“My little children: I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
But if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins—and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2
John—hammering doctrine. Blink and I would have passed it right on by…This is what potentially happens ignoring doctrine.
What is doctrine?
Once upon a time doctrine was something to be avoided. Doctrine was an example of being “dead”: being a part of “dead religion” and of a “dead local church.”—“Ain’t no life here, Holy Spirit has done left the building”…I was soooo a classical Charismatic.
I was so short sighted that I couldn’t follow my foot as it passed my belt buckle taking a step forward. Think I might have been a bit arrogant? Uhh, maybe a little…
And then about 20 years ago a buddy of mine introduced me to Christian Doctrine—real, living, powerful, solid, Doctrine. And not just rules and regulation type of doctrine—Doctrine that defines the Gospel in appropriate, systematic, foundational ways….and leads to LIFE.
So here’s John. “Dear friends: I am writing this so you may not sin…” Goal, objective, vision. That’s where I want to be—not sinning.
Whaaat? I just looked and sin is running rampant in my mind, my hands, my feet, and oh no, my mouth. I am crushed.
But no, John reminds me of Jesus the Atonement (a doctrine), Jesus the Advocate (a doctrine), Jesus the Sacrifice (Propitiation, a doctrine) as well as alluding to the whole Character of God—so that I can take comfort, take courage. I can really be still and know He is God. I can remember to be confident that He will complete His work in me.
Doctrine is the systematic backbone of the Gospel. Because I am not God (surprise!!), I need artificial but Grace filled help in understanding the Gospel. Even the Psalmist understood that in Psalm 119.s
Do I want to grow up, pursue maturity in Christ? Then I can’t go wrong in studying the Word by studying Doctrine.
By the way: I still consider myself Charismatic…just a little bit more equipped on the noggin side of discipleship.
Father, how wonderful You are!! There is so much of the Gospel I still have to learn—but You walk me through it daily. Please keep me focused as I am determined to be focused. Keep me from an attitude of coasting and allow me to encounter Your Love daily. AMEN.