Acts 3:25-26 — “You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

Usually the “reasons” for anything we might discuss depend on who we are discussing things with. What do I mean?

Well, whether it be politics, the stock market, yesterday’s ball game or why Aunt Romelda’s DIY perm made half her hair fall out, different people will give you different explanations to the reasons why.

In cases like these, reasons, even informed reasons, are often nothing more than one’s own opinion.

Now you know what they say about opinions, right? I’ve heard that opinions are like noses. Everybody has one but some are much bigger than others.

I’m glad that God didn’t have opinions. We would all do well to realize that God nor His Word ever made a suggestion. I’m glad that as the sovereign Lord and Creator of everything, His word is the final authority. The FINAL authority.

Sometimes I have difficulty understanding parts of it, but it is just as reliable and trustworthy as God Himself. Remember John 1:1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Then in the same chapter in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...”

Oh yes, the Word of God is the final authority, don’t be deceived.

If we aren’t careful, we can easily take liberties with “reasons” and insert our religious logic coupled with some genuine sincerity and then walk away feeling kind of spiritual when actually we ended up far away from truth.

When that happens, whatever we shared was no more than an opinion ... even though it may have been a big one.

When giving religious instruction it’s important to be sincere but it’s also important to be correct. What we believe the Bible teaches becomes doctrine for us.

False doctrine is perhaps one of the biggest problems in our personal walk with Christ. Why? It has no authority. No power.

God never required that we know everything but He does require that we study and rightly interpret His word to gain some level of His approval (not my opinion ... it’s in the book).

I’ve got a couple of pet peeves when it comes to things I hear longtime Christians say, particularly after the passing of a loved one. One is the reference to humans becoming angels when they die.

“They’re singing in the angel choir.” Truth is, we don’t become angels when we die, therefore we won’t be joining a choir made up of angels.

Another is those statements like, “They got their wings.” It sounds sensitive and may make us appear godly ... but it’s false doctrine.

Sometimes opinions may not be stated outright, but if we examine our attitudes closely, we can find areas in our own life where our belief system has made a significant error which can rob us of true joy in worship.

This is true simply because our error in what we believe prevented us from accurate adoration of Christ in our grace relationship. In other words, we sometimes take God and His marvelous work for granted, which leads us to become more self focused than God focused.

After all, we all sometimes act like the world revolves around us.

That brings me to a hard truth, at least it’s a hard truth for me, probably because I have this tendency to take things for granted and feel like the world revolves around me.

When life gets really uncomfortable, when I face problems, pain and heartache, I have this tendency to think “OK God, where did You go? I’m hurting here, so could You make me feel better, fix things for me, let me find my happy place already?”

Verse 26 brings truth into focus and reminds me that God didn’t provide salvation in order to make me happy, He provided salvation in order to make me holy. Let’s read it again: “God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

There it is. Truth. The voice with authority!

God sent His son to “bless us” and the blessing is that He rescues us from our sin and turns us from iniquity. Now I get it, it all makes sense. My happiest happy comes only from being holy and I can only find holiness in the blessing (Son) God raised up.

I do believe that God’s great love for us includes a desire for us to find joy, but apart from being made holy, any joy we find is void of the divine.

Sound doctrine becomes human opinion when we look for happiness outside of Christ’s redemptive work.

Holiness! That’s the reason for our salvation!

That’s why such a great price was required. God demands holiness.

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Dr. Dennis Cagle is the founder of Xaltm LLC who has been a pastor for 36 years and currently works as a church consultant. He is a former resident of McMinn County and current resident of Tellico Plains. He can be contacted at xaltm@yahoo.com

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