“They (the apostles) told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.” (Jude 1:17 NLT)
Considering recent posts that I’ve written, the Lord prompted me to address a question that some may have. Someone may think: “So does it really matter what I believe, as long as I don’t cause division in the Body of Christ?” The fact is it matters very much what we believe. Some form of “believe, belief, faith” is used nearly 350 times in the New Testament alone.
We’re instructed in the Bible to believe many things related to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, prayer, the Gospel, holy living and on and on. Right living results from right belief. We live based on what we believe. But my point is that none of us get it all right. We’re all flawed human beings with imperfect minds and hearts.
My heart is to promote unity and loving tolerance within the Body of Christ, not to excuse heresy or teachings that clearly disregard or contradict Scripture. Jesus didn’t come to bring unity to the world, He came to bring unity to His Church, His Body, His eternal Family. Jesus certainly loves the world, but only those who trust Him and choose to believe and follow Him are invited into His eternal Family.
As one of my readers rightly pointed out, Jesus’ teachings can be very divisive, demanding we come to terms with what we believe about Him. We must also recognize that that decision alone will often bring division between us and those who don’t believe in Jesus, even within our own families. But even then, we don’t have to be obnoxious as if we’re better than those who don’t yet believe in Him.
We’re sinners saved by grace and still capable of anything anyone else in the world could do, say, or think. I love Jesus with as much of my heart as I know to give Him, but apart from the power of His Spirit I’m no better than the worst of sinners. We’re saved by grace, but we also live by grace. That’s why it’s so important to keep short accounts with God and others.
As God teaches and leads me from day to day, He will point out areas of my life that need to change. Ideas, intentions, attitudes, anything that’s unlike Him must go. That’s why I can’t be critical of another believer. We’re all works in progress.
It’s also critical that I’m kind, caring, polite, thoughtful, and non-judgmental even of those who don’t yet believe. I’m not aware of anyone who has ever been argued into the Kingdom of God. Yes, of course, I speak with unbelievers, but my life must speak much more loudly than my lips. I might think I believe perfectly and explain things with authority, but if it’s not done with love, humility, and kindness, I’ve missed the point of sharing in the first place.
Perhaps the Apostles’ Creed can serve as a starting point for our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ, which says: “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived from the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, who will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (the Body of Christ worldwide) Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “Does It Matter What We Believe?”
Thank you for your words. As followers of Jesus we must be so careful to stand for him and live grace-fully. B Blessed!
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