"Be not carried about with
divers and strange doctrines.
For it is a good thing that
the heart be established with grace,
not meats, which have not profited
the that have been occupied therein."
"Do not be carried away
by varied and strange teaching;
for it is good for the heart
to be strengthened by grace,
not by foods, through which those
who were so occupied were not benefited."
Can you imagine if today it was proved that every diet, from the craziest whackos to Dr. Oz to the Surgeon General, is worthless and did not benefit those who were religiously following them. It would be astounding! Of course, this verse is not suggesting this. However, to some of the Jews, to toss out the sacrifice system which is called "meat," is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There were those who were pulling the Christian Jews back to one form of legalism or other, instead of grace.
Now this is really about grace. Isn't that the crux of accepting the Gospel? This concept is hard for many to accept, that they don't have to earn their salvation. What? Can't I crawl around on my knees a little longer, or give a homeless person a buck here and there, or stuff like that to tilt the balance of scales of Judgement towards my side? Can't you see, God, that I'm trying to clean up my life here, then I'll come to You?
Do not be carried away...some translations say, "Be not whirled about..."do not apostatize; permit not yourself to be carried off from Christ and His doctrine. (Adam Clarke) So what has caused us to say, "Oh, look over there! That looks interesting!" when doctrine (church) shopping. Millions have. So what is the difference between true faith and a cult? It is Jesus, plus... Fill in the blank.
A cult always adds another source of authority besides Scripture. Do I need to spell this out? Oh, okay, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Science are just a few of them who are followed by thousands all over the world.
Millions are following a false doctrine which de-emphasizes grace. If only they wear the right underwear, they can get to a higher level of heaven. The Book of Mormon was recently relabeled "The Other Gospel." Hmm. How about the Koran?
Can you imagine standing before the judgement seat of God and saying, "Just so you know, I trusted in Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, or faithfully read every issue of the 'Watchtower,' and by the way, do you want to see my underwear?" It doesn't get you a gold star, but it could erase your name from the Lamb's book of Life because...
"And there is salvation in no one else;
for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men
by which we must be saved."
You can read Matthew 5:24:23ff, "For false Christs and false prophet will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead...Do not believe them."
Adam Clarke wrote, "'Divers and strange doctrines'; those that blended the law and the Gospel, and brought in the Levitical sacrifices and institutions in order to perfect the Christians system. Remember the old covenant is abolished; the new alone I in force...'Strange doctrines,' foreign doctrines; such as have no apostolical authority to recommend them. 'That the heart be established with grace.' It is well to have the heart, the mind, and conscience, fully satisfied with the truth and efficacy of the Gospel; 'Which have not profited them' Because they neither took away guilt, cleansed the heart, nor gave power over sin."
Andrew Murray said, "Among the Hebrew Christians many still clung to the temple and its ritual. And there were among them teachers ho inculcated obedience to the laws in regard to food and to eating of the sacrifices as necessary. The writer warns against these strange teachings. "For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not meats." No outward observances can sustain the inner life: it is by grace alone, grace that come from the throne of grace that must be established. "
John Wesley says, "'various doctrines'--Which differ from the one faith in our one unchangeable Lord; 'strange'--to the ears and hearts of all that abide in Him; for it is good'--It is both honourable before God, and pleasant, and profitable, that 'the heart be established with grace'--Springing from faith in Christ, 'not with meats'--Jewish ceremonies, which indeed can never establish the heart."
In other words, don't add another source of Truth apart from He who is the Word!