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I hope this helps.
First we must understand that doctrine is simply another word for teachings. Teachings are everywhere in scripture. You can barley mention anything about Jesus without making a doctrinal statement. If you say Jesus was a man, you've just made a significant doctrinal statement. If you say that Jesus was a prophet, you've just made a significant doctrinal statement. Doctrine is inescapable.
When most people hear the word "Doctrine" they think of some abstract and lofty idea that doesn't pertain to practical human life. O how ignorant of a thought that truly is!
To put it bluntly, we have no basis for practical living without doctrine! Its that important.
Here are two practical reasons for the importance of doctrine.
1. Without doctrine your salvation hangs in the balance: Our salvation is made sure upon what we believe. If we say we believe the Gospel is true, than we have believed and put our trust in particular doctrines. The atonement, The Humanity of Christ, The Deity of Christ, The Bodily Resurrection of Christ, The Authority of Scripture... The list goes on! What you believe totally impacts the validity of your salvation; and without doctrine you cant know what you believe and thus never truly know whether or not you are saved.
If you don't believe in the trinity, how can you say your a Christian? If the god you serve is not the God revealed in scripture, your serving a god who does not exist, aka and idol.
This does not mean that one must have a comprehensive understanding of all details concerning the indispensable doctrines of Christianity upon the accepted presentation of the Gospel, but rather must upon growth in Christ come to comply with all preeminent doctrines as they are encountered. Denials of these truths come to prove the inauthenticity of the initial acceptance of the gospel, thus ones salvation must be brought into question. Doctrine is very very important.
2. Without doctrine you cant know how to live: The teachings of the bible carry with them biblical principles. These principles are to shape a Christians lifestyle into one that is honoring to God. However, without doctrine, we cant know what a God honoring lifestyle looks like.
For example, how is a man supposed to love his wife? Should he treat her harshly for lack of obedience? Should he treat her as a personal slave? Should he commit adultery because she has gained a few extra pounds?
I submit to you that there are biblical doctrines that speak to such questions.
"The Vicarious Atonement of Christ" speaks to this very issue.
The Apostle Paul states "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor,without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5.25-33
Do you see how the doctrine gave substance to the situation? This transfer of truth to practicality is true of all biblical doctrines.
Another example would be the "abstract" doctrine of God's omnipresence. What practical implications could that possibly bring forth? Well, Omnipresence is the doctrine that God is everywhere present. That implies that he sees all that you do, and have ever done for that matter. You can hide none of your sinfulness from the eyes of the Lord. In fact, He saw what you did last night!
Do you see how understanding God's omnipresence may change the way you behave when no earthly eyes are watching? Understanding this doctrine can bring a sense of conviction when one sins, a sense of comfort when tragedy strikes (knowing that God is near), a sense of peace when in the middle of a storm. God is always with you!
Here is a wonderful quote to consider and think through: "God is over all things, under all things; outside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly within, filling" -Hildebert of Lavardin
Doctrine is very important!
What can laws do to prevent the premeditated determination of an evil action?
The answer is nothing! The laws of any country can and are broken daily. And though they may prevent some people from committing heinous crimes, they ultimately are useless in hindering the determined sinful mind.
The united states has seen its fare share of massacres:
As believers we have a tendency to do 1 of 2 things.
1) We make salvation way too hard.
2) We make salvation way too easy.
I'd like to allow scripture to speak to this issue. One book in particular. The wonderful book of 1 John. As I read through this wonderful work, I have found 10 tellers as to what a believer looks like. I encourage all who may be wrestling with this issue to honestly compare themselves with this list. And let the outcome be that as it may. Just be sure to take the appropriate action after your assessment is complete.
1. Do you walk in light? Both moral light and intellectual light. (1 John 1.6-7)
2. Do you admit to being a sinner? (1 John 1.8 - 2.8)
3. Do you keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus? (1 John 2.3-5)
4. Do you love fellow believers? (1 John 2.9-11)
5. Do you love the sinful things of this world? (1 John 2.15-17)
6. Have you left the faith and denied Christ? (1 John 2.18-23)
7. Do you make a habit of committing various sins? (1 John 3.4-10)
8. Do you believe that Jesus is 100% man? (1 John 4.2-3)
9. Are you in agreement with the apostles in matters of doctrine or do you deny parts of scripture? (1 John 4.4-6)
10. Do you believe that Jesus is 100% God? (1 John 4.13-15)
If you can answer these questions with a genuine heart, you will have a good beat on your spiritual pulse (or lack there of). To be sure these questions could be taken at an even more in-depth level, however I think this is a good starting point. Be honest with them and read the book of 1 John. Allow the text give you a true analysis of your spiritual condition. Not your emotions. And if the Lord reveals an unsaved heart, repent and follow Jesus. If the Lord reveals a redeemed heart, press on in producing fruit in keeping with repentance!
As I was reading through my devotionals tonight I came across a very interesting text. In Genesis 20 we have King Abimelech, who has just recently taken Abraham’s wife, Sarah, to be his own wife. He did so thinking that Abraham and Sarah was brother and sister, for Abraham and Sarah told partial truth about their relationship. They did so because Abraham thought that there was no fear of God in the King’s land and that the king would kill him just to have the chance to marry Sarah, for she was beautiful.
God tells King Abimelech in a dream that Abraham and Sarah are really husband and wife. Abimelech, fearing the Lord, pleaded his case that he took Sarah innocently not knowing she was a married woman. The Lord responds by telling the King that He knows that he acted in the “integrity” of his heart in taking her to be his wife.
- God’s sovereignty is so incomprehensible that we don’t even perceive Him restraining us from sin.
- God’s providence is so stealthy that we feel as if our decisions are independent of God, yet verses like this show us that they are simply a part of His divine plan.
Many people have wondered what Christ was doing during Old Testament times. The assumption is that the OT was the Fathers" time to shine" and that the New Testament was for the Son. Well, that isn't necessarily true.
The answer is found in the scriptures themselves.
The prime example of Jesus in the OT in my opinion is the Isaiah 6 vision of the Lord. All to often people make the assumption that the glory emanating from the throne that Isaiah saw was the glory of the Father alone. However the testimony of scripture tells us a different story. Its easy to assume that this magnificent vision is of the Father alone, however when you use scripture to interpret scripture, you will come to the conclusion that the glory emanating from the throne was the glory of Christ (John 12.39-41) and the one whom Isaiah heard speaking to him was the Holy Spirit (Acts 28.25-27). To be sure Father was present at this wondrous occasion, however he would not have been seen for "no one has ever seen God [the Father]; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known." John 1.18.
But this isn't the only place where Christ shows up in the Old Testament. As I read Genesis 16 I came across these wonderful verses.
"The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,[a]
because the Lord has listened to your affliction.
He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
I have placed a portion of the sheet here for your viewing. I pray it serves to edify and encourage you to learn more about the faith we profess.
2. The Authority of scripture (The 66 canonical authoritative books
3. Monotheism (Deut 6.4; Isaiah 45.5)
4. The Triunity of God (Isaiah 6.9-10 + Acts 28.25-28/John 12.39-41; Matt 28.19)