Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
There are many doctrines or teachings out there, both in the world and within the Christian faith.
Within the Christian faith, we can attach ourselves too strongly to secondary teachings, causing us to forget the most important matters.
For a Christian, what matters most is Jesus Christ and Him crucified—and all that entails. What follows is also important, but the former should underpin all else, thereby leading us to better understanding that fosters peace and not division.
When we are hung up on secondary issues, divisions break out among us. A holier-than-thou attitude can break out among us. Accusation can break out among us. We can become so caught up in lesser teachings that we do something that mankind is very prone to doing.
As Jesus said, we “neglect the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith.”
We should judge wickedness from righteousness, according to the ways of Jesus and not the ways of man. We should exhort one another in righteousness with patience. We should throw ourselves at the mercy of God as we boldly approach the throne of grace through the sacrifice of Jesus. We should hold faith in Jesus’s ability to forgive our sin, to heal us from it, and to do the same for others according to His perfect timing and will. We should trust in the Lord to provide good things or us, and if some of those good things are difficult to bear, we know that Jesus will make a way for us to bear it.
If we lived in such a manner, there would be no reason for strife and division over secondary teachings. What are secondary teachings? These pertain to Christian doctrine we might see in differing lights within the scriptures, such as that of God’s sovereignty over salvation to man’s free will of salvation, the rapture, interpretation of prophecies, and the nature of the eternal Kingdom. Secondary teachings also include issues of conscience concerning manner of dress, praise preferences, food and drink consumption, holidays, and observance of the sabbath, to name a few.
If we truly followed Jesus above the favored doctrines of our Christian denominations and sects, then we would find greater peace among the brethren. We would also find that most truths are found when we take a position of balance between extremes. Mankind naturally likes extreme positions, but the temperate way is the true way most often. The only way of extreme—without any sort of bending of perception allowed—is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
If we accept His sacrifice and the promise of resurrection—if we really hear what this means for our lives as we learn love towards God and fellow man—then we will hear the teachings of Jesus, learn to apply His ways to our life more fully, and we will live.
It is good to seek after the truth in all things and it is good to stand up for what is right. However, we also know that “the heart is deceitful above all things” and we are all looking at God “as through a dark glass.” As Paul the apostle said, “if any man thinks he knows anything, let him know that he does not know anything as he aught to know it.”
Yet there are things we know. We know that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead. We know that if we put our trust in Him we are forgiven of sin. We know that if we love Him we will get to know Him and He will teach us His ways. He will change our hearts through a spiritual resurrection as He writes the laws of His kingdom in our hearts in measure proportionate to His grace given to us.
On the last day, He will raise us from the dead bodily when He returns to establish His everlasting Kingdom—and then we will know Him fully and we will be as He is.
We need to trust in Him and in His work for each person who places their trust in Him. We all have our place and our work to do, and who are we that we should “judge another man’s servant?” Even so, sometimes the work we do is bringing us all into remembrance of the ways of Jesus—the ways that matter most for our lives—lest we fall short of the promises given to us.
No person who truly loves the Lord Jesus will fall. God’s mercy abounds, and that is a wonderful thing because we all need His mercy. Let’s not take His mercy for granted but use His mercy to help us break free from all forces of destruction according to the measure of faith and grace given to us.
As for doctrines of the world, we can think on these things individually. We can stand up for what is right according to our conscience, but we should never allow any issue within the world to overshadow the ways of Jesus, thereby dragging us down the path of resentment, envy, pride, discontent, and murder of spirit and soul. His ways are life. “let the dead bury their dead.” Follow Jesus and live.
What about myself?
As someone who has walked independently of any Christian denomination for several years, I’ve striven to learn Christian teachings without bias. I don’t claim to know everything, but I do know that many issues we divide over are a matter of perspective. When we get closer to God’s perspective, we often stand in the balance of two extremes. Other teachings include those of personal liberty and conscience, and we should not judge others concerning these matters so long as liberty is not used as an excuse for sin.
I’ve also tried to separate myself from all doctrines of man regarding social ideologies, politics, and the like so that I can see what is truly important. As with all things, wrong is found on all sides because man corrupts all. Jesus is the only way for true goodness. Yet, some doctrines of man reject His ways more than others, so it is good to take a stand so long as we do so in Christ predominately.
Could I grow in these things? There is always room to grow. I don’t know anything as well as I should. I can always grow in loving others more fully and becoming more effective for the Kingdom. Maybe not so long-winded 🙂 There is always so much that could be said. Even so, I will think on these things today.