The gospel of Christ is much more important than your pride. While all Christians would no doubt agree with this statement in principle, it is not always the condition of their life in practice. By nature, we hate admitting when we are wrong, especially when it pertains to the most important things in life. And yet none of us, at this present time, “know it all” when it comes to the knowledge of the Lord. We are all “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18); or at least we should be.
Of course there are various levels of error within the world of “professing” Christianity. Some professing Christians fail to understand the basic tenets of the gospel. These errors are often manifested by extreme and unbiblical views in both directions. On one hand there is a legalistic “works salvation” that links an assumed salvation to the so-called righteous deeds of a “Christian.” Yet the Bible teaches that none are “righteous” (Romans 3:10) and that salvation can only be attained by grace through faith in Christ. (see Eph. 2:8-9) Sadly, there are some who would profess Christ, yet are looking to their own delusional self-righteousness as the road to Heaven. But this “way” is no road to Heaven at all, rather it is a “wide road” that leads to destruction. (Matt. 7:13)
The other extreme is a soft pedaled “easy believism” that equates salvation with some sort of intellectual assent or a “magical” sinner’s prayer repeated as though it were a salvific mantra. Perhaps you were genuinely born again when you prayed some such prayer. Perhaps you were not. The point is, the Bible doesn’t offer a “sinner’s prayer” as the means to salvation. Jesus said you must be “born again.” (John 3:3) Evangelicalism is eaten up with such a “gospel” today. So much so, that many church rolls are filled with members who scarcely ever attend worship services and whose lives bear no fruit to the Christian claims that they espouse. These errors are enormous and eternally consequential. Do you hold to such views? And if so, do you have the humility to admit you might be wrong? Would you repent of this and turn to Christ? Would you be saved?
Such errors of misunderstanding the gospel are of vital and eternal importance. But lesser theological errors also exist. There are many in the church today who are born again and seem to love the Lord. They are committed to holiness and understand the “grace of God in truth.” Yet are still in error on some issues. Could you be one of them? And are you willing to admit you might be wrong and thus change your views accordingly? Would you be willing to submit your theology to the test of Scripture and declare God’s Word to be true even if it contradicts what you believe?
The fact is, ALL of us might be wrong about some things. And ALL of us as Christians should seek to grow in our knowledge and be willing to change our views when proven wrong. You might be surprised to know that the Apostle Paul was willing to admit he might be wrong; and was willing to change his views if it were proven so. And I am not just referring to his conversion from Jewish Pharisaism to Christianity. The Apostle Paul, TWENTY-PLUS YEARS AFTER his conversion was still willing to change his theology if it was found to be in error. To the Galatians he wrote: “After an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.” (Galatians 2:1-2 NASB) This was after the 3 years Paul mentions in Galatians 1, plus some additional time he spent traveling and preaching. The point is this: Paul’s theology was more important than Paul’s pride. Paul was willing to submit his views to scrutiny and change them, rather than doggedly cling to that which was false. Did Paul think he had the gospel wrong? Not at all. But he went to the other Apostles to make sure he had not “run in vain.” Are you willing to submit your theology to the writings of the Apostles’ to make sure you aren’t teaching something in vain?
Of course, we know both the general and specific issues which Paul was addressing. We know who was attacking him and we know why. The general issue was the Mosaic Law, which Paul refused to put himself back under bondage to. And the specific issue was circumcision, which the Judaizers insisted was necessary for salvation. But Paul continues in Galatians 2: “But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.” (Galatians 2:3-5)
Paul refused to waffle on the purity and simplicity of the gospel. Though Peter and even Barnabas were intimidated and led astray by the Jews (see Galatians 2:11-14); Paul would not budge. (As a side note, I would point out that if PETER and BARNABAS could be led astray, perhaps you and I are in danger of this as well). Salvation was by grace through faith in Christ alone and the Law added nothing to this. Neither as it pertained to salvation, nor sanctification (i.e., spiritual growth). This was the unequivocal conclusion of the Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15. Not only was the Law incapable of saving, the council concluded that the Gentiles who were coming to Christ were not to be bothered with the Law. In the council, Peter declared: “Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10) And they concluded that they should not “trouble” the Gentiles with such things. (v. 19)
The Apostles believed and taught that the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ and that it neither saved nor sanctified the believer. Rather, the believer should look to Christ in all ways. The Apostles did not teach that the Old Testament was worthless and should be discarded. In fact, in the council they quoted from the prophet Amos in defending their position! (v. 16-17) But they understood the Old Covenant had been replaced by a “new” and “better” covenant through Christ (see Heb. 8:6).
Could you possibly be wrong in your views about the Mosaic Law? Is it possible that you have elevated Moses higher than the Apostles themselves did? Is it possible that, though you see salvation as coming through Christ alone, you nevertheless see the Law of Moses as a necessity for sanctification? Or do you perhaps see the “terrors of the Law” as a necessary precursor for gospel preaching? If so, I would encourage you to humbly and prayerfully consider whether or not you might be wrong. The Bereans were described as being “noble minded” (Acts 17:11) because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul taught was true. You and I should do likewise. It’s hard to admit you might be wrong. And it goes without saying that each one of us will undoubtedly take a certain amount of theological error to our graves. We are “works in progress” after all and shall remain as such in this life. But is your pride worth clinging to something that isn't true? Does your pride mean more to you than the gospel? Does your pride refuse to let you concede that, though you understand salvation fully and have experienced it in your life, you were in fact wrong about the Law? Come let us reason together. Let us search the Scriptures in Berean fashion and strive to understand them in context. Let us hold fast to what is true and graciously reject that which is not. Let us imitate Paul, and in so doing, let us look to Jesus Christ. He is our salvation. He is our Lord and Master. He is our King and Lawgiver. He is our all in all. He is more important than me. He is more important than you. And He is more important than your theological system, and your pride. Kill the pride, kneel to the King, and seek the truth.
There may be other theological issues that you are wrong about. Submit all your theology to the test of Scripture. Not a test that merely “cherry picks” a Bible verse out of context to “prove” your position. But rather, submit your theology to a true, contextual examination by the word of God and see if your belief’s hold up. Or better still, jettison your theological systems and come to the Scriptures with a clean slate. Let THEM be your judge, rather than YOU being their judge!
Martin Luther declared, “My mind is captive to the word of God.” Luther wasn’t perfect, nor was his theology. But his mindset was right on! Let the word of God rule us and inform us. Let us truly seek to know the Lord and know what He teaches us in His word. And let us show grace and exhibit true humility. You don’t know it all. Neither do I. But God does. Let Him be the Judge. Let Him “lay down the Law.” And let you and I submit as the grateful, forgiven creatures that we are. Let God be true, though every man a liar! (Rom. 3:4) Then let us “cast our lots” with the God of truth and submit to His word. He knows all. We know nothing. End of story.