Before we start I do believe that we should pursue right doctrine, but with the understanding that right doctrine has no power to save us. This is a subtle but deadly trap which can rob us of God’s power or even lure people into hell itself; with that in mind we must take the matter very seriously.
When Jesus began to minister some of His most bitter opponents were members of the Pharisees; these religious experts rejected Jesus with such force that their hearts forever closed to the grace of God which meant they could never be saved. Now here is the biggest and saddest irony, the Pharisees commitment was to pure worship and pure doctrine and yet they missed God in the flesh when He was standing right next to them. This has to be a huge warning to us all; I mean how many of us have a passion for pure worship and doctrine? It would appear that we must learn to temper our passion with humility otherwise we could suffer the same fate as the those Pharisees who Jesus called “sons of hell”.
The question is, how can a passion for truth lead us into destruction? My take on this is that we struggle with an inherent problem, works based righteousness. What does that mean? Simply put we can be tempted to think that doing right things makes us right with God; the next step is to believe that accurate believing makes us right with God and this simply is not true.
Believing in Jesus does not get anyone saved, we have to go to Jesus for Him to save us. In order for us to go to Him we will believe that He will save us because of what He achieved through His death and resurrection but beyond that everything is up for grabs. When the Lord saved me I was an evolutionist, I dabbled in Spiritism and my morality was still mixed up but none of these could affect my salvation because the Lord Himself had saved me. Once we are saved the Lord will start to straighten us out concerning what we believe and the good works we are called to, but these are the result of our ongoing salvation and not the cause of it.
I believe in the Trinity but I have seen God’s grace at work in people with a totally different view; how can that be? Because they have come to Jesus and He saved them. I believe in the sudden without warning return of the Lord but I know of lots of genuine believers who are waiting for the rapture. I believe that the Holy Spirit’s gifts are with us today and that we can expect God to answer prayers in powerful and dynamic ways and yet there are many followers of Jesus who believe that God stopped working in those ways when the apostle John died; am I going to say that those people aren’t saved? The truth is that we all have beliefs that are wrong; some of them will change as we grow in the Lord, some of them will stay with us until we meet Him. The point is that right doctrine cannot save us, in fact if we are not careful we can become so puffed up with knowledge that we are blinded to the reality of Jesus Himself and start straining out gnats and swallowing camels.
So what should we do, should we just believe anything that is taught? Not at all, I suggest that we start with a pursuit of the truth, remembering that truth is a person; His name is Jesus the Messiah. I would recommend that we study Scripture, not in order to prop up our belief system but so that we become more intimately acquainted with Jesus; that we humble ourselves in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth even if we have to change our minds concerning some of what we have believed. I also think we would be wise to show respect to believers who have a different view on those aspects of Scripture which if we are honest are open to interpretation, you never know, they might be right. 😉
There is one thing that distinguishes a true disciple from a religious person and that is Love; when we love one another as Jesus loved us our discipleship is proven to be valid, after all love covers a multitude of sins (as well as confused doctrine).
Go well my friend.