The Doctrine of Christ

Richard Thetford

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:3-6: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” There are in fact three doctrines that are mentioned in the New Testament. One is the divine doctrine which is mentioned in Titus 2:10: “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” There is the human doctrine mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 15:9: “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Then there is the Satanic doctrine that Paul makes mention of in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”

Why Teach the Doctrine of Christ?

It still amazes me why, in the name of religion, men teach doctrines that are not found to be of Jesus Christ. It amazes me because if one is truly interested in what he must do to be saved and live a life righteous unto God, then why doesn’t he look for the teachings (doctrine) of Christ to guide his steps? Paul began in 1 Timothy 6:3 by saying “if anyone teaches otherwise” then proceeds to tell us what happens to those that do so. In the Galatian letter he really spells it out when he writes: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). When it comes to religion we should be determined to know nothing except the gospel that Jesus taught us. After all, can any other doctrine save us? If you answered NO, you’re right. And knowing this, then we better make sure that we strive to do only the will of the Lord in our life. In 1 Timothy 1:3 we are charged not to teach another gospel. Notice: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-- remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.” A failure on our part to abide in the doctrine of Christ will lead to vain worship as Jesus clearly stated in Mark 7:7. Not only that, but our work that we do while here on this earth will perish when we do those things not authorized by Jesus. When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians he said: “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations--"Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using-- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:20-23). The point Paul is trying to make is that if you have accepted Jesus in your life through obedience to His gospel, then why do you try to live up to worldly doctrines that perish, doctrines and commandments that have been established not by God, but by men? Every denomination is guilty of this to some degree. We are wasting our time and effort when we teach any other doctrine than that which was authorized by Jesus!

What Is Our Duty Toward The Doctrine Of Christ?

We have a responsibility to keep the doctrine of Christ. It is our duty as Christians to preach this doctrine to others. The Bible says: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). In addition, we are to keep it pure (Titus 2:7), adorn it (Titus 2:10), follow it (1 Timothy 4:6), exhort in it (Titus 1:9), convince others of it (Titus 1:9), and not to blaspheme it (1 Timothy 6:1). Paul wrote these things to fellow laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. He instructed them on what they had to do to promote and to keep pure the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must fully love, respect, and embrace the word of God!

Are we doing our part to make sure that we are abiding in the gospel of Jesus? The Hebrew writer wrote: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). We are going to be judged according to our works, good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). Knowing this, we better make sure that we are abiding in the doctrine that we are going to be judged by. Satan can’t save us. Man can’t save us. Only Jesus can save us. He’ll save us based on our obedience to His doctrine which “was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).