“Are you sure?”, you ask as a shudder runs through your body.
“Yes,” the surgeon tells you, “you need to have an operation.”
You knew that you were ill and realized the possibility of aggressive treatment to cure the illness, but never had faced the reality until just now.
As you contemplate these stunning words, you barely hear the physician still speaking to you, “Of course, you should seek a second opinion from another surgeon before committing to any course of treatment.”
“What’s that?,” we reflect, “A second opinion? Of course! For something this serious, I should check with another expert. Even doctors can be wrong, can’t they?”
We realize that with something as important as our health, it is important to get as much information as possible before committing to a particular course of treatment. The reasoning is pretty simple. If we make a mistake, it could cost us dearly, perhaps even losing our life! My wife had gallstones during her first pregnancy. The first surgeon we consulted recommended traditional surgery with a month-long recovery period. We asked him about the new laparoscopic gall-bladder surgery we had heard about, but he said she was not a good candidate for that type of surgery because of the nature of her stones. But when we sought a second opinion, another surgeon, who did many of the laparoscopic procedures, told us that she could have the laparoscopic surgery with a much shorter period of recovery. She ended up following the advice of the second surgeon and came home from the hospital the next day. Within a week, she was nearly back to normal activity. The first “expert” was wrong!
What about something even more serious than our health? What about the deadly effect of sin? You would think that people go to even more trouble to research all possible cures before deciding on a course of action. Yet, I am amazed to find otherwise careful people who accept the advice of the first “expert” who tells them what they must do to be saved from their sins.
Sin is a deadly disease that left untreated is 100% fatal (Rom 5:12). What course of treatment will you seek? Some choose to ignore it hoping it will go away. It doesn’t (Jas 1:15). Many seek advice from leaders of various religions. Most of these leaders claim to follow the teachings of the same Teacher and Physician, Jesus of Nazareth (Matt 9:12,13). But, when you compare the advice given, it often contradicts the advice that comes from another leader. More importantly, it often conflicts with what the master Physician has taught.
How can we know which advice is good and which is suspect? When faced with that quandary in a medical problem, we should ask the doctor to explain it to us. If a physician is unwilling, or unable, to explain why the course of treatment he recommends is best, then I am unwilling to trust his advice. Understanding the treatment for sin does not require four years of graduate school and many more years of intern training. Any normal person can understand the prescription of God (Eph 3:4). Challenge the one giving you advice to support his recommendation from the Bible.
What do we find in the scriptures? Jesus tells us that we must place our trust in Him (John 8:24). We must change the direction of our lives to serve His will (Luke 13:1-5). We must confess publicly our trust in Jesus (Matt 10:32,33). and we must be baptized to become His disciple (Matt 28:18-20). Is that the advice that you have been given? If not, examine your own Bible and decide whose advice you will follow: a self-styled “expert”, or the great Physician, Jesus.