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How do you know if what you believe is really true? Is it possible you have been influenced to believe things that are wrong? How can you replace faulty notions with true knowledge?
Although people do not realize it, they may embrace beliefs that are simply not true. How is that possible? It's because their views have been formed as a result of tradition, hearsay or information not based in fact or properly researched.
Furthermore, people will often adopt the beliefs of their family, group or religion with little or no question. If or when those positions are challenged, people will defend them even if their position doesn't match the facts.
Conventional Christian doctrines vs. the Bible
Perhaps you are a Christian and feel you understand the seriousness of what Paul said. You also need to be aware that the apostles and Jesus Christ Himself repeatedly warned about counterfeit Christianity. They also warned of ministers who, being unwittingly motivated by the devil, would promote seriously flawed doctrines (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Corinthians 11:15).
These wrong teachings are often filled with half-truths. That means they appear reputable to many people, but they don't accurately reflect what the Bible teaches (John 17:17; Luke 4:4; 11:28).
Here are some conventional beliefs you need to look at, each followed by what the Bible actually teaches:
• Conventional doctrine: "Once saved, always saved," also known as "eternal security." Biblical truth: An individual can receive salvation from sins through Christ and still, through neglect, ultimately come to reject God, thereby losing salvation (2 Peter 2:21; Hebrews 2:1-3 ; Hebrews 6:4-8 ; Hebrews 10:26-38 ).
• Conventional doctrine: The reward for a good life is going to live as a disembodied consciousness in heaven at the time of death. Biblical truth: The dead are not conscious, and no one has ascended consciously to heaven following death except Jesus Christ—after He was resurrected from the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:5, Ecclesiastes 9:10; John 3:13; Acts 2:29, Acts 2:34).
• Conventional doctrine: You have an immortal soul. Biblical truth: You do not have an immortal soul. A soul can die, and again there is no consciousness in death. Death is compared in Scripture to a lifeless sleep from which people must be awakened in a resurrection (Ezekiel 18:4, Ezekiel 18:20; Ecclesiastes 9:5, Ecclesiastes 9:10; Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:18).
• Conventional doctrine: Sunday is the Sabbath. Biblical truth: The seventh day of the week, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, is God's Sabbath (Genesis 1:31
- Genesis 2:1-3 ; Exodus 20:8-10 ; Isaiah 58:13; Mark 2:28).
• Conventional doctrine: Jesus was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on Sunday morning, being dead for parts of three days. Biblical truth: Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights, which cannot fit between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning (Matthew 12:39-40 ).
These are just a few examples of many long-established, conventional Christian teachings contrasted with true biblical understanding. Do you see why it's so important for you to thoroughly challenge what you read, hear and accept as truth?
Jesus Christ resisted conventional religious ideas
Jesus Himself was the best example of challenging the status quo. His teachings and actions persuasively corrected accepted religious notions (Mark 1:22; Matthew 5:21-44 ). Jesus told His followers to carefully scrutinize what they were taught and to avoid following the wide, easy way that would lead to their destruction (Matthew 7:13).
The apostle Paul also encouraged people to "not be conformed to this world" but to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2
). You also need to question your religious beliefs by honestly comparing them to scriptural truth (Acts 17:11).
True understanding comes from being willing to look outside traditional Christian teachings to what is actually written in the Bible (Isaiah 55:8-9 ; Isaiah 66:2; 1 Corinthians 1:19-21 ).
Of course it may be difficult to accept what you learn because you will have to unlearn deep-seated ways of thinking. Discovering that something you believe is wrong can, at first, make you feel uncomfortable. Admitting you have been wrong is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Nevertheless, if you sincerely desire to please your Creator and follow His way of life, you will strive to reject all error and love the truth (3 John 11; 1 Peter 1:22).
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