Is there right and wrong in religion? If there is, can being mistaken, that is thinking you’re right when you’re actually wrong, jeopardize your eternal salvation? This is a tough question. Not so much because it’s all that difficult to figure out the correct answer, but because it’s often very difficult to properly apply the correct answer. In today’s culture it is perhaps even more difficult, because we rely heavily on subjective feelings to guide us as to what is right and wrong.
We’re supposed to always be nice, and being nice by today’s standards forbids us from judging somebody else to be wrong about virtually anything that they really believe to be right. Even if we conclude that somebody is wrong about something, we certainly cannot tell them they’re wrong. Doing so would make us judgmental, narrow minded, unloving, unkind, mean spirited. Who are we to decide, and by what standards will we determine, right from wrong?
Well, as Christians we’re supposed to be seasoning and illuminating influences upon the world around us (Matt. 5:13-16). We’re even supposed to try to help others straighten the crooked paths of their lifestyle (Phlp. 2:15). But increasingly we’re being told that we cannot tell others that they’re in darkness, that their paths are crooked. How, then, do we fill the world changing role that God designed for us to fill? Should we simply do it by living a good example before those around us, hoping all the time that they’ll recognize that they’re wrong about something and will somehow be moved by the example of our lifestyle to change? Or should we live our lives in such uncertainty that we’re never quite sure that we’re living according to what is right? Maybe it’s everybody else who is right and we’re the ones who are wrong…
Such nonsensical reasoning is actually more acceptable today than taking confidence in the fact that you can know that you’re right about righteousness, about Heaven and Hell, about forgiveness and salvation. Still, John tells us that we can know that we’re saved (1 Jn. 5:13). Obviously, then, we can know what leads one to salvation and what does not. If we know what does not lead one to salvation, shouldn’t we tell others in order that they can avoid potential pitfalls? If we know what does lead to salvation, shouldn’t we tell others in order that they, too, can be saved? If we love people, shouldn’t we share such important news with them?
Almost certainly, we all know folks who would be described by most people around them as being good and even religious but who are wrong in their spiritual walk. They may be sincere as to how they’re trying to follow God, but they’re still wrong. Each of us needs to carefully read Jesus’ words in Matt. 7:21-23. Don’t just gloss over what He says there. Read it carefully, slowly and thoughtfully. He’s talking about some of the very people discussed in this article. Good people. Religious people. Yet, lost people!
We don’t serve those people well by acting as though they’re not really lost. We don’t show love and compassion for them by letting them think everything is all right when it’s not. Real love sometimes needs to take a chance at hurting the person loved by telling him he’s wrong. Real love does not just let a person die without trying to help him live. We need to not just do what feels good. We need to do what is right!…
Gary L. Hutchens