How can a person not see the plain truth? This amazes and frustrates honest people, but it seems to be the order of the day. We are not as surprised at people in the world as we are with those who say they believe the Bible and yet reject it when it suits them.
A person can read the Bible and not believe it because he has a blindfold over his heart. Paul said of the Jews in his day, “But their minds were blinded” because “when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts” (II Cor. 3:14-15). The words of Solomon are still true today. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 16:25). Facts mean little to someone who wants to believe something else.
People tend to follow the crowd (Exod. 23:2). They often follow their feelings rather than truth (Rom. 10:1-3). They imitate their parents’ attitudes and values without examining them (I Pet. 1:18). They listen to preachers who make them feel good with “good words and fair speeches” (Rom. 16:18). This is why so many are mislead (Matt. 7:13-23). We can deceive ourselves if we are not careful (Gal. 6:3; James 1:22).
What could be more plain than the plan of salvation? “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). People in the New Testament didn’t always obey these words, but they had no trouble understanding them.
Our time is different in one way. Now the words “Receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour” have replaced these and many other verses of Scripture. This popular saying is not in the Bible. Why do so many believe it? Because they have heard it repeated so often and so long by so many that they don’t even question it—just like media lies and political propaganda. A religious tradition that has absolutely no biblical basis is often accepted as a settled truth.
Churches today cannot have it both ways. Either the Bible is the authority, or it is not. Either Jesus is the Son of God or He is not. Either baptism is for the remission of sins, or it is not. There is no middle ground on these issues.
However, that doesn’t stop many from brushing aside these serious matters. This Sunday a member of a church of Christ who starred on Duck Dynasty will speak at an area community church gathering. If he preaches the gospel plan of salvation, then well and good. But if he does not, he is wrong. Just because a man stands against homosexuality and is persecuted because of his position does not by itself make a man a faithful Christian or a gospel preacher. What good is it to tell people that homosexuality is wrong if we don’t tell them how to be saved from it?