Doctrine Studies # 2 The Saddest Words
Now that we have learned that “doctrine” is teachings and that there are hundreds, if not thousands of doctrines believed and taught by almost limitless religions, institutions, groups, schools, government, the military, how do we sort out the fluff and focus on what is vitally important?
These various doctrines within a single discipline (religion, for instance) can teach vastly conflicting beliefs. If they are in strident disagreement, logically, someone has to be right, and someone has to be wrong.
All other teachings pale in comparison to the doctrines of the Bible because your response to these teachings determines your future in eternity. Embracing the wrong teaching can condemn you to constant, unending terror, torment, suffering, and desperation, such as cannot be imagined by the mind of man.
The enormity and significance of the consequences attached to your individual and personal choices regarding these teachings demands a prudent study of exactly what these doctrines are. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." - Proverbs 16:25
Whose doctrine are you following? By what authority does it wield such final and certain power over the eternal fate of humankind?
Jesus came preaching a new doctrine that astonished the hearers. "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine" - Matthew 7:28
"And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him "– Mark 1: 27.
"And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power "– Luke 4:32.
By what authority did Jesus preach this new doctrine?
"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me" – John 7:16
The scriptures tell us there were then (as now) doctrines put forth without authority.
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" – Matthew 15:9.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils – 1 Timothy 4:1
Teaching of false doctrine can be, but is often not, a mistake or misunderstanding. A lot of it is calculated and deliberate.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" – 2 Peter 2:1
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" – Ephesians 4:14.
We are warned that man can/does “wrest” (twist/manipulate/change) scriptural doctrines to suit his own idea of how God should do things. It usually includes some factor of God’s inability to handle things himself without the help of man in the form of works of righteousness.
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" - 2 Peter 3:16.
Men who do this are insure their own destruction. We’re instructed to be fervent in our pursuit of understanding God’s doctrine. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" – 2 Timothy 3:16.
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine" – 2 Timothy 4:2.
False doctrines intensify in the latter times. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" – 2 Timothy 4:2.
God stressed the importance of his doctrines when he inspired John to write:
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" – 2 John 1:9.
He tells us twice in both Matthew and Mark that people who attempt to worship him following the commandments of men are wasting their time. "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men "– Mark 7:7.
They do it for nothing. (Vain: Thesaurus synonyms: ineffective, hopeless, unsuccessful, futile, useless, worthless, pointless.) From this clarification, we see that attempting to gain eternal life by following the doctrines of men is a cruel deceit, willingly embraced by millions.
Imagine the shock, the despair, the terror, the pure agony and horror of arriving at the judgement seat, relying on the doctrines of some man for your place in heaven because you thought he knew better than God how to get you there. Instead of the "Well done, good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:23) blessing you expected, you hear what has to be the saddest words in all eternity.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" - Proverbs 14:12.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"" - Matthew 7:13-14.
Nothing in this fleeting life on earth is as important as understanding God’s doctrines which reveal his mercy and grace. He wants us to understand. He wants us to spend eternity with him. Stay tuned. More to come.