Sometimes particular characteristics will stand out about you. For example a person is easily picked out when wearing a tuxedo at the beach or a bathing suit at a formal dinner. Sometimes these distinctive characteristics occur do to misinformation, naivety, or a desire to grandstand. However, we are here to discuss distinctives that are based on reasoned convictions.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord”
A delightful phrase from Scripture is the beginning of Isaiah 1:18. Unlike a blind following of any doctrine, our Lord asks us to “reason together”. Fundamentally this is an act of love. Our Lord sets down evidence, a logical progression of thoughts and history to allow us to see, with understanding and conviction, His ways, His creation, and our duties. He demonstrates that His ways are not egotistical, irrational, or emotion driven. He allows us to see that His creation is one of order and that He alone has the power to disrupt or supersede that order. He shows clearly our duties, obligations, freedoms and privileges.
Sir Isaac Newton famously wrote “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” He was giving credit to the great body of work that seeded him and gave respect and thankfulness to the people on whose work he stood. We have a complete canon of Scripture and six thousand years of history on which to stand. We have much to see if we only look. However, just like Newton, we must not be distracted by the popular, our culture, or a long history of going astray. We have the privilege and duty to search the Scripture and find our Lord’s truth.
Popular opinion tends to go astray. We see this from the fall, Noah’s time before and after the flood, Israel wandering in the desert, before and after the exile, before and after the crucifixion and resurrection, the time of the reformation, and today. An honest self-examination will show how easily we fall into the popular rather than the truth.
We must be careful not to assume that because something is popular that it is wrong. Eating a good meal is a popular idea. We would be hard pressed to argue that this is wrong. However, we can see that making a food selection by what is convenient can lead us to a less healthy meal. Making this kind of selection often leads into a habit. These habits done by our peers turn bad choices into part of our culture. In subsequent generations we will have no idea how we developed our unhealthy eating habits, or even recognize that they are present. That person who snacks on a carrot instead of a candy bar is then the oddity, they are distinctive.