Does it really make any difference what we believe and practice in religion?
Consider five key passages:
Jesus commanded followers to teach new disciples “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).
How many things could be left out and still fulfill this command? Would seventy-five percent or even ninety percent qualify for “all things”? Surely the goal of every church should be to teach one hundred percent of Christ’s doctrine.
Jesus once gave a sobering preview of Judgment Day: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Claiming allegiance is insufficient. Saying is no substitute for obeying. How much of God’s will can be rejected and still meet the standard of doing the Father’s will? Will one gamble his soul that God did not mean what He said in “this verse,” or that we can omit “that practice” because it does not fit our preferences or modern culture?
Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Since only the truth sets free, how much error can be mixed with it before it ceases to invigorate and liberate? Can we mix God’s doctrine and man’s doctrines in equal amounts? (cf. Mark 7:7–8). No, the only safe percentage is all of God’s doctrine, and none of man’s. The devil added only one word to God’s original command (Genesis 3:3–4), but it ruined Eve. Rat poison is deadly although it is ninety-nine percent wheat and only one percent poison.
Paul wrote, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6–8).
Different “gospels” bring a curse. Christ’s gospel saves (Romans 1:16); no other message can (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
The Bible’s final warning says: “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:18–19).
In light of this, should we add new doctrines today? Is it safe to omit what the Holy Spirit included?
It really does make a difference. Pilate’s advice is still worth following: “Make it as sure as ye can” (Matthew 27:65).