According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word fiction means “something invented by the imagination or feigned.” In other words, it is something that is not true or factual, something not rooted in reality.
While the Bible does not use the English word “fiction,” it does warn of fables and teachings that are not true. The apostle Paul spoke of those who would “turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Timothy 4:4). “Fables” is from a word that means “a tale, i.e., fiction” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament).
Elsewhere Paul warned against “giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth” (Titus 1:14). He urged Timothy to avoid “profane and vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (I Timothy 6:20, italics and underlining mine for emphasis.) He alerted the Colossian Christians to
“Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
In spite of these sober warnings about being deceived by that which is false in religion, there are those who seemingly prefer the “comfort” of the fictitious over that which is factual.
Consider, for example, the following:
“Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort” (The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, Article IX, p. 61, 2008 Edition).
But the fact is that one is not justified by faith only and it is fiction to teach and/or believe otherwise.
James wrote, “You see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Christ is “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). One is made free from sin when he obeys “from the heart that form of doctrine to which he was delivered” (Romans 6:16-18). At His second coming Christ will take vengeance on those who “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:6-10).
Justified by faith? Absolutely! Justified by faith only? Absolutely not! We are justified by “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6) — a faith that obeys! Don’t be deceived by the fiction!
The notion that if a person lives a good, decent, and morally upright life he will go to heaven when he dies is another piece of religious fiction.
We read in the New Testament of just such a man. His name was Cornelius. He was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to all the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:1-2). In spite of these sterling moral qualities Cornelius nevertheless needed to be told “words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14). The apostle Peter went to Caesarea, preached the gospel to Cornelius and his family, and “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). These were the words by which he could be saved! His moral uprightness was not sufficient to save him. Continue reading