Some Thoughts On Doctrine

Some Thoughts On Doctrine

Doctrine, transliterated as didaskaliva (Strong’s G1319), literally means: teaching, instruction, that which is taught, and precepts. Whether we are speaking of the doctrines of grace, the Doctrine of Christ, or the Gospel, we are speaking of the same essential precepts that God reveals to His elect concerning salvation. Those who say that they don’t want to preach doctrine, they only want to preach Christ, have no clue what they are saying. Right doctrine, when applied to the heart by the Spirit of God, directs us to the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot have the Lord Jesus without right essential doctrine; however, one can intellectually/superficially hold to right essential doctrine without having the Lord Jesus (if there understanding is but carnal, not God-given, and not accompanied by a God-given love for the truths promoted in the doctrine).

Likewise, if someone states “I don’t care about doctrine, I only care about Jesus,” you can pretty much rest assured that their “jesus” (or concept thereof) isn’t worth knowing or caring about. Those who love the true Lord and Saviour, love His doctrine; and those who love His doctrine (not unto mere debate and contention, but unto the adorning of the Gospel with the fruit of the Spirit), evidence that they do indeed love Him with a God-given love.

Concerning Doctrine

I. God promises that He gives us Good Doctrine (Proverbs 4:2) and thus we should not forsake his law. His law, His testimonies, His precepts – they all point to His word (which is Spirit when mixed with a love of the Truth by the effectual working of the Spirit of God). We are to forsake bad doctrine, false doctrine, and watered-down doctrine – but we must never forsake true doctrine.

II. God teaches that those who will learn His (Good) doctrine, and come to understanding, are those who once erred in spirit and murmured (Isaiah 29:24), but have now been brought to Truth by the effectual working of God. In the previous verse (v23) God states that when (spiritual) Jacob seeth his children, the work of God’s hands, in the midst of Him, they shall sanctify God’s name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. Those who are taught of God are those who are the works of God’s hands – not the work’s of their fallen/depraved will.

III. God promises that this Good Doctrine shall “drop as the rain, distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass” (Deuteronomy 32:2). I believe that this is language that the Good Doctrine will quench the thirst, nourish the spirit, and cause to grow in grace those whom receive His doctrine with a God-given faith in Christ (His person and His finished work). We read in 1 Timothy 4:6, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

IV. This is the same Good Doctrine that the Father gave to Christ to reveal and make effectual. God declares that if any man will do his will, he shall know of the (Good) doctrine, whether it be of God (John 7:16-17).

V. This is the same Good Doctrine that Jesus proclaimed; the same Good Doctrine that revealed His Person, His character, His perfect law and attributes, and His glorious plan of salvation. It was the same doctrine that the He taught with Authority; at which the people were astonished (Matthew 22:33; Matthew 7:28; Mark 1:22, 27; Luke 4:32).

VI. This is the same Good Doctrine that God sovereignly delivers to elect sinners and causes them to obey from the heart (Romans 6:17).

VII. A vital aspect of the Good Doctrine is the Doctrine of Christ, and its principles consist repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1-2). Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (II John 1:9).

VIII. This is the same Good Doctrine that all true believers continue steadfastly in; it is the same doctrine shared in heart and mind of the brethren and unites them in their worship and adoration of Christ (in Spirit and in Truth). It is the same Good Doctrine that underlies true baptism, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers (Acts 2:42).

IX. This is the same Good Doctrine for which Christ, and all that are His, suffer persecution; defying, even unto death, the command/desire of the wicked that we should not teach in His name, and proclaim His Doctrine (Acts 5:28).

X. This is the Good Doctrine to which we must hold fast (Titus 1:9) and give attendance (I Timothy 4:13); it is found in the Bible alone for all scripture is of God (God-Breathed), and is profitable for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness (I Timothy 3:16). We are to preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine ((1 II Timothy 4:2). Likewise, we are to take heed unto ourselves, and unto the Good doctrine and continue in therein. God promises that in so doing, we (who believe by a God-given faith) shalt both save ourselves, and them that hear us (1 Timothy 4:16).

XI. This is the same Good Doctrine from which false brethren turn (fall away, apostatize): for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4). This same Good Doctrine declares that those who oppose right doctrine are such that serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17). We are to heed the Good Doctrine that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of (bad/false) doctrine… by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:14, 1 Timothy 1:10)

XII. This is the same Good Doctrine that unites all brethren; and yet it is the same Good Doctrine that behooves us to separate from those who promote false doctrines. The Good Doctrine requires that we mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which we have learned; and avoid them. Therefore, If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (II John 1:10-11).

