What Difference Does It Make?

Last week's bulletin included an article stating that salvation is found only in the church of Christ, as declared in the Bible. This author is aware that there are some who would take issue with this, regardless of the scriptures which plainly teach this fundamental point of fact. Perhaps, these same folks who disagree with that position may wonder why should one be so concerned about this at all. In other words, “What difference does it make?”

As expressed in that article, “ if this is an essential aspect of salvation, then this question must be answered precisely and accurately, because the souls of men are dependent upon a clear understanding of this Bible question.” If this really does not matter, then I suppose the concern is misplaced, and ought to be otherwise focused. However, if it really does matter, and it does make a difference, then (because it is the doctrine of Christ in which he expects all of us to abide) we had better pay attention: our salvation IS dependent upon it. So, let us consider the following points as we concern ourselves with this question.

First, God has revealed to us a good bit about Himself and His nature. Among the most basic characteristics we learn is that He is never-changing in His judgments. Specifically, that which He approves will always be approved; and that which He condemns will always be condemned, notwithstanding those things He allowed in ages past, because of the hardness of men's hearts. James 1:17 figuratively teaches us that God is so consistent that even when He turns, the shadow which He casts does not change. He has always been as loving, as merciful, as full of grace, and as just and fair as He is today. He continues to abhor sin, and expects His followers to abstain from sin. He also expects them to obey Him in all things, whether they want to or not.

Recall the days while Moses led the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years. Recorded in Numbers 20:1-12 is an account of an event when the Israelites complained to Moses, for bringing them out of Egypt just to die (as was their murmuring). Upon a similar occasion Moses was commanded to strike the rock to bring forth water for the people (Ex. 17:1-6). But, on this occasion in Numbers 20, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock; not to strike it. Instead Moses struck the rock; and because of his disobedience, God prohibited him from leading the people into the land of promise. In fact, God equated this disobedience with disbelief (Numb. 20:12). Did it make a difference? Was God serious about Moses' obedience? Certainly it did, and certainly He was!

The reader is encouraged to read chapters 25 through 40 of the book of Exodus, not skimming over nor skipping any verses; and become impressed with the level of detail in the pattern God gave Moses for the building of the tabernacle, the manufacture of the priests' and high priest's clothing, the vessels and the tabernacle furniture, and the procedures for the worship. Especially note Ex. 40:16,“Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.” Observe, also, in the verses 17 - 32: each of the things Moses did were summarized by the phrase, “as the Lord had commanded Moses.” And finally in verse 33, “So Moses finished the work.” Moses did everything God had commanded him to do in order to properly implement the worship in the tabernacle. Did it make a difference? Did it matter? Of course it did!

When David decided to move the ark of the covenant using a new cart pulled by an ox (2 Sam. 6:1-7). Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart. The ox caused the ark to shake and Uzzah steadied the ark with his hand: he touched it. God was angry, and Uzzah died on the spot. Did David know the proper procedure to move the ark (Ex. 25:13-15, Num. 1:50)? Did it matter to Uzzah? Would it have made a difference to Uzzah if he had kept the commandments of God? Of course!

Did it matter that the Christians in Galatia were perverting the gospel of Christ which Paul had delivered to them (Gal. 1:6-10)? They were removing themselves from the grace of God in accepting false teaching. Did it matter? How about when the Christians in Corinth were dividing themselves, following after particular teachers rather than the head, which is Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-13)? Was it an issue when they were perverting their observance of the Lord's supper (1 Cor. 11:17-34)? Does false doctrine matter (Acts 20:29-30, 2 Jno. 9-11)? What difference does it make? The difference it makes is that men's souls will be lost because of errant teaching about God's scheme of redemption, and following unscriptural patterns for the church and its worship.

From where do the divisions come? Do they not come from those teachings which are inconsistent, and down-right contradictory to the Bible? Wherein does the church find unity? Who has caused the division we now see? Does it matter? What difference does it make? Yes, indeed, it matters!

Is Christ divided? The appeal by Christ is for all to come to unity which is found ONLY in that word which has been delivered by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Christians can find unity only by adhering to sound doctrine, and reject man-made creeds and disciplines.

Curtis A. Little, Royse City, TX

Curtis A. Little
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