What should I believe as truth?
Gullible birds will ignorantly swallow whatever they are fed. Many in church do the same. But with so many conflicting teachings of men, what should I believe?
If we discover truth we will have discovered the key that unlocks the chains that bind us. The responsibility of our souls lie with each one of us to discover truth and to be set free. Truth is readily available. The source in the Bible. We just need to be willing to discover it to truly set us free.
John Wycliffe said that we should read the Bible for ourselves. He knew and taught against the errors of the prevailing doctrines in the church of his day. And even though he served within it, he read scripture for himself and for itself.
See also How to discern truth.
There are those who will ask you: “What church to you belong to?” What they want to know is what predefined box you fit into so that they can put a predefined label on you.
My Answer is: “To whatever church Jesus belongs!”
The religious orders of the day were frustrated with Jesus because of what He taught. This was because it did not comply with their teachings. They could not box and label Him by the predefined doctrines of men that were designed to appease God but not to know and love Him. Their religion consisted of rules and traditions of men, but they excluded the life of God. So what should I believe?
Appeasing God or Pleasing Him?
Much of the church today runs along the same path. They formulate what they choose to understand rather than what God has said. It is easier to form a religion that can be included into their life without them actually living for God. They pay tribute to rules and regulations, and doctrines of men that are easy to pay but do not touch the heart of the believer.
God is not a path of man’s systematic theology, or a religion based upon principles of men. He is the way. He doesn’t bow to man’s doctrine but is in Himself the truth, and all truth comes from Him. And whoever wishes to walk in peace with God and obtain eternal life, needs to surrender their own life and walk in His Spirit, for He is the life, and all things have their being through Him (Joh 14:6).
God does not want to be appeased with religion. He desires living, free moral beings who will recognize Him for who He is, and who will choose to live their lives in Him. By this alone can He be pleased with His choice creation in man.
Who can know God?
God designed scripture to enable man to know Him and His purpose for man’s creation. His Word is not confusing. For He is not a God of confusion (1Co 14:33). There is nothing that He will withhold from those who want to know Him, and have His purpose fulfilled in them. Contrarily, the world cannot know Him because their depraved minds cannot accept the things of God (Rom 8:7). But all things are laid open for them who will seek truth for what it is and abide by it.
Some may say: “Who can know God or His intentions?” No one can know the heart of another except the spirit of the other. Similarly, only the Spirit of God can understand God. However, we have been given the mind of Christ so that we may know Him and His purpose in us (1Co 2:12). Therefore, whoever wants to know the heart of God needs only surrender himself to Him and learn to walk in His Spirit.
Test everything you are taught
Don’t let the religion of men get in the way of your life in God. Read and understand what the scriptures say for themselves(1Th 5:21). You will achieve this by:
- Sincere repentance and faith in Christ – God only reveals Himself and His truth to those of His own.
- Learning the principles of discerning truth.
- Seeking God earnestly in prayer for understanding.
- Being prepared to forsake that what you have been taught in the teachings of men should it run contrary to revealed truth.
- Being prepared to obey the truth that has been shown you in scripture so that more truth can be entrusted to you (For if you are found faithful in the little you have been given, God will give you more).
What I should believe is found in the source of truth – the Bible. Ask God to verify or negate what is being taught behind the pulpit through His Word. And if you ask in faith without wavering, He will give it to you. (James 1:5-6)
Even prominent leaders can be wrong
If the doctrines of men do not comply with scripture then question their doctrine. Do not glibly accept what is taught just because it comes from the pulpit, even if the teacher is a Doctor or Professor of their doctrines. There are many doctors of religion, and many of these contradict each others’ doctrine. (Hence so many off-shoots of religions and denominations). It stands to reason then that it is impossible for them all to be right regarding any particular doctrine.
I do not say that we are to ignore what teachers say. Going to church is imperative for growth and fellowship. For the gospel can only be spread through the media of faithful men and women who teach the truth. But the responsibility lies with us to verify what they teach by testing it with the Word of God. Test all things. Truth cannot contradict itself. There cannot be two opposing truths to one argument. The antithesis of one truth, whatever it may be, is falsehood. If something seams contradictory to what you believe then pursue it until you discover the truth.
The truth of God alone will set you free
It is only the truth of God that can set us truly free (Joh 8:32). If we choose to believe the doctrines of men that oppose the truth of God’s Word, we will be kept in darkness and the freedom that truth brings will evade us. But if we choose to pursue truth, no matter where it may lead us, we will be set free from the bondages and fears of this world, and will be able to walk in the light of the freedom of God in this life and in the life to come.
How do we select a church that teaches truth?
False doctrines started creeping into the church in the apostles’ day (1John 2:18), and have continued to gain weight ever since. Doctrines and creeds of men have been introduced into the church which were designed to appease God, not necessarily love Him, and for the purpose of self-gain (selfishness). Many of these doctrines have been established not by truth, but by deceit, political influence, slander and often murder. One only needs to research the persecution of many noble saints who were burned at the stake, imprisoned, tortured, excommunicated, banished to other countries, and branded as heretics because their teachings were more truthful than those of the prevailing church, etc.
Today this progression of false doctrines has infiltrated every sphere of church universally. Every denomination claims to have sole ownership of truth, yet these “truths” differ from other churches.
As falsehood was prevalent in Jesus’ time, so it is today. But this does not mean that we cannot obtain sufficient truth to be saved and enter eternal life through having the supreme love of our lives being God in Christ.
God ensures that the earnest seeker will find Him, despite many doctrinal errors in the church universally.
What are the main doctrines that I should believe?
The main focuses of truth should be:
- Our realisation and confession of our sin and that it is our sin that has separated us from God and eternal life with Him.
- That our punishment is warranted, having sinned against the infinite righteousness of the eternal and infinitely holy God, thereby deserving eternal retribution.
- That through the love and mercy of God for His cherished creation – mankind, He sent Jesus as His eternal Son to be the perfect propitiation / exchange and payment for our sin so that we could be reconciled to God through Christ.
- That we exercise faith in the truth of the gospel, repent of our sin (for it is our sin that separated us from Him in the first place), and by that faith receive and walk in the presence of God in Christ.
Let me know your thoughts on the above at firstname.lastname@example.org