A good father outlines the rules (both specifically and in general) which his children are to follow. He does this through consideration of all of his family and, particularly, for the sake of his children, whom he loves fervently. The children will have ideas of their own and these will often conflict with their father's rules. The children love the father, but sometimes feel that they have reason to ignore or disobey his rules. They know that their father loves them and they honestly believe that the thing they want to do is good, and that good will result; surely (because it is good) their father will be pleased and will not punish them for breaking the rules.
The father is more knowledgeable and mature than the children. Because of his greater experience the father knows that the thing that was done was not good, and he is displeased. Should he punish, or should he commend his children?
The 13th Chapter of I Kings, tells of a prophet whom God ordered to make a journey to destroy an altar which was being used by King Jeroboam in worship of idols. The prophet was not to eat bread, drink water, or return home the way he came. The altar was destroyed and the prophet started home as commanded. But an old prophet met him and lied to him saying that an angel had commanded that the traveler was to come home with the old prophet and eat bread and drink water. The prophet believed him and went home with him and ate bread and drank water. The prophet was sincere and honestly believed that he was acting in accord with the will of God. He believed he had good reason for he was told that the instruction had come from God. He was honest and sincere, however, God destroyed him very soon afterward because of this disobedience.
The ardent Jewish Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, persecuted the church in the days soon after it's establishment, and brought many Christians to trial and death. He did Christ a very great wrong because he wanted to please God. But Saul did all these things with a sincere and honest conscience; years later, this same man (now a Christian) said, as recorded in Acts 23:1, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day".
Men still say, "God will be pleased with your life and your worship as long as you are honest and sincere in your heart". The story about the good father is an earthly example to show that honesty and sincerity are not always the key to being pleasing to the one in authority. The stories about the prophet and Saul are only two of a host of examples which show that the actions of sincere and honest people are not, necessarily, pleasing to God, and if God is displeased these actions will result in punishment.
God does not leave man without knowledge about his will nor without instruction about how to please Him. Because persons may be ignorant of His will, having not studied sufficiently, or that they might have believed a lie from a false teacher (or prophet) is no excuse in the sight of God. Speaking of the Old Testament examples like that about the prophet, Saul (Now the Apostle Paull wrote in I Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition. .,. wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall".
Our conscience can be a safe guide to us in religious or moral matters, only if it is a well taught and trained conscience. It is of prime importance that we learn of God's will through study of His word. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". We must be doubly careful for there are deceivers everywhere; II Timothy 3-13 tells us, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Thus, the Bible must provide authorization for our every living act if we are to be pleasing to God. Yet, we are confined only to that which is written and we must not invent additions to the Gospel; read II John, verse 9.
The Bible Research Library seeks to present the word of God free of human prejudice, and are everywhere documented thoroughly. We request that you always check each scripture reference carefully to be sure that it is correct as used in our presentation. We ask that you check the context of the verse and other correlative scriptures. We beg of you not to believe a thing of what we, or any other, teach unless you can prove it for yourself from your own Bible.