False doctrines among Christians have always been common. In one sense they are a good sign. When bad money is printed by forgers, it’s a sign that good money is valuable. When false doctrines are put into circulation, that’s a sign that the devil hates true doctrine, knows its value, and wants to prevent it from doing good.
It’s a widespread delusion that we ought to be satisfied with the state of any man’s soul, if he is only sincere, no matter what he thinks is Truth. This is a common heresy and one against which we all need to be armed. There are thousands today who say, “We have nothing to do with the opinions of others. If they are sincere, we believe they will be saved as well as we.” All of this sounds loving, liberal and charitable, they way people like to fancy their own views.
But the Bible does not say anyone was saved by sincerity, or was pleasing to God if he was only earnest in maintaining his own views. When the apostle Paul was a Pharisee, he was sincere while he made havoc of the church. But when his eyes were opened, he mourned over this as a special wickedness.
Beware of allowing that sincerity is everything, and that we have no right to think ill of a man’s spiritual state because of the opinions he holds, if he is only earnest in holding them. That will not stand, nor will it bear the test of scripture. If you once allow such a notion to be true, you may as well throw your Bible aside altogether. Sincerity is not Christ, and therefore sincerity cannot put away sin.
A religion without Christ—a religion that takes away from Christ—a religion that adds anything to Christ—or a religion that puts sincerity in the place of Christ—are all alike dangerous. All are to be avoided and all are alike contrary to the doctrine of Scripture. That doctrine is salvation in Christ to the very uttermost, but out of Christ no salvation at all, however zealous and sincere a man may be.
The spirit of our day is not atheistic so much as pantheistic. It is not the spirit which says nothing is true, so much as the spirit which says everything is true. It is not the spirit which says there is no Saviour, so much as the spirit which says there are many Saviours, and many ways to the Father. This, of course, violates John 14:6. That kind of spirit is so liberal that it dares not say anything is false. It is so charitable that it will allow everything to be true. It is this spirit that is ready to honor other religions as well as that of our Lord Jesus Christ—to class them all together and hope well of all those who profess them. It is so liberal that it calls a man a bigot if he dares to say, “I know the Bible is right.”
What is this but bowing down to a great idol, speciously called liberality? What is it but a sacrifice of Truth upon the altar of a caricature of charity? Beware of it, reader—beware that the rushing stream of public opinion does not carry you away. Beware of it if you believe the Bible. Has the Lord God spoken to us in the Bible or has He not? Gird up the loins of your mind and look these questions squarely in the face, and give them an honest answer.
Tell us that there is some other inspired book besides the Bible, then we shall know what you mean. Tell us that the whole Bible is not inspired, then we shall know where to meet you. But grant for a moment that the Bible—the whole Bible—is God’s Truth and you cannot escape the conclusion that sincerity alone will not save your soul. From the postmodernism which says “everybody is right”—from the charity which forbids you to say anybody is wrong—from the peace which is bought at the expense of Truth, may the good Lord deliver you!
Let it be called illiberal and uncharitable, but on this subject God’s voice is heard nowhere except in the Bible, and there is no salvation for sinners in the Bible except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). In Him there is an abundance. Out of Him there is no hope.
If sincerity alone will not save, and there is no salvation except in Christ, make sure you have an interest in that salvation yourself. Do not be content with hearing, and approving, and assenting to the Truth, and going no further. Seek to have a personal interest in this salvation. Lay hold on it by faith for the sake of your own soul. Rest not until you know you have actual possession of that peace with God which Jesus Christ offers and that Christ is yours and you are Christ’s. If there were two or three or more ways of getting to heaven, there would be no necessity for pressing this matter upon you. But if there is only one way, you will hardly wonder that I say, “Make sure that you are in it.”
If sincerity alone will not save, and there is no salvation except in Christ, then you should want to know how to get into Christ. You cannot pray into Christ, believe into Christ or repent into Christ. The Bible speaks of none of those things as an entry into Christ. You may already believe He is God’s Son. If so, you are not far from the kingdom. You need only to repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), confess that faith (Acts 8:37), and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16). Baptism is the only thing that puts you into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), and He is the only way to heaven (John 14:6).
No one questions your sincerity in your religion, but sincerity is not the test of whether one is a child of God, a member of Christ’s church and a heaven-bound soul. Only by obedience to the Gospel can you be saved (Matt. 7:21; 2 Thess. 1:8). Study on these things and obey Christ today.