statement "It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you are sincere" is infinitely more dangerous in one’s spiritual life than in the physical world in which we live. Having a wrong belief in the physical world may lead to injury, sickness or death but in the spiritual world it ends in eternal death. The scripture concludes: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." Proverbs 14:12.
I. What we believe makes a difference in every area of life.
In our physical life it matters in regard to food, drink, medication, habit or environmental exposure, etc. Our ignorance of the consequence does not minimize the danger. How often have we said: "I thought it was good"; "I thought it was safe"; "I really thought that it was a good investment", etc. only to find out that our thinking it did not necessarily make it so.
II. Life’s most tragic miscalculation….being wrong spiritually.
A. Being wrong spiritually has serious temporal consequences:
1. The religious bigot who believes that only his little group shall be saved to the exclusion of other believers. Such a belief robs an individual of a broader fellowship. Consider: “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands.” (Revelation 5:11 NASB)
2. Then we have the irresponsible fanatic who permits his child to die (or suffer) rather than take him to a doctor or permit him to have a blood transfusion. If an adult chooses such a course for himself, well and good! But to impose such a belief upon a defenseless child is barbaric!
3. Today’s Pharisees with a "holier than thou" attitude, hinder many. The Scripture is clear, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:5; 1 Peter 5:5. We need to strive to exhibit the attitude that Paul expressed. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. (I Timothy 1:15-16 NIV*)
B. Being wrong spiritually has serious eternal consequences:
1. It will bring eternal damnation upon ourselves. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." (John 3:36) Jesus declared, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)