There are three pitfalls if we are to hear carefully God’s truth. Knowing these three will help us avoid them and find life in Christ.
Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away. Luke 8:18
Jesus sounds warnings to His hearers. We need to consider these warnings too. We need to beware of three common pitfalls that can trap us:
- Mere head knowledge. One may know much about the Bible and theology without having faith in that knowledge.
- Outward conformity alone. It is possible to do Christian activities and abide by the norms of the church while having an unbelieving heart.
- Presumption. Many believe that because God is love He will not bring anyone to judgment. God is love but He is also holy. God is described as “keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” Exodus 34:7 (Emphasis mine).
Hearing alone is not enough
Hearing God’s word is a necessary condition for salvation but it is not a sufficient condition for it. One must add faith to hearing, faith that produces works. The Israelites failed to do this to their own destruction.
For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. Hebrews 4:2
Be careful how you hear. Let your hearing be combined with faith and let faith be evidenced by an obedient and fruitful life for God’s glory.
For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.