“For it is good that the heart be established by grace” (Hebrews 13:9).

Reuben was as “unstable as water” and therefore would not excel (Genesis 49:4). By contrast, John the Immerser was no “reed shaken by the wind” (Matthew 11:7). The Athenians were always after a new doctrine—they spent their time “in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). The Galatians were quick[1] to leave the gospel. It surprised Paul, who said, “I marvel[2] that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Paul wrote of others who were “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).

Study your Bible.

Jesus said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). There are certain things that are true, and will always be true. They are true when you are three years old and hear them for the first time. They are true when you are ten years old and understand them for the first time. They are true the day you leave for college, and the day your first child is born. They are true in the middle of the night, and in a storm. They are true when you stand at your parent’s grave, and when you face an inoperable malignancy. They are true on the glorious day when you meet God.

Don’t be moved away from these truths:

  1. God: There is an all-powerful God in heaven who loves you (Genesis 1:1; John 3:16).
  2. Christ: Jesus is God’s Son who died for your sins and will one day be your Judge (John 8:24; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
  3. Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit leads us by His written Word (Ephesians 6:17).
  4. Scripture: The Bible is the Word of God, and every word of it is true (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
  5. Church: Jesus built one church, and that church is the church of Christ (Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16; Ephesians 1:22–23; 4:4).
  6. Salvation: Baptism is necessary for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
  7. Worship: Is a privilege (1 Peter 2:4–8); must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24); instrumental music is a sin (Revelation 22:18–19). Men are to be the leaders (1 Timothy 2:8).
  8. Holiness: God expects His people to live holy lives (Titus 2:11–12).
  9. Eternity: Heaven and hell are real places, and everybody will go to one or the other (Matthew 25:46).
  10. Judgment: Judgment Day comes (Matthew 25:31–33).

Avoid an undue desire of pleasing others (Galatians 1:6–10).

Martin Luther King observed: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”[3]

Adopt a cautious attitude toward new doctrinal positions.

“Don’t believe everything you hear.” Walter Truett Anderson observed:

Never has any civilization made available to its populace such a smorgasbord of realities. Never has a communications system like the contemporary mass media made information about religion—all religions—available to so many people. Never has a society allowed its people to become consumers of belief, and allowed belief—all beliefs—to become merchandise.

Albert Barnes has a good explanation Hebrews 13:9:

We should have settled and fixed points of belief, and not yield to every new opinion that comes along. The apostle does not exhort them to adhere to an opinion merely because they had before held it, or because it was an old opinion, nor does he forbid their following the leadings of truth though they might be required to abandon what they had before held; but he cautions them against that vacillating spirit, and that easy credulity, which would lead them to yield to any novelty, and to embrace an opinion because it was new or strange.

“A double-minded man, [is] unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Unstable souls are easily “enticed”[4]—caught with the devil’s bait (2 Peter 2:14; cf. James 1:14–16).

We must “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven” (Colossians 1:23). The word “settled” (KJV) is a metaphor of seated in a chair. We are also to be “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught” (Colossians 2:7).

Draw near to God (James 4:7–8).

We should pray for understanding: “Ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6–7). The false teachers of Peter’s day were in error concerning the second coming of Christ because they were willingly ignorant (2 Peter 3:5).

All of us should make time every day for personal devotion—Bible study and prayer—whether we are in college, busy at work, or busy at home as young parents. Knowledge is a living thing that requires maintenance. We forget what we knew if we do not renew. To ensure growth in Bible knowledge, we should (1) seek opportunities to talk informally about the Bible often, and (2) volunteer to teach classes or preach sermons. Knowing someone may ask us a Bible question should encourage us to be prepared.

Don’t look for an easier way to heaven.

There are no short-cuts, so do not look for them (Matthew 7:13–14). Heaven will surely be worth it all.

Know what you believe, and believe what you know.

Endnotes:

[1] Probably only a couple years.

[2] Often used by Greek orators to mean surprise as something reprehensible (Barnes).

[3] Quotemeal at www.heartlight.org.

[4] Enticed. This word is only found here, 2 Peter 2:18, and James 1:14. From δέλεαρ, a bait. An appropriate word from Peter the fisherman (Vincent’s Word Studies).

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