The Lord and His apostles constantly reminded the disciples of the importance of embracing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Jesus prayed to God to “Sanctify them in the truth, Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). This is imperative as one must know and follow the truth which alone is able to free us from our sin (Jn. 8:31-32). Jesus said He is “…the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). Paul told Timothy to “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me…” (2 Tim. 1:13). Jude told his readers to “…contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We could continue this exercise, but the point I wish to make from this is the singularity of every one of these passages. Truth is not in a state of flux as our postmodern world believes.
This brings us back to our point. A church may look similar to what is described and demanded in the New Testament, but similarity does not equal identity. This does severe damage to the pervasive attitude of our post-reformation religious world. The Protestant Reformation was the catalyst for the religious landscape we all are born into today. People grow up with no inclination that there is anything wrong with all the diversity of teaching and practice in religion. Division is often lauded as a good thing because people can choose the church of their preference. It is a religious buffet, and people go and put whatever flavors they prefer on their plate. Paul’s words have been proven true that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). A close look at these passages, as well as many others, tells us God does not allow us to simply blaze our own trail. In fairness, very few who have bought into this deception intend to rebel against God and just do as they please.
The only solution to this issue is to turn back to the Bible alone and strive to learn and apply the principles contained therein. We must look at the foundation upon which Jesus built His church (Eph. 2:19-21), and then we must be careful how we build upon it (1 Cor. 3:10-11). If we do this, we may rest assured that “ …the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19). Jesus is the Savior of His body (Eph. 5:23-27), and He will be returning to gather only His body to Himself (1 Th. 4:13-18).
Many years ago, a friend and I came out of Walmart and sat down in my car. Immediately, my friend looked up and asked, “When did you get fuzzy dice on your mirror?” I replied, “I didn’t. Why?” He then turned my attention to the rearview mirror, and at that moment we both realized we were in someone else’s car! It looked exactly the same as mine from the outside. Needless to say, once we realized our folly, we immediately jumped out of whoever’s car that was and promptly found and entered mine. Similarity does not equal identity! We must be forever diligent in verifying that we are in Christ’s church and not another that may look similar.