The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
Doctrine of Christ
“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.”
II John 9
The phrase, “the doctrine of Christ” is mentioned twice in Holy Scripture (II John 9 and Hebrews 6:1). The doctrine of Christ is the doctrine about Christ and also the doctrine that Christ taught. The book of II John is the shortest book in the New Testament but a very important book dealing with truth. This book also has warning against false doctrine. The author of the book is the apostle John and the time of its writing is probably around 90 A.D. Again, the theme of II John is the subject of truth. The book is very well balanced with truth and love. Love is used four times in the first six verses and truth is used five times in the same text. If we love God we will believe the truth and if we believe the truth we will have a love for God and His Word. Some believe the book is a personal letter like Philemon, and others believe it is written to a local church. Either way, this letter is a part of the canon of Scripture for the Christian in the first century and also today. May we approach this book with great seriousness and reverence. Amen.
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,”
By way of introduction, we will consider two things in connection with the doctrine of Christ. That is, the doctrine about Christ and the doctrine Christ taught. In both places where the phrase “the doctrine of Christ” is found in Scripture, it refers to the person, work, and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. In II John 9, we are told of the necessity of this doctrine, that is, to abide in the doctrine of Christ and in Hebrews 6:1, we see the foundation of this doctrine, that is, to build upon the doctrine of Christ. Again, the doctrine of Christ is what Christ taught and also His teachings about Himself.
The Doctrine About Christ
The doctrine about Christ is centered around His deity, divinity, humanity, Lordship, impeccability, and Godhead. The exclusiveness of His person is revealed in the doctrine of Christ. Christianity is wrapped around the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the doctrine of Christ we see His miracles, conception, birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming. If Jesus Christ is not God manifest in the flesh, then Christianity is just like all other religions, that is, man trying to approach God on his own merits and terms. In II John 7, we are told that many deceivers are entered into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. These deceivers are called antichrist. Anyone who denies the fact that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is not a genuine Christian (I John 1:1-3; I John 2:18-27; I John 3:23, 24; I John 4:1-3, 15; I John 5:1, 5-12, 20). In the first century, there were many deceivers who corrupted the Word of God (II Corinthians 2:17; Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29; II Peter 2:1-3). Gnosticism was the most influential heresy confronting the early church because it denied important truths about Jesus Christ. There is a revival of Gnosticism in New Age teaching today.
According to Christ's own words, He speaks of His supernatural entrance into the world, His eternal purpose, power, redemption, and resurrection. He spoke of His position in the Godhead and His relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit. He submitted Himself to the Father and at the same time was equal with the Father. These truths are clearly seen from the New Testament Scriptures and especially the Book of John (John 3:13; 4:25-26; 5:39; 6:48-51; 8:58; 10:30-33; 11:25; 14:6-8 19:7; 20:30-31). The Scriptures alone in John 1:1-18, are sufficient to show that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh and came from heaven’s glory to give His life for the sins of the world.
In I Timothy 3:16, the Bible speaks of the “mystery of godliness.” This verse describes God becoming flesh and speaks of Jesus Christ, from His incarnation to His ascension back into heaven. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” This summary verse shows how the invisible God was made manifest to the world and clearly reveals the person and work of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 1:12-18, the preeminence of Christ is clearly seen in that He has created the world and is in control. In Matthew 4:1-11, the impeccability of Christ is set, for He is not subject to temptation as mankind. So, the doctrine about Christ is the truth pertaining to His person and His work.
The Doctrine Christ Taught
The doctrine that Christ taught is simply the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. When we speak of the doctrine of the Pharisees and the doctrines of men or of devils, we are speaking of the doctrines that these men believe and taught. The doctrine of Christ is clearly seen throughout the New Testament. There are a number of discourses that the Lord Jesus Christ gave during His earthly ministry. One of these was the sermon on the Mount in which the Lord taught His disciples kingdom truth and how to live in His absence, that is, after He returned back to heaven. These three chapters in Matthew five through seven contain a wealth of knowledge and understanding in reference to the Christian life.
In John 7:16-17, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of His doctrine and said that it was the doctrine of God which came from heaven. The word doctrine here is in the singular form showing us that there is only one true doctrine. False doctrine is spoken of in the plural, because many false doctrines are in the world. Many times the Lord told us to keep His commandments (John 13:24,25; 14:15,21,23-25, 15:10-12). In Acts 2:42, the Scripture speaks of the “apostles’ doctrine” which is ultimately the doctrine of Christ and of God. The Christian faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, which is, the teachings of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20; Matthew 16:20; I Corinthians 3:9-17; Luke 6:46-49).
In Hebrews 6:1-3, the “doctrine of Christ” is the foundation of Christianity. In these verses there are five foundational principles of the doctrine of Christ. These are simply the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. They begin with a repentance from dead works and end with eternal judgment. This passage seems to allude to the foundation of the house. We know that the foundation is the most important part of the house. No matter how expensive a house is, if the foundation is faulty the entire house will fall. Christianity is built upon these principles and the solid foundation of the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The book of II John stresses the harmony between love and truth and abiding in the doctrine of Christ. These principles are seen also in I John (I John 1:5-7; 2:3-6, 10; 3:14, 23,24; 4:7-12, 19-21; 5:2,3). To know the truth is to be dominated by it. The truth is to be our frame of reference for all our beliefs and practices. It is to permeate every aspect of our life, every fiber of our being. Every decision that I make in life is to be connected to these truths. The doctrine of Christ is foundational to Christianity and is absolutely necessary for eternal life. For, no one can deny the doctrine of Christ and enter into the kingdom of God. We must accept exactly what the Scriptures say about Jesus Christ in order to receive salvation. Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is a deceiver and an antichrist. According to this little letter, we are to reject them and to never bid them God speed. May we hold dear the teaching of the doctrine of Christ and receive a full reward (II John 9). Amen.
“The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action.” - A. W. Tozer
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523