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Doctrinal Matters: Bible Interpretation

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Truth and Feelings

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Many people in society contend that there is no absolute right way to do things. The idea is that one way might be right for you, but not for another person. Each person does what feels right to him, and that is right for him. This view says that your way is fine for you and my way is fine for me, and everyone does what he thinks is right. Each way is as good as another and none should be called the right way.

This idea is especially common in religion. The masses are content to believe that one religion is as good as another. Most think that as long as a person is sincere in what he believes, then that person is alright. According to this idea, the various religions, denominations, churches, and synagogues are all just different ways to get to the same place. Those who think this way do not believe that any one religion is the right religion. It might be the right religion or church for you, but it cannot be the right religion, because they believe there is no one right religion or church. Is this idea correct? Is there no real, absolute truth? Are all churches and religions just as good as another? Let’s see how this idea works in real life.

Suppose a math teacher places the following problem on the board for her class 2 + 2 = ____. She explains to her class that this is an all-or-nothing quiz. The correct answer is worth 100 points. A wrong answer results in a zero. Suppose a person feels very sure that the answer is five. In fact, suppose the teacher goes out of the room and the entire class votes that the answer is five. Furthermore, suppose the history teacher comes in while the math teacher is out, and explains that the answers three, four, and five should be acceptable as long as each student firmly believes that the answer he or she writes is right. Is any answer except four going to be right? Absolutely not!

Sadly, people do not see that the same principle applies to religion. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” In John 14:6, Jesus boldly stated: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” It really is as simple as 2 + 2. There is only one way to heaven, and Jesus is it. This is hard for some people to accept, but it is the truth—the absolute, unchanging truth. All those people who are trying to get to heaven through Buddha, Muhammad, Judaism, or countless other religions will be lost if they do not turn to Jesus and do things His way.

It also is the case that many sincere people feel that they are doing right, but are not. The apostle Paul is a great example of this. Paul (whose name was first Saul) thought that Christians were wicked. He thought they were pulling people away from the true way to heaven that he believed was found in the Jewish religion. Because of this sincere belief, he persecuted the Christians. He obtained authority from Jewish authorities to throw Christians in prison. When Christians were on trial for their lives, Paul voted that they should be killed. He sincerely believed that he was doing what God wanted him to do. In Acts 23:1, while he was speaking to the Jewish leaders, Paul said, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Paul felt as though he was serving God, but he was not. In fact, he was serving Satan and fighting against God, in spite of his sincere motive. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong.

When Christ appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, He told him that he was sinning (Acts 9). He instructed Paul to go into the city of Damascus where he would be told what he must do to get right with God. Saul believed Jesus, and did exactly as he was instructed. After Paul prayed and fasted for three days, a man named Ananias came to Paul and told him to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Paul was baptized for the remission of his sins, and was added to the one true church that belongs to Christ. Paul’s sincerity did him no good until he found and obeyed the truth.

In John 8:32, Jesus explained, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Later, Jesus explained that God’s Word “is truth” (John 17:17). We have been given God’s Word—the Bible. Jesus said that these words will judge us in the last day (John 12:48). At the Judgment, our lives will be compared to the truth found in the New Testament. If we have followed Jesus’ words, we will go to heaven. If we have not followed them, regardless of how sincere we were, we will go to hell.

North is always north, two plus two always equals four, and Jesus is the only way to get to God and heaven. Let us live our lives, not according to what “feels” right, but according to the truth that is found only in the Bible.




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