Some years back, a terrible tragedy struck. A batch of pain relievers was purposely contaminated with poison, and a number of unsuspecting victims died using them. They had sincerely believed the medicine they were taking would relieve their pain, but it caused their death. How tragic!
The same can be said of the unfortunate victims of the Titanic. They believed the ship could not sink, and so great was their confidence in this magnificent ship, that even when the warning sounded, they were unwilling to enter the lifeboats.
In both of these instances, faith was exercised by those involved. It was not a lack of faith that resulted in their deaths, but rather a misplaced faith. Yet some seem to think today that it doesn’t matter what you believe. Some people say, “I don’t believe in God.” But that doesn’t change the reality of God’s existence. Either there is a God or there isn’t. Some people say, “I don’t believe in hell.” Again, this does not alter reality. Either there is a hell or there isn’t. Some people say, “I don’t believe the Bible.” Here it is not a question of whether or not the Bible exists (obviously it does), but whether or not the Bible is true, trustworthy, and reliable. And the Bible teaches that there is a God, though the fool has said in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1). This same Bible teaches that there is a hell and that those who reject God’s offer of salvation will suffer there eternally.
The apostle Paul says that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and the apostle Peter tells us that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Proof of this claim of the divine authorship of the Bible is found in the remarkable fulfilment of hundreds of prophecies. In the Old Testament, God challenges the false gods and their devotees, saying, “Declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods” (Isaiah 41:22-23). But of course, no one but the one true God can accurately and consistently foretell the future. He says, “For I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
More than 300 prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus were fulfilled during His birth, life, death, burial and resurrection. The probability that these were fulfilled by chance is astronomical. The prophet Isaiah, writing approximately 700 years before the time of Christ, predicted (among other things) Christ’s Virgin birth and His death by crucifixion. Prior to 1947, the oldest known manuscript of Isaiah was dated as c. 980 AD, and sceptics asserted these prophecies were written after the fact. But in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in Qumran and have been scientifically dated at least 150 years before the time of Christ. These included a complete copy of the Old Testament scroll of Isaiah, and provide independent confirmation of the amazing accuracy of the Bible in predicting specific events hundreds of years before they occurred.
So what is your faith in? Your beliefs will not change the truth, so you must make sure that your beliefs are true. Is your faith in the unchanging message of the Holy Scriptures written by the apostles and prophets? Or is it in your own opinions? If we reject the objective truth of a written revelation, we are left to drift in an endless sea of our own changing ideas. Indeed, many people today determine truth on the basis of preference, personal experiences, or what seems to work best. But the Lord Jesus said that whoever hears His words and does them is like a man who built his house on a rock solid foundation; while whoever hears His words and doesn’t do them, is like a man who builds his house on a foundation of sand which will not stand up to the storms of life (Matthew 7:24-27).
The Bible teaches that there is a God who will one day judge each one of us. It teaches that there is a heaven and a hell, and that we determine our eternal destiny by our response to the work of Christ on the cross. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). So don’t trust in what you are doing – trust what Christ has done.
Does it matter what I believe? Absolutely. So make sure the object of your faith is true, trustworthy and reliable.