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)
2. It will bring divine judgment upon others who look to us for instruction or example. Referring to the Pharisees, Jesus said to His disciples, "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Matthew 15:14
III. How you can be sure you have the right beliefs. God’s Word is the only sure and certain guide in all matters of faith.
1. Make sure you have the right belief concerning God! Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
2. Make sure you have the right belief concerning yourself! Romans 3:23 reminds us “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Unless and until, we recognize that we are sinners will we ever feel our need of salvation.
3. Make sure you have the right belief concerning God’s plan for your salvation! Probably the best known verse of Scripture is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” And in that verse there is enough Gospel to save the entire world if everyone simply believed it. Paul gives us an insight as to how this wonderful salvation comes to pass in Ephesians 2:8-10. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
My friend, sincerity is very important but it has no value and gives no victory unless what we are sincere about is true!