A Difference In Reasoning
By: Brian A. Yeager
God expects us [Christians] to be a people of thought and investigation. We are supposed to prove [test] all things (I Thessalonians 5:21). The tests we hold all things to have to come back to whether or not our conclusions are acceptable to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2 and Ephesians 5:10). This is where a lot of people get into trouble.
Let’s say I preach a sermon on what one should wear when worshipping God. In that sermon, we see that the Scriptures declare that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance as man does (I Samuel 16:7). We see, through the Scriptures in that sermon, that one’s attire does not make them more or less “religious” (Matthew 3:1-4, Matthew 23:1-5, and James 2:1-9). We are not discussing in that sermon modest apparel opposed to immodest apparel, but whether or not wearing a suit and tie has an impact on the acceptability of one’s worship. Scripturally, we see that it does not. In fact, we’ve had that sermon here (http://www.wordsoftruth.net/properattireforworship_bay_2015.htm). Let’s say someone, who is not a member of the congregation here, does not appreciate those Scriptural truths.
The person who reviews the Scriptures presented in that sermon decides to respond to the lesson. The approach that person takes is subtle. That person says that they do think a person’s attire has an impact on their worship. They reason that if you will not meet a high ranking government official in certain clothing you should not meet your Creator in certain apparel either. What Scriptural reasoning is that person applying? What Scripture says that we should “dress up” for worship because we would “dress up” to meet a governor? Is that Scriptural reasoning.
Reasoning From The Scriptures
Using human reasoning you can come to any conclusion, on any subject matter, that you want to. Many even twist Scriptures to support carnally minded conclusions (II Peter 3:15-17). We have to remember this: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (I Corinthians 3:18-19).
God does expect us to reason. What He expects though is for us to reason from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2 and Acts 28:23). That fact demands that we understand that the Scriptures are the only source for the correct conclusions to be drawn (Matthew 4:4, John 6:63, II Timothy 3:16-17, and II Peter 1:3-4). Our reasoning from the Scriptures also demands that we do so properly. We have to rightly divide the word of truth (II Timothy 2:14-18). We have to be careful not to draw false conclusions or make unnecessary inferences (i.e. John 21:20-23). So we have to set aside our own way of thinking to properly see His way of thinking.
Seeing It God’s Way
Think about this: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:6-9). If I listed no other Scriptures and just concluded right now, wouldn’t those verses you just read lead you to conclude that your way of thinking (meaning carnal, human, fleshly reasoning) is not God’s way of thinking? In addition to that, we read Scriptures that tell us things such as not thinking beyond what God has to say about matters (I Corinthians 4:6).
If I am going to see things God’s way I have to give up my way. That should have occurred in the process of conversion (Matthew 16:21-24). Nonetheless, some people digress (I Corinthians 3:1-3). Therefore, let us consider that God does not want us to hold on to our way of seeing things from His words.
Notice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil… There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death… Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way… For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (Proverbs 3:5-7, Proverbs 16:25, Proverbs 20:24, and II Corinthians 10:18).
To see things God’s way requires an ability to be humble. Following your own way of thinking leads to error (Hosea 13:2). Humbling yourself (James 4:6-10) to the fact that you are not your own standard (II Corinthians 10:12) allows for proper submission to God’s will. Proud individuals struggle in admitting that their way is not the best way (Hosea 7:10). How about you? How about us (this congregation)? Is our reasoning and motives in reasoning right?
A Little Examination
Do you have any motive for studying the Scriptures other than pleasing God and spending eternity in Heaven? Do you proof text (try to find a verse or verses to prove YOU are right)? Do we (this congregation) study together to do what is acceptable to God or do we study to prove WE are right? These are questions we must always keep at the forefront of our minds. The Jews were told to search the Scriptures because they thought they had it all figured out when, in fact, they did not (John 5:36-39). The church is supposed to be the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15). That does not mean we are the source of the truth (Isaiah 8:20, John 17:17, and Colossians 1:5).
Many individuals and congregations have erred because they have not properly reasoned out spiritual matters. Human reasoning leads to the doctrines of men. Such does not please God (Colossians 2:18-23). If our reasoning is honest and only from the Scriptures, we will always be doing what is pleasing to God. Let’s make sure this is what we are doing!
Volume 15 – Issue 47 - August 9th, 2015