April 30, 2008

See to it...What You Believe Matters

There are some things that have to be done, tasks that are necessary for living. Going to work, feeding the family, doing the laundry...you see to it that these things are done...you can't not do these things.

The scriptures provide many 'see to it's,' and one in particular is found in Colossians 2:8-10:
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him..."

From this command is found many truths: 1) You are responsible to protect your mind from godless beliefs 2) You have the ability to know the difference between the godly and the godless 3) That to walk in him (v. 6-7) involves our intellectual life 4) There is nothing harmless about human-centered philosophy 5) The deity of Christ is important in our commitment to him in that if he were not fully God bodily, our focus would continue to be human-centered.

My point is that it is important to carefully scrutinize the content of our faith, living out a systematic theology. One doctrine, one teaching of Scripture, will have a relationship to other doctrines and teachings in Scripture. Discovering those relationships will assist you developing a consistent Christian worldview. As a proper and effective witness for Jesus, we shouldn't be willing to live with incoherence, and we should willingly analyze new teachings, comparing them to what we already know to be true. This is the spirit of being a Berean.

Is it possible to welcome aspects of the occult or the new age movement into our life without directly contradicting the testimony of Scripture? Is it possible to believe in Jesus yet deny the resurrection as taught by liberal theologians and other cults? Take, as another example, the gospel. Adopting a view of the gospel that is entirely focused on curing social ills displaces the eternal value of Christ's death and resurrection. What we believe about the gospel matters as it pertains to knowing God's truth and communicating it rightly. Without the Good News with eternal implications, is there really anything good about the news?

In Paul's letter to the Colossians, he exhorts the readers to behavior that is grounded in wisdom and speech that is always gracious (3:5-6). Paul never taught that the content of what we express should be compromised so as to avoid offense, rather he taught that godliness should be expressed in love. To put it another way: It's not just how you say it, it's what you say.

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