|What and Why We Believe Matters|
Let's use the story of Christmas as an illustration. Is it vital for us to believe that Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem? Does it really matter? God says it is one of the key doctrines of our faith. In fact, John writing to Christians in his first letter is talking about "testing the spirits" to see if they are from God or from a false source. Here is what he says is the litmus test:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)
Now there were some folks who were suggesting in John's day that Jesus was a spirit and never really became "flesh." So there was a specific reason why this was a key doctrine in his day. There are other key doctrines that are necessary to refute the spirit of Antichrist today. That is why we stress over and over again that each believer should know both what and why they believe what they do.
How about you? What do you base your faith on? Your experiences? Or the historic facts about Jesus and the truth of His Word, the Word that never changes? Our experiences will fail us, especially when challenged by the falsehoods masquerading as truth today. The Bible even warns us not to be lured away by fine sounding teachers and leaders who may be false. Here is the warning:
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
(2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
In order to test the spirits, we have to have a solid standard to use for the test. That is why doctrine, what we believe and why we believe it, is vital. So the good news for us this Christmas is that we can know these things and be prepared by studying the Scriptures to test every spirit. As you celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, know that you are celebrating one of the greatest doctrines ever given by God as a gift to us. And be sure to thank Him for it. And if anyone ever denies it to be true, know that they are not speaking for the Lord. They are a false prophet and should be avoided at all costs.