What you believe is important. So, what did Paul believe and what are we supposed to believe? What is doctrine and is it important?
Paul’s Teaching was Important for the New Covenant. Paul’s teaching was Jesus’ teaching. Paul instructs us how Jesus’ teachings should look in our lives. Paul wrote most of the New Testament and much of his writing was done while imprisoned in one jail or another.
EVERYTHING we teach, every doctrine, and Christendom is at least loosely, and most often FOUNDED, upon the words and thoughts of Paul.
1 Timothy 6:2b-3 (NLT) Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.
It’s so important that you know what Jesus taught and what you believe. There are many teachings you will hear over your lifetime. How will you know if they are correct, or if they are sound? After all, you can’t just accept things. Nor can you reject things merely because they don’t fit your preconceived notions. You have to evaluate these teachings; you have to think, pray, and make decisions.
Which teachings is Paul talking about? Today we are going to greatly oversimplify Paul’s teachings. The goal is to create a framework to better help you process the big points..
Romans 1:16-17 (NLT) For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Salvation By Faith Because of God’s Grace
Paul’s Priority was the Good News. The problem begins and ends with man’s sin, primarily the attitude that says, “I do what I want. I DON’T TRUST God so I must become God.” Paul used the Good News to reach and guide people amid their sin.
God had several challenges to address regarding mankind’s sin. He used His WRATH upon their sinful ways; justice demands wrath upon mankind’s rebellion. Then, there is the problem of SACRIFICE. Mankind had no options to wash sin clean. No one was worthy to make up for what had been lost. Only God could do that.
So He sent His ONE and ONLY begotten Son. . . who mankind promptly murdered. But what the enemy means for evil, God means for Good. So God used Jesus’ death to overcome death!
This returns us to mankind’s sin problem. To undo what we have done, we must repent and accept that what we have done has amounted to our undoing. Repentance requires quite a change of mindset and thinking. We must believe “I’m not God, I need God.” We must trust God again.
Then there is the matter of following Jesus. Salvation isn’t a moment, it’s a process because it’s so much more than saving your soul from eternal condemnation. It’s about saving everything about you.
The Good News Applied to Everything. Paul applied the Gospel to EVERYTHING: relationships, leadership, health, intelligence, wisdom. There is no aspect of life that Paul’s Gospel did not touch and transform. Everything Paul taught was based upon the Good News about Jesus. Salvation by Grace is one simple, infinitely profound leg of Paul’s Doctrine.
Romans 5:10-11 (NLT) For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Relationship By Faith Because of God’s Grace
Who Knew that God wanted Friends, not Subjects? It seems like the Garden would have made that simple observation clear. But, no one was interested. Victory, joy, and freedom are common themes in Paul’s doctrine. Though they are not doctrines themselves, they fit within the framework of a relationship IN Christ. Everything the believer is promised, all of the heavenly inheritance is available and present only IN Jesus Christ.
John 15:5 (NLT) “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:7 (NLT) But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
IN CHRIST is our place, our source, our everything. He is not a place we run to. He is a tank we move around within. This is a relational concept. Most often we say we are IN a relationship. What does that even mean? Is it that we are IN a relationship like we are in a room that is defined by walls and an entry/exit? Or, is it like a state of being filled with experiences of love, security, and acceptance? Or, are we IN an endeavor or mission that has a purpose and has a future? Is it like a relationship in that when apart we are still connected and anticipating our reunion? Paul’s doctrine is grounded in a relationship with Jesus that is so complete he refers to it as being IN Christ.
Romans 12:1 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Sacrifice By Faith Because of God’s Grace
Paul used a Great Deal of Sacrificial Language. He spoke of living as a sacrifice. Paul’s doctrine and God’s salvation will lead you to lay down yourself, your life, for a greater purpose. There is humility in Paul’s Doctrine. There is patience, kindness, love, and gentleness. There is real truth that may sting, but it comes immersed in compassion and respect. Doctrines without Good News, relationship, or sacrifice do not promote these things. They make religious people but not Godly people. Paul’s Doctrines produce people who live and behave as Jesus lived and behaved. His doctrines produces GODLY people. Godly people accurately represent the image of God that we were created in.