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Fighting for the faith
- Jacob Ninan
The apostle Jude was planning to write about salvation when the Holy Spirit prompted him to write, rather, about 'the faith' (meaning what we believe in) (Jude.3) because some people were trying to bring in false teachings to the church. In our days false teaching is so rampant that practically everyone has absorbed a little or more of such teachings in their belief system. We all like to think that our doctrine is pure and not like some of the others! But the fact is that we all need to check once in a while whether we need to change some of what we believe.
In fact one mark of spiritual growth is that we understand God's ways better. The people of Israel were so carnal that they could only 'see' what God was doing externally, but Moses was able to understand God's ways (Ps.103:7). A natural part of this growing in understanding is that we see that some of our earlier beliefs were wrong! Then it becomes a test of our integrity whether we are willing to admit that we were wrong and change over to the new understanding. Isn't it less painful to find some justification for our old thinking and stick on with it than to admit that we were wrong? But that is the point at which we decide whether we want God to take us further close to Him or we are comfortable where we are. There we will see if God is important to us or what people may think about us. 'Love of the truth' is one of the factors that God evaluates in us to decide how far we would get with Him. If we lack this love for the truth, the dangerous thing is that we start drifting away from God (which is something we didn't bargain for) (Rom.1:18).
In our spiritual development there come several forks in the road where we have to make a choice about which way we will go. We make a mistake if we think that what our Christian forefathers have done or we ourselves have been comfortable with so far is good enough, without checking with what the Bible teaches us. It is not even enough to see what 'our' church teaches about something, but we have to consider that fact that even churches can go wrong in different things. Of course we don't have to leave a church whenever we find some wrong teaching there as long as it is of minor significance. There is no such thing as a perfect church. But sometimes we may even have to leave one church to join another. Some people take the position that since there is no one or no church perfect, we should just lead our lives quietly before the Lord and not get into doctrinal wrangling. While there is some wisdom there, it depends on how significant any particular teaching is with regards to our practical life.
We all have a responsibility to find the truth, believe it, and to live according to the truth. We won't be looking for the truth unless we recognise the fact that we need to keep learning, and that we need to change our beliefs if we find that some of what we believed was wrong. This is our individual responsibility.