"How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." 1 Kings 18:21
Recently I heard a sermon stressing the importance of the first resurrection but making the point of a first resurrection assumes there are others. In testing this point against the word of God I found no mention of a second resurrection. Instead the bible speaks of the death and burial of the body and the second death where the body and spirit of man is thrown into the lake of fire.
The mention of a first resurrection speaks to some of the rapture and meeting God in the air. According to that doctrine there is a second resurrection for the unrighteous, especially for those who ignored the Lord all their life.
On the other hand If I were to give a sermon on the resurrection I would stress the point that ďall who are in their graves will rise.Ē I would say if all have risen there would be no reason for additional resurrections.
Therefore we must look into the resurrection and its purpose to understand this noticeable contradiction. Godís word is consistently the same when we understand that God expresses his ideas in several ways. The expressions of God may use different words to explain his principles the concept remains the same.
What we may not understand is that people do not understand concepts in the same manner. For example God said do unto others as you want them to do unto you but he also said the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Even the world says what goes around comes around. The words are different but the concept is to choose your actions wisely for you reap what you sow and what you do to others will be done to you.
There is another concept we may not understand. I understand that the resurrection will be one time but at the same time the bible in a different place speaks of a first resurrection. It confused me for some time but after thinking about this matter I began to wonder if I were trying to defend my beliefs more than a desire of listening to God.
I could be defending my pride of being more right than the next person. That disease is epidemic in the church and it causes more heated discussions and fights among the people of God. Donít we realize that when we fight our ears donít listen to a viewpoint that could very well have some truth to you?
Doesnít God teach his children to speak the truth? Most Christians are sincere in their beliefs and the truth they present may have facts you may not be aware of. I have always said in the past you can be as wrong as I am, when in my heart I knew I was right. Just as every man does what is right in his eyes I am sure that everyone has a similar thought buried in the back of their mind. However the pride of being right is the main reason why we immediately reject any truth that disagrees with our beliefs.
The hard fact is when we reject a biblical fact opposing our beliefs we immediately begin to defend our own beliefs. Itís nearly impossible to defend our beliefs and listen to opposing beliefs at the same time. The bible says as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. Listening to opposing views may rub you raw but it is the rubbing that smooths the rigidity of our beliefs to a point where we should be listening to God.
There are times we need to humble ourselves to recognize that other people have opinions you donít share. The difference of opinion makes the world go around but at the same time the difference of opinion can divide a nation of stubborn people. More often than you think the difference of opinion seen through arrogance says itís my way or the highway.
Wars have been fought over a difference of opinion and even though one side was stronger the difference of opinion remained. Humility can be recognizing that everyone has his or her right to their opinion as long as they donít force everyone to agree with them. Even God has an opinion and you donít have to agree with him even when you may wish you had.
The difference of opinion with God is that we cannot fathom the time and experiences God has had to develop his disposition. Yet his opinions are shared equally with a truth and wisdom that is impeccable. Furthermore we shouldnít forget that opinions are governed by the authority of the individual, as opinions shape our confidence in our beliefs that is not substantiated by proof. Even you can say that your opinion has shaped my faith.
Doesnít faith demonstrate the truth of our beliefs? Faith is the action we take based on our confidence in the opinions we have of Godís word but the outcome of faith substantiates our confidence with proof. Because God responds according to his promises we have a foundation to believe every promise God has made and they will be answered according to what he said he would do. One such promise is;
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3
The Athanasian creed originating between 293-373 AD stated that God was incomprehensible. If that were so the author of this creed has an opinion that contradicts the words of Jesus saying it is possible to know God. Within the Christian community there are a number of opinions that contradict the inspired words of God.
These contradictions appear to be based on what a person understands of the bible. This misunderstanding provides grounds for training in righteousness until we all reach unity in the faith and become mature in the knowledge of God. The difference of opinion can be ironed out to where we understand that we are not perfect in Knowledge and we are in the same boat as our brothers in Christ.
Misinterpretation can be corrected when you listen to one another. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpen another (Proverbs 27:17). Letís remember that a friend is another set of eyes that sees things that you havenít seen. The eyes of a friend can be light unto your path but a true friend becomes wiser by listening to what theyíve seen.