“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things charity.”
October 27, 2005 § 10 Comments
I was going to write a long essay about that statement. Basically I think it is pretty over-used. And mis-applied. After all, who says that Augustine was qualified to judge what constitutes an essential? Or a non-essential?
Jesus and His apostles said that to attain salvation, we need faith, and we need to obey Christ. Right? So those are the essentials, right? Faith and obedience. So what are we to believe in and obey? All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16,17.
So the same Scripture that tells us “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” Romans 10:9; also says, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved,” Matt 24:13.
Jesus Himself in Mark 16:15 says, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned,” while 1 Peter 3:21 says, “…baptism now saves you…”
Jesus gave a lot of commands. He said to turn the other cheek, and not resist an evil person. He said that unless we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, we have no life in us. He said we must be born of water and the Spirit. But He also said there were dire consequences for those who did not believe and did not obey. The Apostles were just as adamant about holding to the teaching they had passed down– for salvation’s sake.
Only God is the judge over what is essential or not. But man has usurped that position. He has had the arrogance to decide which scriptures he will believe and how far he will go in obeying those commands.
That is playing with fire. Eternal fire. When Paul tells us to work out our salvation with “fear and trembling” I suggest we heed him on that.
Let us be diligent, brothers and sisters, in searching out the Scriptures, and making sure that we are doing all He tells us. If it is in Scripture– if it came from the mouth of Christ, or one of His appointed Apostles– it is essential.
Don’t play games with His mercy and grace.
Parting Thought: Luke 12:42-48 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
Even in our ignorance, we are held accountable. Seek out His Word. That’s what it is there for!