Does it matter what one believes as long as they are honest and sincere? Denominations seemingly don’t think so. Does God really care what one teaches or believes? Is one doctrine is just as good as any other? Is one religion is as good as another? Is it from heaven or is it of men (Matt. 21:25)? Does it matter that it might be of men (Matt. 15: 8-9)? Let the bible speak…
If it really makes no difference, there cannot be such a thing as false doctrine or teaching! Yet the Bible is replete with warnings against false teachers and false teaching (doctrine). Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing.” He compared them to corrupt trees that bear corrupt fruit (Matt. 7:15-20). He also stated clearly that it was possible for some to worship him vainly because of teaching doctrines whose origin is in men (Matt. 15:8-9). Further, he taught that if one is blindly led by blind leaders, they shall both fall into the ditch (Matt. 15:14), their honestly and sincerity notwithstanding.
The apostles who were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13), sternly warned against perverting that which they delivered. Hear Paul in Galatians 1:8-9, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than ye have received, let him be accursed.” First century believers were admonished to “try (test) the spirits (teachers), whether they be of God” (1 Jn. 4:1). Some will teach “fables” to tickle the ears of their audience (2 Tim. 4:2-4). And while it may be difficult to understand, God will allow one to believe a lie to this own condemnation who “receives not the love of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:10-12).
Saul of Tarsus who became the great apostle Paul was honest and sincere in the “Jewish religion” (Gal. 1:14 f; Acts 23:1). He always labored to have a conscience void of offense before God and man (Acts 24:16), but it was not good enough. The treasurer of Ethiopia was so devout as to travel perhaps a thousand miles by chariot to worship according to the best of his understanding, but Philip the evangelist was commissioned by the Spirit to “preach Christ” unto him from the very scripture where the man was reading. And we learned from him that one who is truly honest and sincere, when he comes to the truth, will readily respond to it (Acts 8:26-40). And the Roman commander, Cornelius, a worshiper of God, a good and devout man, and a good citizen, was told to “hear words whereby you and all your house shall be saved” (Acts 10:1-11:18).
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Being religious or saying, “Lord, Lord” is insufficient (Lk. 6:46). One’s salvation rests upon his doing God’s will (Matt. 7:21-23). Put your religious beliefs to the test of God’s word. If what you believe is contradicted by Jesus and his apostles, then you must conform to what the bible teaches if you intend to be saved. Bottom line, it does matter what you believe!