E.R. Hall, Jr.

            While speaking to the Jews of His day, Jesus referred to their teaching by saying, “Ye have heard that it hath been said … but I say unto you… ” (Matt. 5:38-39). In this manner He warned them against anger, an evil heart, unlawful divorce, swearing and other numerous sins. Thus Jesus made it clear that an idea was not true just because it was what people had always heard. 

            The teaching of that day was imposed upon the people by their religious leaders and had become long standing traditions in so much that traditions had been regarded as equal to the law of Moses. Jesus challenged the authority of their traditions and said they were vain in religion. (Mk. 7:9). It is sad, but even in religion there has always been a tendency to accept an idea if it is repeated often enough. If the majority of people have come to accept a position as true, then most people will not question or investigate whether or not it’s traditions from men or God’s word. We should not believe everything we hear no matter how often we hear it or from how many we hear it from. True faith can not be built on hearsay. The Bible warns, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world“. (1 John 4:1) 

            Have you heard it said that it doesn’t matter what one believes, just so he is sincere? Is this true? If so, why does the Bible warn against being deceived and against believing false teachers? So, if what someone believes becomes the truth simply because he sincerely believes it to be the truth, then there is no reason for concern about false prophets and no danger in accepting their teaching. Thus the Joel Osteen’s and the Benny Hinn’s are not false teachers because they sincerely believe that what they are teaching is the truth. After all, sincerity is all that matters in religion according to what everybody says. However, the Bible doesn’t teach what you have always heard about sincerity being all that matters. 

            Have you heard it said that as long as someone has been baptized that’s all that really matters? This is just as false as those who think sincerity is all that matters. Sincerity won’t get us to heaven and neither will baptism. The Scriptures teach, “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10). Also in Heb. 6:1-2 the Scriptures read, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Far more is necessary to insure heaven as our home than just having been baptized. 

            It is never safe to believe everything we hear. The important thing is: DOES THE SCRIPTURES SAY IT!

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