How do we know that there are 12 inches in one foot and three feet in one yard? It is because our society has a “standard” of measurement. Webster defines a standard as, “something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example”.
The Need For Standards
In every facet of life, we recognize the need for standards. Go to the fabric shop and ask for a yard of material, they will give you 36 inches. If a shop is not giving a full 36 inches of material, then they are not selling a yard and are cheating their customers. Stop at the gas station to fill up your car and notice the stickers on the pumps signed by the state commissioner of agriculture. Those stickers say the pumps meet the standards of delivering gasoline by the gallon and metering the fractions of gallons correctly. Standards are important. Where no standard exists, confusion reigns. If the designers of a stadium decide to put first down markers every 12 yards instead of every 10, then teams playing in that stadium used to the 10 yard rule are at an extreme disadvantage and may become confused as to how they are doing in the game. If there were no standards for medicines, people would be overdosing or under-dosing, risking possible death. There must be a standard in order to achieve and maintain harmony and unity in our society.
The Need For A Standard In Religion
A standard must also exist in matters of religion. If there is no standard, any doctrine or practice could be considered legitimate, and that would lead to utter confusion. Many people in the religious world fail to recognize the “standard” God has put forth for pleasing Him. We are not talking about matters of judgment such as what color to paint the meeting place, whether or not to have a drinking fountain, a kitchen facility, or any such thing. What we are talking about is the doctrine which we practice. Paul told Timothy that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), and as such gives man an infallible standard by which to conduct his manner of life (Philippians 1:27). The Corinthian brethren were given the admonition to “speak the same thing” (1 Corinthians 1:10). In this reading, Paul also points out that the result of not speaking the same thing leads to division, which is displeasing to God. The peace of God that is to rule in our hearts unites us in one body (Colossians 3:15) because we have the same standard which we can go by. When one rejects the the inspired standard, strife and division occurs.
Our Plea For Unity Based Upon God’s “Standard”
Often times, members of the church of Christ are accused of being divisive. However, the exact opposite is true. We believe in uniting men under one standard – the Bible. Our plea and prayer is for unity, but unity based upon the “standard” of God’s truth (John 17:17). If individuals will adhere to this inspired standard, peace and unity will reign. God does not base our service to Him on our opinions of what He likes or dislikes. He does not reveal one thing to one and something else to another. Rather, God has given us His “standard” for unity.
Some in the church today cry for unity, but do not accept God’s “standard”. The question is, who causes division when such is opposed? Is the “standard” governed by the one who believes there are 36 inches in a yard, or the one whose yardstick is only 30 inches? Brethren, let’s never stray from the “standard” of God’s inspired and infallible Word (1 Peter 4:11).
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