Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 6, 1967
NUMBER 34, PAGE 1-2a

It Makes A Difference

Roy Cogdill

Truth must be believed. Unless it is mixed with faith it condemns us rather than saving us. Paul said, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). So the truth God has revealed cannot benefit any man who does not believe it.

But men commonly hold that it does not matter what a man believes just so he is honest. If honesty is all that God requires of us, there would be no value in truth at all. A lie, honestly believed, would do just as much good as truth. Who can accept such a conclusion? It is not so in any realm and it is just as false in religion as anywhere else.

Financially it makes much difference what a man believes. One could invest his last dollar believing the investment to be a sound one and if it was not, his faith in it would not prevent a loss. When a check is accepted with the full confidence that it is good and the money to cover it is not in the bank, our confidence will not make it good and prevent it being turned down.

Socially such a principle is completely false. A young lady believes in a young man and pledges herself to him, but her confidence in him will not spare her from all of the misery that he will bring into her life if he has an evil heart and vile intentions. Our confidence in a professed friend does not prevent our being betrayed.

Faith in a cause does not make it a righteous and just cause. We can easily be deceived about it. Confidence in a man politically will not make him trustworthy when he is a designing, dishonest scoundrel.

In religion the supposed principle that it makes no difference what a man believes just so he is honest is even more tragically false. Here the soul and its salvation is involved. Paul thought, with all good conscience, that he was serving God when he persecuted Christians, but he was chief of sinners (Acts 24:16, Acts 26:9-11). His good conscience did not make up for his rejection of the truth and his rebellion against Christ. Neither will ours.

It is disastrous to believe a lie in the realm of religion. Men are damned if they believe not the truth. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, we read, "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they might all be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." When we believe a falsehood in religion it means. a rejection of God's truth and it costs us our souls.

When Jesus, by all authority in heaven and on earth, commissioned the apostles to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel unto every creature", he said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16: 15-16). By all authority then it is decreed that if a man does not believe the Gospel he will be lost. The same Gospel that is God's power "unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16) is also God's condemnation to the unbeliever.

The plea, so commonly made, that one faith is just as good as another is completely false. In Ephesians 4:5, the Holy Spirit said there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." It would be just as true to preach many Christs as to preach many faiths. Truth is always consistent if there is "one faith", and if all of us believe the truth, we will have the same faith.

If one believes a doctrine and another believes a contradictory doctrine, somebody does not believe the truth and someone's faith is wrong. There can be no contradiction in the Word of God. God is not the author of confusion. God's Word is truth. When the creeds of men contradict each other, as most of them do, it is evidence that some contain error. They may all be wrong, but they cannot all be right when they do not agree. To demonstrate this fact, the Methodist Discipline states in one article that an infant is "born in Christ"; but the Baptist Manual teaches that a child is by nature, "Wholly inclined toward evil and void of any inclination toward good." Both of them cannot be right. No one can honestly believe the Bible teaches both. We would have no respect for it, if we thought so.

This contradiction of doctrine and faith is illustrated again by the fact that the Baptist Manual teaches that baptism is by immersion only, while the Methodist Discipline says that baptism is by "sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, according to the convenience and preference of the candidate." Again, both cannot be true. Some one is wrong. Neither does the Bible teach both. Some one does not believe the truth.

Such contradictions in great number are to be found in the creeds of men. How can we then know what the truth is, that we may believe it? By laying all the doctrines and commands of men aside and going to the Word of God alone can we learn the truth. The man does not live that can produce contradictions in the Word of God. God's Word is truth (John 17:17). We must recognize the importance of believing what we believe because God said it. This is the only reason for believing anything. When we all believing what we believe because God said it. This is the only reason for believing anything. When we all believe only what God has said we will all believe the same thing and will be united in the "one faith".

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