Fight the Good Fight

1 Timothy 6:3-4 ESV

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.”

A Different Doctrine

What is the predominant doctrine being taught today in the gatherings of the church, which is also being widespread on the internet, but which does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness?

It is a doctrine which teaches a faith in Jesus Christ absent of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives. And/or it is a faith in Jesus Christ which teaches that our lifestyles do not impact our salvation from sin and our eternal life with God.

They promise those who will profess faith in Jesus Christ, or who will repeat words after someone in a prayer, that they are now part of God’s family, that they are saved from and forgiven their sins, and that heaven is now guaranteed them when they die, no matter what.

But is this biblical? No! It isn’t biblical if you remove Scriptures from their context and you don’t teach them in the context in which they were written and if you isolate particular Scriptures from the Bible, as a whole, and then you twist them to say what you want to say about them.

Now, I understand when we teach the Scriptures that we can’t give the whole context, but we should be diligent to teach them in the light of the book and chapter they are written in, as a whole, comparing Scripture with Scripture to make certain that we are teaching sound doctrine.

But let me say this: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16), so we may, at times, teach a passage out of its original context, as a whole, but which is still sound in doctrine and true the Scriptures, as a whole.

For, the New Testament, as a whole, teaches that we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin, that we must be born again of the Spirit of God, that we must be transformed in mind and heart, and that we must now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh.

For, if we continue living like we did before we believed in Jesus, if we did in fact believe in him, and/or if we continue living in sin, still engaged in habitual and deliberate sinning against God, and if we refuse to live in obedience to him, the Scriptures teach that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8).

Teaching False Doctrine

So, if you are teaching this false faith and this false doctrine of salvation which requires no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ and/or that even teaches against these requirements of God and of the teachings of his word, then you are teaching what is from the flesh and not from God.

For, the word of God is firm on holiness, godliness and righteousness being how a believer in Jesus Christ is to live and conduct himself/herself.

Yet, many people are teaching the grace of God as though it is carte blanche to keep on living in sin now that one is “under grace.” But the teachings of Paul in Romans 6 alone nullify such as notion as that.

“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom 6:2)

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom 6:6).

So, the goal of our salvation from sin was not just to forgive us our sins, to free us from the punishment of sin, and to promise us eternal life with God. The goal of our salvation was to free us from our bondage to sin so we could now live as bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).

1 Timothy 6:11-12 ESV

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Now, the context of this chapter in 1 Timothy is that of bondservants and their masters and of the importance of bondservants to treat their masters with honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

And the context of the different doctrine has to do not only with things which don’t agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus and the teaching that accords with godliness, but it has to do with pride, controversy, quarrels about words, envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth.

So, these are some of the things taught against in Scripture which we, as the people of God, are to flee from. There are multiple lists in the New Testament of behaviors which we are to flee from, and some which also list alternative behaviors conducive to those believing in Jesus Christ (Gal 5:16-24; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Eph 4:17-32; Col 3:5-11; Tit 2:11-14, etc.).

Then we have an exhortation about godliness with contentment being great gain, “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (v. 7). So, if we have our basic needs met, we are to be content with these, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (v. 10). And some have wandered from the faith due to such cravings (v. 10).

So, instead of living to the flesh, to do what our flesh desires, we are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. And we do this by surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ and by yielding to his Lordship over our lives, and by walking in obedience to his commands in the power of God’s Spirit living within us (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to fight the good fight of the faith, and we do this by standing on the word of God, by not compromising with the world, by resisting Satan, by fleeing temptation, and by walking in obedience to our Lord day by day, and moment by moment (Rom 8:1-17).

For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. And he shed his blood to buy us back for God so we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23).

Seek the Lord

An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

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