Genesis 2:18-25; Hebrews 2:1-18; Mark 10:2-16
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“Why do Christians always insist on doctrine instead of just loving people? Don’t they know they’re ruining everyone’s life?” I can’t even count the times I’ve heard such a sentiment. There’s this general belief, mainly by those outside the church (though even by some within the church), that Christian doctrine is hateful and hurtful. But the problem with such a statement is the lack of knowledge or consensus of what “doctrine” means.
Doctrine, in such arguments, is assumed to be man-made teachings that were added onto the teaching of Christ. People tend to see doctrine as unimportant or secondary to the simple “faith” that “Jesus died for me.” Those insisting on such a notion, however, often fall short on being able to speak more deeply about what God says, what Scripture says. Just as the author of Hebrews warns, many people have drifted away from true faith in Christ by failing to “pay much closer attention to what we have heard,” Hebrews 2:1.
You see, Christian doctrine is nothing less than us repeating the very Words of God, the words that God has spoken to us. Doctrine is the teachings, the words God has given to us to be able to speak about who He is and what He has done for us. Doctrine is the Christian faith, just as the Christian faith is doctrine.
For without doctrine, that is, without God’s word, how can we be saved? For God’s word to us is salvation and life! It was His word to us that crafted the earth in seven days (Genesis 1-2). It was His word to us that formed man and woman in the image of God and breathed life into us (Genesis 2). It was His word to us, that is, the Ten Commandments that declared what is good and right and truth (Exodus 20:1-17). For so Jesus prays for us and says, ““Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth,” John 17:17. It was God’s word to us, declared by angels that said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:11. And even more, it was God’s Word, Christ himself, who said, “It is finished,” John 19:30. For so God’s word to us is this great salvation, this redemption won for you by Jesus himself, that even angels should declare, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said,” Matthew 28:6.
For what reason then, should we neglect or give up any of God’s words to us? Instead, as is testified in Hebrews, “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it,” (2:1). Yes, let us hold fast God’s Word in our hearts. Let us hold fast this great salvation declared to us by God himself through even prophets and apostles, pastors and teachers, parents and children. “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” Hebrews 2:2-3. For so we shall speak all the words of God, knowing that by them we have eternal salvation (Romans 10:10)!
Merciful Father, Your patience and loving-kindness toward us have no end. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may always think and do those things that are pleasing in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!