In our Bible Study last night at church, I presented a devotional on the last half of John 3:16. Jesus Christ came into this world to die for the sins of all mankind in order that any might not perish. The word that is translated “perish” comes from a Greek verb apollumi. It is translated by a couple of different English words in the New Testament. In Matthew 2:13 we read, “… for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” Matthew 10:6 states, “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Finally, Matthew records the words of Jesus who said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (10:39) The mission of Jesus Christ was that no one in the world might perish, or be destroyed or lost. At the end of His earthly ministry, in His prayer recorded in John 17, He says that none of the Apostles were lost except Judas Iscariot (who never was “found”). What was it that kept them? Jesus answered, He gave them the Word of God. So why is it that those who name the name of Jesus Christ, seek by their speech to destroy others. So often I have seen on social media a video that had the title, “Watch so and so DESTROY…” (another who holds an opposing belief). Shouldn’t the mission of Bible-believing Christians be to seek the lost with the words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then, to keep them secure and growing with the same words?
In his second epistle, Peter predicts that false teachers will enter into the church with destructive (the noun form of the verb apollumi) heresies. A heresy is that which causes a division. Why are there so many divisions within the church or why is the United States so divided? The answer is that we no longer want to reason together to ascertain the truth. This is mainly because we no longer have a standard of truth, but everyone has their own “truth.” Consequently, we would rather destroy those who differ with us. After all, no one can tell me I’m wrong in what I believe if they have been destroyed.
Truth should and will destroy error, but truth should never be used to destroy people. It is the truth that sets one free. The One who is the way, the truth and the life came into this world to save people from destruction. Should any not accept the truth, they will one day suffer destruction at the hand of God, but that is His prerogative, not ours.
(Don’t stop reading when you come to the end of this sentence, please!) Everything that I believe, is right, and therefore if you disagree with me, you’re wrong. Of course, everything that I believe, I think is true. Why else would I believe it? But I also know that my mind has been corrupted by Adam’s fall and is capable of holding to error, just as much as anyone else. Therefore, I would hope that whenever I err in my beliefs you would treat me, and others, with the kindness and grace that Jesus Christ ministered to the Apostles in His earthly ministry. And I promise I will seek to do the same. And maybe, just maybe, we might keep ourselves from destruction.