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 It’s easy to broad-brush uncomfortable topics and call them differences of opinion, but some require a deeper investigation and a more rigorous study so that we might be in harmony and aligned with the Word of God rather than the teachings of men.

We tend to ignore the Bible passages that don’t buoy our own ideas. If some within Christendom were to take a black marker to every verse, chapter, and book of the Bible that did not fit their predetermined box, it would look like a redacted top-secret document the government releases once in a while, where out of three hundred pages, only a handful of words are legible. Even those words reveal nothing of what the document was about.

If all scripture is God-breathed and profitable, then ignoring large swaths of it because we don’t like what it says is counterproductive, especially if our goal is to grow in God and know Him fully. We want to have victorious lives, possess optimal spiritual strength, and grow in faith, understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, yet we ignore the instruction manual for doing so. The only way you can expect all your machinations to end in a bunt cake is if you follow the recipe and instructions for baking a bunt cake. If you ended up with tuna casserole instead, it’s because you didn’t pay attention to the ingredients you needed and went about it your own way.

I’ve put together my fair share of Ikea furniture. Some of the projects were small enough, like a nightstand or a cupboard, and others tediously complicated, like my daughter’s bed, which tested my patience to no end because I started assembling it without carefully perusing the instructions and following the steps outlined therein. After three or so hours of trying to do it on my own and coming up with a triangle that looked like an upright Christmas tree rather than a bed, I had to humble myself, take it all apart, start from scratch, and follow the instructions.

If we’re not where we want to be in God or experiencing the depth of presence and intimacy we were expecting, it’s not God’s fault; it’s ours. We become set in our ways, cement our opinions, and assign greater value to them than the Word. Then, we wonder why we’re spinning our wheels and feel as though we’re stuck.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, whenever man’s opinion conflicts with what the Bible says, it’s always the man that’s in the wrong. It doesn’t matter how well respected, even revered, that man might be if his stance is contrary to Scripture; he is wrong!

James 5:19-20, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

English is my second language. I learned the basics of it from the Mexican kids in the neighborhood we were taken to in California when we first arrived here. I also picked up quite a bit of Spanish during my time learning English, so I can’t claim to have the best grasp on the language, yet James doesn’t use big words to get a big idea across. It’s simple enough that even I can understand its meaning if I read the text without the assistance of denominational spectacles or any particular bias.

Remember those insurance commercials where the tagline was it’s so easy even a caveman can do it? These two verses are self-explanatory. They’re so easy to understand that even an immigrant of average intelligence, such as myself, can grasp their meaning, yet we reject their implications because of what men have told us.

Perhaps we choose myopia because it’s easier than facing the truth. Perhaps we pretend as though we don’t understand because if, perchance, understanding was admitted to, then we’d be responsible for that which we’ve understood.

We’ve abandoned the art of nuance and feel the need to broad-brush everything because it causes no discomfort. We’ll use the sledgehammer even when the situation calls for a scalpel. The easiest way to deceive someone is to have them fully convinced that they can’t be deceived. Once you set the stage and have that thought firmly planted in their minds, then going forward, whatever you say couldn’t possibly be deception because when they start getting suspicious, you revert back to step one, insisting that they can’t be deceived.

It’s like saying that a certain race can’t be racist, then when they start being virulently racist, they insist they’re not because they’ve convinced themselves they can’t be racist. If Christians were above being deceived, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to say, “Take heed that no one deceives you.”

Both “no one can pluck you out of My hand” and “if anyone among you wanders from the truth” can be true simultaneously. One does not invalidate the other or nullify it. If you remain in Jesus, no one can pluck you out of His hand. No one can forcibly remove you from His embrace, but as for wandering from the truth, we’ve seen it happen once too often and with people we thought were above such things.

Yes, I know the argument that if someone wanders from the truth, they were never in the truth to begin with, but that’s not what James is saying. That’s not what Jesus is saying either, because to take heed is to actively be on guard, weary, and ever vigilant against the prospect of someone sowing deception into your life.

Many people who claim to have gotten saved didn’t stay saved, not because Jesus rejected them or because someone snuck up on Him and snatched them out of His hand, but because they wandered from the truth. Incrementally, ever so slowly, they got distracted, enchanted, mesmerized, and led away, all the while thinking themselves faithful to the call and purpose of Christ because they were told that once they were in, Jesus barred the door and stood guard to keep anyone from exiting.

Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Posted on 29 March 2024 | 9:40 am

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