Doctrine Leads to Devotion. The definition of doctrine is a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group. Christian bookstores typically separate “theology” books from “Christian living” books. In some ways, this reflects the way many Christians think of doctrine and the life of faith and godliness-they are separate issues that rarely connect to each other. Devotion to God emerges out of the doctrine of God.
The Apostle Paul explains to Timothy that the church must watch out for those who teach bad doctrine. He calls such teaching “different” 1 Timothy 1:3 “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went to Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine”, “contrary to sound doctrine” 1 Timothy 1:10 “For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”, and the “teachings of demons” 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” While there are some matters on which believers differ without much harm, there are many doctrines that produce real fruit (good or bad) in the lives of people who embrace them. We must be careful to guard ourselves from any doctrine that leads us away from the truth of God and into ungodliness.
Paul calls us to be people who know and share good theology. In 1 Timothy 6:3-4 “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings”, he calls such teaching “sound words” and “good doctrine”. Knowing good doctrine is not mere intellectual exercise, but the means by which we grow spiritually. It strengthens our understanding of God and therefore our readiness to trust Him, obey Him, and worship Him. Good doctrine leads to good works.
The doctrine of God leads to devotion to God. It is given to us to fill hearts with love for God who has created us and redeemed us. Make daily investments of faithfulness in private, with your family, and with your church. Be “equipped for every good work”, 2 Timothy 3:17 “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”, ready to hold God’s unchanging truth and reject any deadly doctrine.