Doctrine and Devotion
This is doctrine. There is nothing to do in these doctrinal truths. We are to believe and count as true what God calls to be true. What God says about me is more real than what I see in myself! These possessions and positions are to be apprehended by faith, not by feeling. This program is an unfolding and an explanation of what God has done for us in Christ.
Some people say, “give me devotion and not doctrine. Give me Christ and not creed.” The devotion is the fruit, and doctrine is the root. These people fail to realize that there is no devotion without doctrine! The Christ we worship is the Christ of Scripture, not the Christ of our imagination. Doctrine without practice is dead, but practice without doctrine is blind! The truth of the Christian life is God’s Word. Our focus should be on who and what God is, and what He has done. The focus of the Christian life is not on who and what we are, but on who God is and what He has done.
In Luke 10:19-20, Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” I added emphasis to the second half of verse twenty to highlight the fact that our Lord was telling the seventy disciples that their joy should not be on their Christian experience (“authority … over all the power of the enemy”). Although that was important, it was more important for them to rejoice in what had already been done for them (“your names are written in heaven”). Similarly, in chapter 11, a woman “said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!’” Jesus corrected her, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
In both cases, I believe Jesus is telling us to focus on the doctrines of our faith first, and on the Christian experience second. Many of us have memorized Paul’s famous verse in God’s word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Notice that the first thing on Paul’s list of profitable things is doctrine, which will make us complete. When we have a proper understanding of that doctrine, then we are ready to go out and practice the Christian life.
Paul taught us to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1) In order to do this, we must first understand what that calling is, we must discover the incredible spiritual pedestal that God has given us to stand on, then we can go out and do the things that God’s Word encourages us to do. As a Christian man or woman, I don’t need to run around looking for who I am. I have God’s Truth that tells me who I am! We are part of God’s royal family, yet so often we behave as paupers, because we don’t know who we are.