In another article (145) we began a consideration of the nature of the Church of Jesus Christ. This consideration is necessary because of the nature of deception that exists in our world. There are more religions than we can examine; there are more churches than we can attend; there are more views of religion than we can digest; and there is more confusion than we can be comfortable with. We said that the Bible gives us all the answers that we need, and concluded with the question: do you know the Bible well enough to be able to tell if the church you attend is really sanctioned by the Bible?
Why is this question important? Aren't all churches trying to get us to heaven? Isn't sincerity enough with God? Do we have to actually be right in order to be saved from the wrath of God that is coming? Are not all who attend Christian churches believers in Jesus Christ? Why do we need to know the Bible well enough to be discerning about our religious participation?
Let's look at the example that existed in history when Jesus came. Who was it that crucified the Lord of Glory? Was it the Roman government in its representative, Pontius Pilate? Yes, in the sense that he could have set Him free, having acknowledged that he had found nothing in Jesus that was worthy of death (John 18:38). But, how did He come to be before Pilate? Was it Judas that crucified Jesus? Yes, in the sense that he was the one who led the mob to the garden where Jesus was praying so that they could arrest Him in the hidden darkness of the night. But, how did Judas have any motivation to betray Jesus? Was it not the religious leaders of God's chosen religion and nation that offered the bribe money to Judas because they wanted Him silenced? Therefore, the guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus rests upon the leaders of the main biblical religion that existed in His day.
That raises a question: how did the biblically validated religion, established by Moses and the Word of God, get to the point that its primary leaders were so antagonized by Jesus that they would do anything to silence Him? It got there by slow degrees. Incrementally its leaders began to substitute human dogma and tradition for the Word of God (Matthew 15:9). After a long time, the tradition was more important than the study of the Word of God.
And so it is today. We have had various brands of Christianity around for almost 2,000 years. We have more pontification and less real Bible study than we have ever had in the various forms of Christianity that abound. There are enormous numbers of people who think their church is the correct one, but they almost never spend an hour personally studying the Bible and asking God to reveal His truth to them. Thus, the various churches, which Paul said would be led by apostates and evil seducers in the last days, find it easy to prey upon people who trust them but refuse to study the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 20:29-31).
Is God going to have pity on people who trust in their church when He has given them His Word and warned them to study it? Probably not.