"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God's laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. - Matthew 5: 17-19 (NLT)
The devil does a great job of muddying the doctrinal waters in modern Christianity. What should be easy to understand and foundational has become confusing for many and dismissed by some altogether. Entire swaths of new doctrine have emerged to lead many astray in these end days. Ear tickling doctrines designed to make friends; not converts. It is no wonder that when Paul instructed Timothy to guard only two things closely, one of them was his doctrine. Why is it so important?
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV)
It is our perseverance in how we live and what we believe that assures us of our salvation. What do you mean preacher? We cannot claim to be saved and continue to live like hell beloved. There needs to be a regeneration of the heart. There is no two sentence prayer that saves anyone. Only a change does. I said the sinner's prayer in 1998 but did not give my life to Christ until 2002. This is part of the danger in the theories of modern church growth. When you do not focus on what the person needs to do, there is virtually no chance they will do it. We need to persevere in our life. We also however, need to persevere in our doctrine. This is no small matter! Doctrine forms what we believe. What we believe forms what we do. The reason I write against the "grace alone" doctrines of the Joseph Prince's of the world is not necessarily found in what he preaches but rather what he avoids preaching.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1: 14 (NIV)
If you preach the grace of God and avoid the truth then you have only presented half the Gospel. The grace of God is enormously important for our doctrine! But so is the truth! The truth about regeneration. The truth about repentance. The truth about spiritual warfare. I read a tweet the other day from a Christian bragging that they were "bulletproof" from all the accusations that seek to condemn her. My fear is we are developing a generation of Christians who are truth-proof. Because there is a stark difference between condemnation and conviction. To begin, we need to consider the source.
Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, "It has come at last--salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth--the one who accuses them
before our God day and night. - Revelation 12: 10 (NLT)
And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment. - John 16: 8 (NLT)
The source of condemnation is Satan. It is accusatory on nature. It seeks to tear us down. The focus of condemnation is on the accusation not the solution. It resounds in our spirit with defeated talk.
"You're such a loser; you'll never change."
"How could God love you! You keep sinning!"
"And you call yourself a Christian."
The focus in condemnation is on you and the sin instead of on Jesus and the solution. Conviction on the other hand is from the Holy Spirit. It too deals with sin but it does so in a way that builds up who we are in Christ. It strengthens our dependence upon Him. Christians sometimes have the impression that God is perpetually angry with them and that is equally unscriptural.
"If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. - John 12: 47 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. - Romans 8: 1 (NLT)