Once upon a time, I published a post which contained the following sentence: “If the preacher is speaking sound doctrine, the church will not be sound.” This was an error that should have been caught by proof-reading. It should have said: “If the preacher is not speaking sound doctrine, the church will not be sound.” Several of our readers caught the error. Thank you.
There is a lesson to be learned in this–one word can change the meaning of a statement.
The devil directly contradicted God’s warning by adding one three-letter word. God told Adam and Eve they would “surely die” if they ate of the tree in the midst of the garden (Gen. 2:17). The devil said, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).
Denominational preachers try to change the plan of salvation by adding one word. The Spirit revealed, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Men say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith alone, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Instead of upholding biblical faith, they destroy it, because faith alone cannot justify a man (Jas. 2:24; cp. Jn. 12:42-43; Gal. 1:10).
God requires an obedient faith (Heb. 5:9). “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas. 1:22). Obedient faith includes repenting of sins, confessing Christ and being baptized for the remission of sins to become a child of God (Acts 3:19; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:21). After becoming a Christian, one must grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:18; 1:5-11; cf. Phil. 2:12). Faith alone works for neither the sinner nor the saint.
Indeed, one word can change the meaning of a statement. Let us be careful not to allow this in our reading or speaking of God’s Word.
Steven F. Deaton