We tend to be a people of opinions. In fact, we tend to be a people of strong opinions. Often those opinions are so strong that we are willing to allow those opinions to divide our families, to divide us from friends, and to even divide our churches. Those are some pretty significant consequences that might warrant a little bit of discussion, don’t you think?
But what if I were to tell you that your opinions, those that you think so much of, that you might be willing to allow to divide your family, you from your friends, or even the church of which you are a part, simply put, God doesn’t care about them. He is neither for them, nor is he against them. They are what we sometimes call an expedient. A matter of judgment that is probably unique to whatever group of people make it that may not necessarily apply to every group of people across the board.
How do I know that? Because 2 Peter 1:3 says that God has provided us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Therefore if He did not provide His insight or expectation on a particular matter then it doesn’t pertain to life or godliness, therefore as far as eternity is concerned it doesn’t matter. I could have one opinion about that matter, you could have a completely different opinion about it, but if God didn’t touch on it through His revealed word then He doesn’t care.
Can I give you an example of this? In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul addressed a matter that apparently was a hot button issue in the 1st century church (considering He addressed it in his letter to the Romans too). That issue was whether or not it was a sin to eat meat that was taken from an animal killed to make a sacrifice to an idol (vs. 1). Paul acknowledged the fact that there were heated opinions on both sides of that issue, but whether they ate that meat or not he said it did not impact their relationship with God (vs. 8) because God did not care. How do I know? Because He did not legislate on the matter therefore it was not something that had any eternal importance at all. All He wanted for them to do was personally act according to the terms of their own consciences, take the tender faith of their weak brethren into consideration, and then let the matter rest (vs. 10).
That particular issue may not be alive as much (or at all) today. But there are plenty of other issues that do. Issues that regardless of what our opinion is on them make absolutely no difference pertaining to whether we are going to heaven or hell. I could give a list of a few that would apply but the arguments that would surely occur would deter from the point I want to make.
Before we label something as being a sin, label a congregation for being liberal, or label a Christian for being unsound or unfaithful we should really make sure that the issue we disagree with them about is really something that matters to God. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of things that do matter to God and when something matters to God it should absolutely matter to us. I’m afraid that many things we allow to divide us that we care a lot about are really things that God couldn’t care less about. All I’m asking is that when we study the scriptures that we handle them aright (2 Timothy 2:15) and come to an unbiased reality of whether something matters or not. Because regardless of what our opinions may or may not be there are some times when God just doesn’t care.
Andy Brewer ministers with the Phillips Street church of Christ in Dyersburg, Tennessee.