Questions about religion: 2. Isn’t religion just a matter of personal interpretation and sincerity?

Isn’t religion a matter of personal interpretation and sincerity?

Imagine for a moment you are suffering from a dreadful illness. In a hope to get better you drink something pink-looking from a bottle sincerely believing it to be medicine. In actual fact it is poison. Tragedy is certain to follow.

Sincerity can be a helpful thing, but truth is far more important than even being sincere. There is a difference between deciding what to believe and listing your favourite ten songs in order. One has an absolute answer, the other is subjective.

Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ (John 14 v. 6) Eternal life and eternal death are such important issues that we have to look beyond sincerity. We need truth.

With issues of this magnitude we must resist the danger of allowing personal feelings to keep us from the objective truth there is in Jesus. Faith in Him is not a question of taste and preference, but a matter of eternal significance. The notion ‘That’s okay for you but not for me’ is clearly wrong here. It’s not acceptable.

The issue of a relationship with God is absolutely crucial because mistakes have eternal consequences. It is vital, therefore, that our personal beliefs are correct.

Though there may be different interpretations concerning some less crucial teachings of the Bible, all the major truths are very clear to those who simply take on board what the Bible teaches. There are even summaries in the New Testament of its basic teaching, ‘…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.’ (1 Corinthians 15 v. 3-4 TNIV) and, ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.’ (1 Timothy 1 v.15)

It is an abuse to try to change the emphasis of the Bible’s teaching simply because what it says is unpalatable and cuts across our own beliefs. The truth of the Bible (God’s Word) is plain to all who will honestly read it.


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