The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

08/18/2009

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Authority And Standards


"I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my Fathers" (Gal. 1:14).

I remember when I was young and bristled at authority. Certainly I knew as much as anyone, why couldn't I just do everything the way I wanted to? Standards??? Authority?? Just someone trying to keep me from doing things the way I pleased! As we mature we quickly learn that without authority and standards in the world there would be confusion and chaos. Our religious belief is no exception. In today's verse, the apostle Paul is talking about Judaism, the "belief of his fathers." He was zealous for it. The context of the verse seems to indicate that part of the reason he was so zealous for it was that his fathers practiced it. When he was shown the truth, he had to give of the religion of his fathers. We cannot follow an authority solely based on the fact that people we care about believe that way...Paul had to give up the religion of his ancestors.

Pinocchio was urged be his friend and mentor Jiminy Cricket to "let your conscience be your guide." Is that sound advice? As Paul (Saul) presented himself before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:1 he exclaimed, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience." That duty was persecuting Christians and having them thrown in prison for their beliefs. In this case, his conscience was not a very good guide because it was steered by a false premise. Many people are conscientious in what they believe, it does not mean that they are right. A conscience only works when it is guided by the truth of our God.

How about staying with the majority? That seems to be a safe way to go. Though it works in our form of government, when it comes to our core religious beliefs, it just doesn't hold water. Jesus' teachings about the "majority" are made crystal clear in Matt. 7:13 & 14. Can a man or some council be our authority? Directed by God, Jeremiah said this, "I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his own steps" (10:23). There is but one standard that is to be our authority and that is God's Word. (2 Pet.1:21) "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psa. 119:105). God's Word "equips us for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17). The standard and authority in our lives ought to be that be which we will one day be judged....The Book of Life...

Have a great day....Let your light shine for Him... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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