Isn’t it interesting that two people can see the same thing and come away with two different conclusions? The same thing can be said concerning what we hear or what we read.
When the 12 spies were sent to explore the Promised Land in Numbers 13-14, they all saw the very same lush green fertile areas. Yet 10 were intimidated by the size and number of the hostile people who lived there. They said it would be foolish to invade and it couldn’t be done.
The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, insisted that with the Lord on their side they could take the territory. By faith they saw God and His promises beyond the obstacles.
There are countless examples of the gospel message being preached, especially in the book of Acts. Some believed and were baptized, others ignored and scoffed. The same message was preached and heard but people reacted differently.
Today, people can read the same passage and react different ways.
Mark 16:16: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” “No, Jesus didn’t mean that,” some will say. Others will determine that it’s the “believing part” that’s the really important part. Still some will actually believe that Jesus meant to believe and be baptized.
Acts 2:38: “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Some will say, “See you have to repent, you’re saved, then you are baptized.” Others say, “How did you possibly arrive at that conclusion? ‘Repent and be baptized,’ what’s hard to understand about that?”
There are not different truths in these passages. There is one right answer. There were not different acceptable truths when the gospel was preached in the First Century. Some believed and obeyed, others resisted. Things are not so different now than they were then, are they? Some will look to see the truth, while many others will refuse.
Which side will we find ourselves on: God or men?
Shane Williams preaches at Sutton Lane church of Christ.