What’s Wrong with Being Narrow-Minded?
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Growing up near Flint, Michigan, and General Motors, I come from a long line of factory workers. For a couple of years, my father worked at the Fisher Body assembly plant. My grandfather retired from Buick. My mother worked for a short time at the AC Spark Plug factory. We also had a couple of uncles and some cousins who were shop rats (as they called themselves).
In the auto industry, preciseness is of the utmost importance. Anyone who has owned and maintained a vehicle knows how vital that accuracy is. Who argues with the “narrow-minded” worker who manufactures and assembles mechanical parts measuring in the thousandth of an inch?
We all appreciate the surgeon being exact when cutting on us to extract something harmful or repair some damage within our bodies. We are thankful for our doctors eliminating our pain and suffering. But we appreciate his/her expertise and preciseness in diagnosing and treating our illnesses. Everyone wants doctors, lab technicians, and pharmacists who are well-educated, exact, even picky when it comes to our health concerns.
As we think about this, what greater need for preciseness, even narrow-mindedness, than God’s instructions for the soul? Our outward person needs fixing up now and then, but it still grows old and eventually wears out. We can’t do anything about that. With God’s help and through His Word, the inner person (our spirit) must be molded and shaped during this life to live on for eternity in heaven.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
Where we spend eternity will depend on how we live our lives now, using God’s word as our guide and instruction book. He commands more than a casual treatment of His truths. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; cf. Revelation 22:18, 19; Hebrews 11:6; Deuteronomy 6:17; 2 Peter 1:10).
How exact or precise does God want us to be in our observance of His will? Scripture contains vital information on how to live an obedient life before God to get to heaven. He allows liberties and expediencies in carrying out some areas of His laws. How we carry out the Great Commission (Mark 16:15): walk or drive a car, speak over the fence, or by radio, TV, or the printed page; all these are liberties. But the message doesn’t change. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (16:16).
We may baptize in a baptistry, pond, lake, river, or ocean, but the mode and purpose of baptism must not change. We baptize by immersion (burial) for the remission or forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3, 4; Colossians 2:12).
The same is true with the Lord’s Supper. How do we facilitate communion? We can use one cup or many cups passed around in trays. We can make our bread or use commercially packaged bread. We must be exact in our use of “unleavened” bread and the grape juice, partaking of the supper on Sundays only, commemorating the death of Christ on the cross (Matthew 26:26-29; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
There are plenty of scriptural examples (Romans 15:4) of God demanding preciseness in carrying out His laws. When people did not do just as God said, they faced severe consequences. Study the stories of Moses and the rock (Numbers 20:1-13), Nadab and Abihu and fire (Leviticus 10:1-3), Saul and the Amorites (1 Samuel 15:13-26), the Galatians and the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
When folks say God never intended or expected us to obey the “letter of the law.” they think those who do, are being narrow-minded, legalistic, picky, and unreasonable. Those who lean on their human understanding and are wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 3:5-7). They fail to trust in the Lord and take Him at His word. They become like the Pharisees, transgressing the commandment of God to follow their own traditions (Matthew 15:3), or the unbelieving Jews, seeking their own righteousness rather than the righteousness of God (Romans 10:2, 3). These people fail to rightly divide (accurately handing) the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). They twist the word of God to fit their doctrines (2 Peter 3:16), which is equal to adding or taking away from God’s perfect and precise word of truth. Those who do such things fall under the severe curses from God (Revelation 22:18, 19).
We should pity those who believe such things. We pray diligently for their souls. We ask God to give them time to repent of their error, finding their way to the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life (2 Peter 3:9; Matthew 7:13, 14; cf. Luke 13:24-27; ). —Chris