Opinions or Truth?
We live in days when those who profess Christ have largely abandoned faith. The spirit of the martyrs, whereby men would die rather than give up the truth of Holy Scripture, has long gone. Opinions have more or less taken the place of convictions, and the result is a liberal outlook which flows, not from humility, but from indifference and doubt. As a result, the umbrella of the Church is so wide and the system of doctrine so vague, that almost anything can be believed and still be accepted as “Christian”. Truly, the Church has lapsed into a gathering of merely religious opinion, rather than of those that hold to “my word” (Rev. 3: 8). The fact of the matter, however, is that opinions are only human, and are not worth holding too firmly, but truth is divine, and deserves living and dying for!
Yet what is truth? Each one, it is said, must answer for himself––and does it not therefore resolve itself into a question of opinion after all? This is just what characterises the day we live in! The Church, instead of being a beacon of light, is a veritable Babel of confusion. Listening to the discordant voices that abound on every side, men are quite content to give heed just to the points on which the greater number appear to be agreed, and even these are held only until some new, more attractive voice is raised to challenge them. Faith in God and what He has said is unknown. They drift on in darkness, hoping that when the day dawns they will find themselves in safety––for opinions can never give certainty.
If it is a mere question of your judgement of this fact or that, or your estimate of the person putting it forward, or your comparative view of the circumstances around, it is an opinion––and of what value can it be? You yourself are the measure of it––your ability, with your special opportunities, or general experience, and nothing more. When we come to the Word of God, however, we pass from the region of human opinions to the region of divine truth. What distinguishes the Bible from all other books is that in it God speaks, and His people, indeed every soul, is bound to hear. You cannot excuse yourself by saying that you are not a scholar––as if God’s word was some kind of inscrutable piece of mysticism to be understood only by doctors of religion. No, God has written His word clearly and intelligibly so that all might read and profit. By this I do not mean that any part of it is according to the measure of man, as if a merely human book, but that the Bible was written both for God’s glory and man. Thus, what God has been pleased to put in the plainest possible language may be beyond our fathoming, (being divine), but at the same time it is not beyond our understanding and enjoying. Though Scripture is so deep that its bottom will forever exceed man’s plummet, it remains as clear as it is profound––unlike the murky shallows of human literature.
Was it for the promotion of opinions that the Son of God lived and died on earth? Was it for the exchange of religious views that “the glad tidings of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1: 11) was preached “by [the] Holy Spirit, sent from heaven” (1 Pet. 1: 12)? How different from the spirit of the age is the language of the inspired apostle: “But if even we or an angel out of heaven announce as glad tidings to you [anything] besides what we have announced to you as glad tidings, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1: 8). Such warnings in Holy Writ are not the words of wild exaggeration. In the last days new light will not be wanting, but though seemingly accredited as the beacon of truth, it will eventually prove to be a wrecker’s fire and lead us on to the rocks.
God has given us a revelation, and while doubt still lingers around innumerable questions on which we seek to know more, divine certainty is our privilege in respect of “all things which relate to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1: 3). The man who forces his opinions on others is surely an arrogant egotist, but he who would go so far as to die for his opinions is, quite simply, an utter fool. Christianity has not got anything to do with opinions. It is founded on established facts and divine truth, and the faith based thereon is the heritage of the Church. Her martyrs knew the power of faith. The truth they died for was not the mere ‘general sense’ (so–called) of Scripture corrected in the light of reason, conscience, science and tradition, which is the pulp–like consistency of modern theology. No, in the solitude of the dungeon, or amidst the agonies of the rack, they calmly rested on the Word of God and, even when assured that all others had recanted, they could stand firmly against both the world and the so–called Church. Faith, which makes the unseen a present reality, brought divine certainty into their hearts, and, refusing to accept deliverance, they braved death in all its horrible forms.
Now we may not be called upon to wear the martyr’s crown, but it is imperative that we share the martyr’s faith! There can be no toleration for the vague and shallow human reasoning which, disguised in a cloak of religiousness, passes for Christianity today. Solemn though it is, it is a fact that scepticism has more or less done away with divine certainty in the professing Church and replaced it with agnosticism. Agnosticism is Greek for ignorance, and ignorance is both shameful and sinful in the presence of a divine revelation. The Christian is not ignorant. We do not think this or that––we know. “We know that the Son of God has come” (1 John 5: 20). “We know that we have passed from death to life” (1 John 3: 14). “We know that if our earthly tabernacle house be destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5: 1). “We know that if it is manifested we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3: 2). Opinions are nothing––truth is everything. So what have you got? Truth or opinions?