Today, there are people who profess to be Christian who don’t want to go to a church that emphasizes doctrine. They just want to love Jesus and get along with everyone and not have debates and arguments over doctrine. The desire to love Jesus is commendable and proper. The reluctance to learn doctrine is guaranteed to defeat the goal of loving Jesus because only by knowing truth (doctrine) can a person build a relationship with Jesus.
We are born into this world sinners with darkened understanding, blindness to spiritual truth and a disposition of self-love and selfishness.
When God saves a person, He changes the heart and the mind and the life. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things pass away; behold all things become new (2 Cor. 5:17). The salvation God provides comes by grace through faith (Eph 2:8) and that faith comes by doctrine (faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – Rom 10:17). Then God sanctifies the Christian through a steady diet of Bible doctrine (John 17:17 – “Sanctify them through thy truth; Thy Word is truth.”). It is by doctrine that we are changed from all our pre – Christian unbiblical ideas and habits so we can be free to walk in truth for God’s glory (“you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32). Our minds have been so polluted by sin that we can’t even define Jesus, love, sacrifice, atonement, grace, etc. without God’s Word. We can’t love Jesus while at the same time say His Words are not important to study and define and understand. Without His Words, we have only feelings and subjective ideas. The Words of Jesus cannot be separated from the person of Jesus. With His doctrine (words of scripture), we can grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ (2Peter 3:18).
Jesus upheld the authority of the words of scripture and their importance in salvation and warned of the consequence of trying to separate Jesus and doctrine; “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38). Jesus said His Words were so critical to a genuine saving relationship with Him that He warned in John 12:48: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My Words, has one that judges him – the Word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6). He is the living Word (Rev. 19:13). To have a saving relationship with Jesus and to grow in that loving relationship, we must study, understand and apply the written Word (doctrine).
Today, open the Bible and seek the Lord in His Word. You will find Him because all scripture reveals Jesus Christ (Luke 24: 27; John 5:39). The more you study about Him, the more you will love Him.
Pastor Bob Dennis