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Faith and Opinion
Faith And Opinion
The ability to distinguish between matters of faith and matters of opinion is important. Without this distinction, a door is opened for personal whims to be implemented as doctrines, and for God's word to be set aside. If Jesus condemned such a practice among the Jewish leadership (Mark 7:8-9, 13), "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye,” we can be assured that He will not accept it in the church, which is His body (Colossians 1:18).
The apostle Paul, writing to the saints at Rome, distinguished between faith and opinion. He very plainly wrote: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
For something to be a matter of faith, and thus essential to accept, practice and obey, it's source must be the Bible. Therein, God has conveyed His will through direct commands, apostolic examples, necessary inferences, and silence. It behoves us to be diligent Bible students, so that we are not "unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). We must learn to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15), so that "whatever you do in word or deed," is done "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Colossians 3:17).
Why is it important for us today to know the difference between opinion and faith?
First, we should observe that personal faith, (opinion), cannot contradict the revealed faith. That is, we cannot rightly hold to a thought or practice which is in violation of God's word. To do so makes us like the religious leaders whom Jesus rebuked for setting aside God's law to implement their own. Matthew 15:9 "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Second, we have no right to enforce our personal faith (opinion) upon anyone else. For example, one may believe that it is wrong to celebrate a non-religious observance of Christmas. Another may enjoy the day sharing a fine meal and gifts with family and friends. As Paul says, "Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him." (Romans 14:3)
We must only teach what the Bible teaches and not our opinions on any religious subject.
Adapted: Bro William Stewart
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