PRYOR, OK —
Has anyone ever told you something that was not true? It does not matter whether the person thought it was true or was knowingly telling a lie. We must accept the fact that we can be deceived! The Bible warns us numerous times not to be deceived.
Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” In spite of His warning, people will believe just about anything that is spoken by someone who claims to be religious. The Bible warns us that there are many false prophets (Matthew 24:11; John 4:1).
It saddens me every time I hear someone say, “It doesn't matter what a person believes, just as long as he is sincere.” For the life of me, I cannot understand how Satan can deceive people into believing that it doesn't matter what one believes as far as religion is concerned. We ought to know better than that!
I doubt that anyone will tell a doctor, a judge, or a banker that it doesn't matter what he believes, just as long as he is sincere. We want the doctor to be sure when he diagnoses our illness. We expect our court system to be fair and right. And we demand that our financial institutions have accurate records of our accounts.
God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the beautiful Garden of Eden. He told them in Genesis 2:16-17, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
There was nothing difficult or hard to understand in what God said. He made a simple statement. But notice what happened when Satan came to them. We read in Genesis 3:4-5, “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” That sounded logical, and Eve believed it. So she ate of its fruit and gave some to Adam, and he ate. And, just as God had warned them, they died.
Did it matter what they believed? It surely did! Sadly, many today are willing to believe people who tell them that God does not mean exactly what He says. Adam and Eve disobeyed God because they had been deceived. Don’t make the same mistake. We must be willing to obey all things that God commands us to do (Matthew 28:18-20).
We must be careful when we rely upon our emotions to direct us. Emotions are based upon what we believe to be true, whether it is true or not. For example, Jacob believed that his beloved son Joseph was dead. This came about because his sons (Joseph's brothers) sold Joseph into slavery and dipped his beautiful coat in the blood of a goat. Then they took the coat back to their father, and Jacob was deceived into concluding that some ferocious animal had killed his son.
Genesis 37:34 says that Jacob mourned for his son many days. Did Jacob mourn because Joseph was dead? No, he mourned because he thought Joseph was dead. Years later, when he learned that Joseph was alive, he rejoiced. Jacob's believing that Joseph was dead did not make him dead. What he believed to be true was not true.
Only the truth will set us free from our sins (John 8:32). Most examples we have of people in the New Testament who were converted were already religious, but they were religiously wrong. They had to learn the truth. We must learn the truth also. Just believing we are saved does not mean we are saved. Do not be deceived. We must obey the truth, which is God's Word (John 17:17).