Richard Weirich

Unbalanced Christian Faith

Unbalanced Christian Faith

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.

Hebrews 13:9

Christianity grew out of the religion of the Jews. But the sacrificial rituals once used in the tabernacle were no longer useful or valid. The shed blood of Christ at Calvary was the once and for all sacrifice that satisfied God’s demand for sin. Christians need nothing more than faith in Jesus to enter God’s throne of grace.

(For a better understanding of the old sacrificial system see Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14:13-20.)

God promised a new covenant through the prophet, Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 31:31) That prophecy was fulfilled in Christ during the event we call The Last Supper. Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20) Jesus’ sacrifice as “the lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19) did away with the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.

Now, as this teaching relates to today, it is important for us to recognize that this new covenant is the only covenant. No other religion, philosophy, or belief system can be intertwined with Christianity.

There is no other way to God except through Jesus. (John 14:6) Morgan Freeman is a great actor, but his Story of God series is a good example of trying to mix the philosophy de jour with Christian doctrine. He implies our God is the same as the gods of other religions. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is but one God, one way, and one truth. It’s like trying to mix oil and water. Don’t buy the false teaching that all the major world religions serve the same God. When Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” He ruled out any other means of fellowship with God.

I have heard it said that since God is love, He’ll make a place for everyone in heaven. That’s a false assumption. It is true that the Lord doesn’t want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)

But there remains only one way to heaven. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

Although that ransom is for all people, the offer of God’s grace is a matter of personal choice. Any decision other than following Christ rescinds the offer of eternal life. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)

The author of our focus text warns: “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” Strange teachings can be of human (Colossians 2:22) or demonic origin (1 Timothy 4:1).

Multiple New Testament passages warn us to beware of false prophets and teachers. They are depicted as “savage wolves” who “distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) Their false teaching “causes divisions” (Romans 16:17) and is not helpful for building up the body of Christ, but rather destructive and disruptive.

The goal of every Christian is to grow in the faith, but false teaching renders that pursuit impossible. Such careless instruction causes us to chase after baseless theories, theological heresy, and philosophical ramblings, thus keeping our faith in infancy. (Ephesians 4:14)

Notice that in our focus text we are shown the way that avoids the trap of false teaching. “It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace…”  It is not ritual, strictly adhering to rules, or admirable performance that saves you. Only by grace through faith in Christ are you saved.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Guard your heart and mind and keep your focus on the Lord who saved you. And watch out for philosophies and pop culture that seek to blend Christianity into a worldly stew.

For more on this topic, check out this article: You Can’t Fake Your Way Into Heaven

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

 

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