SOUND DOCTRINE PART 2
Sadly, there are some Christians who have become embarrassed by sound doctrine and have sought to edit it into submission to culture rather than God. These doctrines are the foundation to all Christian faith and practice. Sound Christian doctrine ought to move us to worship God. We ruined everything and yet God saw to it to fix it. We ran from Him and He saw to it to come after us. This is why, when Paul is writing to Titus to defend and teach sound doctrine, it's so that we’d worship God for who He truly is and tell others so they can too.
Far too often Christians take shots at other Christians over secondary issues, failing to defend the core beliefs that define us as Christians in the first place. In our last post we talked about the need to defend sound doctrine. But what exactly is sound doctrine and what should Christians believe?
As Christians we believe and worship one God who eternally exists in three equally divine persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is fully and equally God, existing in an eternal relationship with one another. This does not mean that we worship three gods. Likewise, we do not believe that one God manifests himself differently on various occasions. This means we reject any doctrine that would teach that the Father is God’s manifestation in heaven, Jesus the Son was God’s manifestation on earth, and the Holy Spirit is God’s manifestation with us presently. No, we believe that the Trinity has eternally existed and each member thinks, acts, feels, speaks, relates, and is equally God, and shares all the divine attributes.
As Christians we believe the Bible reveals to us who our God is. What we know about God comes from God revealing himself to us. The Bible is the divinely inspired, inerrant, authoritative word of God. Just as the Bible teaches, we believe that God has supremely revealed himself to humanity through Jesus Christ. The Bible is about Jesus and we believe that Jesus is God’s final word to us. We are not waiting on any divinely inspired books to be added to the Bible. The Bible teaches that God has made known His power, divine nature, wisdom, majesty, justice, and goodness generally to all people (Romans 1-2). But Salvation must come through supernatural means; this is the way anyone comes to the saving knowledge of God. What we believe about the Bible is vitally important and will inform our entire doctrine.
The Bible reveals that our Trinitarian God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. Meaning everything in creation is dependent on God. Now, Christians may respectfully disagree on whether God created everything in a literal or figurative six days, but the bottom line is God created the heavens and the earth. He did it. It was on purpose, not by chance.
MALE & FEMALE
In light of the fact that God himself created everything, Christians believe God created humanity, male and female in His own image and likeness. Therefore, both men and women are equal in value, dignity, and worth in order for us to reflect God as an act of worship. In addition, Christians agree with God on when a life begins, and that an unborn baby is an image bearer of God (Psalm 51:5-6, 139:13-16, Isa 49:1, Jer 1:5, Luke 1:15). Statements like that are not very popular in today’s context but nevertheless as Christians we take our queues from God and not culture. Perhaps more controversial is that Christians should believe that God created marriage for one man and one woman, and God created sex only for married couples because this is expressly what the Bible teaches.
It’s really hard to be a Christian and not believe in sin. Sin is anything morally wrong or against the will and decree of God. Since God is the creator, He created the standard by which we are to live. When our first parents Adam & Eve decided to distrust the Father’s love and care and believe the lie of Satan they broke the perfect fellowship between God and man. Because our God is perfect and holy, all of humanity would now be separated from God. As Christians we should believe that all of humanity are sinners by nature and by choice. The Bible teaches that we inherited our sinful nature from Adam & Eve and because of that we’ve sought to live life apart from God’s will and ways ever since. You’d think sin was a cuss word for some Christians which is strange because there is no salvation to be received if sin isn’t an issue.
As Christians we believe Jesus is both God and man. Jesus was sinless and came to earth to undo the mess mankind made. Ever since Adam sinned there needed to be an eternal sacrifice to fully remove the wrath of God from sinful humanity. Jesus obeyed The Father fully and died in our place for our sins.
Like the Bible teaches, Jesus was killed on a Roman cross. This is not figurative but literal. Jesus’ death gave way for mankind’s relationship with God to be restored. To become a Christian one must believe they are a sinner in need of a savior. Jesus is that savior who died on our behalf.
After three days of being dead in a tomb Jesus rose from the dead, defeating sin Satan, and death. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that if Christ has not been raised, then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. The resurrection of Jesus matters. The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity distinct from every other religion. If the resurrection is true, it means that sin, death, and hopelessness do not win—Jesus does. It means that the empty tomb is the final word of Jesus. It means Jesus really did die for our sin and really did rise for our salvation. Salvation is not something we can earn but a gift to receive. Jesus dies in our place for our sins and this is good news to be received by grace through faith. By grace, the Bible means salvation is not something we can earn or merit. And the object of our faith matters. One can only be freed from the bondage of their sin through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Lastly, because Jesus was raised from the dead, one day we will be raised from the dead to enjoy eternity free from sin, sickness, disease, pain, suffering, and in the presence of our God and King.
One day, the Bible teaches, Jesus will return to judge both the living and the dead. This means that those who know and love Jesus will experience life with Jesus in eternity forever. This also means that those who reject the person and work of Jesus will receive eternal condemnation and eternity apart from Him. Jesus’ return will be a judgment for sinners and a great reward for saints.
When Jesus saves an individual He adopts them into his family. Jesus’ family is the Church. So when one becomes a Christian they become a part of the universal Church, all those who are Christians both past and present. Likewise, when we read the New Testament we see that many of the letters are written to local churches and local church leaders teaching Christians how to organize themselves under Biblical leadership and gather regularly for preaching and singing, observing the sacraments, practicing church discipline, and living lives throughout the week as missionaries. Now, there is a lot that ought to be open-handed on how this plays itself out in the local church’s context, but it makes little sense to claim to be a Christian and try to distance yourself from Jesus’ church as if it is too messed up for you. The fact is, there are no perfect churches because churches are full of sinners saved by grace waiting on the return of their savior King Jesus to take them to their new home where sin will be no more.