When questions arise about God – people tend to come up with shallow and evasive statements. A classic one is:
“It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere”
Really? They would never dream of applying that motto to any other area of life. G.K.Chesterton once said;
“When men cease to believe in God, they do not believe in nothing, they believe in anything”.
Sincerity fits today’s tolerant society and the only virtue that has escaped the corroding cynicism of today’s moral decline, but it also gives the false hope that everyone automatically goes to heaven. Again, it appeals because in one stroke it removes any obligation and risk of being challenged by what the Bible has to offer. Those who use such evasive statements are content not to think about the really important matters of life because it will mean a radical lifestyle change. The gospel is a call to self-denial, not a call for self-fulfillment (Luke 9:23-26). It takes courage to face opposition and the offence of the cross to examine the abundant evidence available, whether there is a God or not; if Jesus rose from the dead or not; if He will accept us or not. To hide our heads in the sand by using shallow opinions and refusing a critical examination of scripture is avoiding life’s most important question, a question that leads from darkness to life eternal to those who remain faithful. God has left it to individuals to decide, but they must be warned of the consequences of unbelief. In Matt 7:24-27 Jesus records the contrast between the man who built his house upon the rock and the one who built his house upon the sand, the storms beat upon both houses but only the house upon the rock stood firm. If you have convinced yourself you only need to be sincere; is as dangerous as building your life upon the instability of sand, materialism and money, according to Paul in 1 Timothy 6:17
“Money is so unstable, (Confirmed by Covid 19) so put your hope in God”.
Sincere assumptions may sound good but offer no foundation for life. Whether or not you take the Bible as the final authority from God, you must at least concede that God has revealed Himself through the most significant book in the world, which has changed more lives for good than anything else, remains the world’s best seller so surely it must deserve a hearing, especially the Bible’s claim that Jesus is the way the truth and the life, and all Scripture has been inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). Human wisdom is temporary, divine wisdom is permanent. Paul said,
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
No one could be more sincere than the religious Pharisees who thought they had every detail of God’s Law mastered, but Jesus said,
“Listen to them but do not do what they do, for they don’t practice what they preach.” (Matt 23:3).
Christians are to remain faithful to the certainty of the risen Christ. It’s easy to be sincere, but so many good people can be badly misled by it. The most important question you will ever face in life is; will you surrender to the living Christ or reject the gospel as utterly foolish?
Sincere people who don’t face life’s most important question are the foolish ones who will face God’s judgement because of unbelief.
Author: John Shepherd, Napier church of Christ.