XIII. This is the same Good Doctrine that we ought to speak (Titus 2:1) as we exhort and convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9); in all things shewing ourselves a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us (adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things – Titus 2:7-10).

XIV. In keeping the Good Doctrine, out of a God-Given love for it, we should strive to walk in such a way that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed (1 Timothy 6:1). If any man teach otherwise, and consents not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings…

by Curt Wildy

God’s Will or Man’s Will?

God’s Will or Man’s Will?

Throughout the history of Christianity, there has been a vigorous conflict between Christians (those who have been saved by the free will and sovereign grace of God), and those within Christendom who profess Christ, but who really partake in will-worship (as the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, calls it in Colossians 2:23). Will-worship has four primary forms.

Pelagianism, the doctrine named after the British monk Pelagius, maintains that man is born innocent, without an inherited sinful nature, and thus can turn to God in his own strength, through the exercise of his own “free-will,” all without any divine assistance. Although always rejected by Christians, by 418 AD, most of Christendom rejected it as heresy as well.

Semipelagianism, the second form rejected by Christians, arose in the early 500s. By 529 AD, during the Second Council of Orange, most of Christendom rejected it as heresy as well. Unlike Pelagianism, Semipelagianism admits that man fell in Adam, but maintains that the fall was not total. It maintains that man is still able to “cooperate” with God, and that the beginning of faith/salvation is solely an act of their “free will,” completely unaided by God.

Arminianism, the third form, was developed in the 1500s by Arminius as a refutation of the doctrines of free and sovereign grace (the basis of the Protestant Reformation). Arminianism, a variant of Semipelagianism, maintains that the fall of man was total, but that the Holy Spirit restores the will of man to the point wherein they can exercise their freewill to either accept or reject their notion of Jesus. This error also denies the sovereign grace of God, and makes His grace, and the work of the omnipotent Holy Spirit, resistible by the will of man. In our day, the vast majority of Christendom is either Arminian, Semipelagian, or Sacramentalist in nature. Sadly, there has been a great falling away from the Truth — as the Bible declared would happen, and is even now happening.

Sacramentalism: The fourth form, usually encompasses some or all of the other three forms. It is generally defined as the belief that (a) observance of one or more of the “sacraments” is necessary for salvation, (b) that partaking of one or more of the “sacraments” can confer grace unto salvation; and/or (c) that the sacraments are inherently efficacious. Sacramentalism exists today in the form of the Roman Catholic, Greek (and various other) Orthodox, Coptic, Anglican/Episcopalian religions, and other related religions within Christendom.

The True Gospel: rejects all forms of will-worship and states that only God’s will is truly free. After the fall, man’s will became corrupted, sold out to sin, and is in bondage to fallen self and Satan. As a result, mankind is completely incapable of either turning to God on its own (John 6:44), or taking any steps toward doing so. Likewise, because of the fall, mankind has absolutely no desire to seek after, or turn to, God on His own terms — which is solely through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:9-18; Romans 10:1-15).

It is through the free and sovereign love, grace, mercy, and will of God (John 1:12-13), that He saves His people; it is not through the exercise of the sinner’s will. Salvation, faith, and repentance (2 Tim 2:25) are all gifts of God; He gives these gifts freely to His people before they even ask, and without the need to wait upon them to “choose” Him. Christians do not choose God; God chooses them (Eph 1:4; Psalm 65:4; John 15:16). They do not “accept Jesus;” the Lord Jesus makes them acceptable before a perfectly Holy and Righteous God (by providing a righteousness for them, through His finished work on the cross, that guarantees all aspects of their salvation).

From before the foundation of the Earth (Eph 2:1-10), God the Father elected a people (too numerous for man to count), and gave them to His Son as His elect Bride; God the Son atoned for and redeemed the elect; and God the Holy Spirit gives spiritual life, faith, and repentance to each elect sinner at the time appointed of the Father. Specifically, their salvation is based solely upon the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ (Rom 4:6), without respect to, and without the contribution of, their will or work, conduct or character. In such a Gospel, the only true Gospel, all of the glory goes to God alone, through Christ; none goes to the saved sinner, who forever remains a complete debtor to the sovereign love, will and mercy of God (and would have it no other way).

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”
Galatians 2:16

by Curt Wildy