Opinions are a dime a dozen. Everyone has one, and not all of them are correct. At times, they’re influenced by circumstances, or by cultural influence, but quite often opinions are formed when “someone told me this is so.” Sadly, it’s no different in the church. In Jesus’ time, as throughout history, many people with religious power held true to traditions, and kept the scriptures suppressed to maintain influence. So with all of this in mind, I have one question for you, dear Christian: if no one had told you what following Jesus looked like, and all you read was the Bible, would you believe the things you do? I’m not trying to start a culture war or rebellion against your preacher, or anything like that, but I desire that you would dive in to the richness of God’s word for yourself.
The reason I say all of this is that having been being involved with many discussions with people who hold to varying beliefs about the Bible, I can’t help but wonder if we know the Author of Scripture. Paul tells Timothy that “All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness that the man of God may be fully equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And yet, especially when arguing for our traditions or points of view, we ignore key scriptures: not to get involved with pointless arguments (Titus 3:9, 2 Timothy 2:23), to speak only what is profitable for building up (Ephesians 4:29), and, most importantly, to love one another (too many New Testament scriptures to count!). Yet as it stands, the church is divided, and not along lines of essential doctrine (we should stand against those who corrupt the scriptures!), but of trivialities that have nothing to do with salvation! So we have to stop, examine the scriptures, and ask ourselves this: if someone had not told us what the scriptures say, or our traditions, or the what to believe, and if we examined our view of Christ and the Church from a purely scriptural standpoint, would we believe the things we do? Hebrews 4:1-13
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.