(based on RLCF Bible Study on January 6, 2015)
Randy Alcorn, in his book Happiness shares the following story. “… I watched a video featuring someone whose worldview was based on the health-and-wealth philosophy. As she lay dying of cancer, she looked into a camera and said bitterly, “I’ve lost my faith.” She felt God had broken his promises. She correctly surmised that the god she’d followed didn’t exist. But that wasn’t the God of the Bible, who never made the promises she thought he’d broken. God hadn’t let her down; her church and its preachers had.”
Take a concordance and see how often the word “doctrine” occurs in the New Testament. As you study these verses, note the importance that God places on us to understand sound doctrine. The example above shows what the result of believing a wrong doctrine can do in a person’s life.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 says, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
Many of us can identify with times in our life when our doctrine has been the cause of strife, abusive language, evil suspicions and friction. Our goal is not to win, or even engage in doctrinal arguments, but rather to experience a doctrine and a life that brings the light and life of Jesus to others. “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” 1 John 3:14
We all know how important a balanced diet is to our bodies. If we only eat certain types of food and deprive our bodies of nutrients it is not long before the whole body can become sick. It’s like that with our doctrine. We can eat only the comforting promises of God or maybe we only eat the strict commands, either way, if our diet is only one or the other we are missing some essential nutrients and soon become sick.
Sickness can be contagious. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15
The book of Hebrews gives us a balanced diet of sound words from our Lord Jesus Christ in regard to the doctrine of salvation. “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” Hebrews 5:9. In this verse we see both sides of salvation. One side is that Jesus became the source of eternal salvation and the other side is that this promise is to those who obey Him. A tremendous amount of controversy has surrounded this subject with both sides of those supporting Calvinism and Arminianism taking scripture to support what they believe. May we be like children and have our eyes opened to see what Jesus says.
Let’s look at what God has written in the book of Hebrews:
What Jesus has done:
- 1. “…when He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” 1:3
- 2. “…by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” 2:9
- 3. “…that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is , the devil…” 2:14
- 4. “…He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him…” 7:25
- 5. “…He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” 9:12
- 6. “…but now once at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” 9:26
- 1. “…we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” 2:2
- 2. “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” 2:3
- 3. “…we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end.” 6:11
- 4. “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” 10:26-27
- 5. “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” 10:36
- 6. “for yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 10:37-38
As we read and meditate on these verses our hearts are truly comforted and strengthened by what Jesus has done and by who He is.
Let’s also consider our part in salvation and while we do keep in mind this quote from John Bunyan in Pilgrims Progress: “Then I saw that there was a way to Hell, even from the gates of Heaven.”
Doing the will of God:
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;” 1 Peter 3:8
For a more detailed study on this, we recommend this article by Zac Poonen: Eternal Security.