A Good Conscience

Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 7:51 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Timothy 1:1-11 (NASB).

False Doctrines (vv. 1-4)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

What is doctrine?

“Biblical doctrine helps us understand the will of God for our lives. Biblical doctrine teaches us the nature and the character of God (Psalm 90:2; 97:2; John 4:24), the path of salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 10:9–10), instruction for the church (1 Corinthians 14:26; Titus 2:1–10), and God’s standard of holiness for our lives (1 Peter 1:14–17; 1 Corinthians 6:18–20). When we accept the Bible as God’s Word to us (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21), we have a solid foundation for our doctrine. There can be disagreement within the body of Christ over secondary points of doctrine, such as eschatology, church organization, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But truly biblical doctrine is that which incorporates the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and draws conclusions based on that which seems most closely aligned with the character of our unchanging God (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8).” http://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-doctrine.html

So, a strange (different, false) doctrine would be that which deviates from, takes away from, or adds to the doctrines of scripture. I will note here that, as followers of Christ, we do not fall under the Old Covenant laws and stipulations, so our doctrine, although largely influenced by the Old Testament writings, especially those of the prophets, is primarily based in the teachings of Christ and that of the apostles. In other words, the doctrine that is the doctrine we are to follow is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the writings of the apostles, and anything which deviates (departs) from these teachings is not sound. Since a myth, in this context especially, is generally regarded as something created in the minds of humans, and is fabricated (fiction), as opposed to what is of God, and what is factual (truth), these myths (sometimes traditions) can also fall into the category of deviations.

So many of today’s modern church congregations here in America make great boasts as to how they have left legalism and man-made religion behind them, and how “free” and “authentic” and “real” they are, but those are primarily marketing “buzz” words, for we hear them all over the place in these churches’ business goals, objectives, mission and purpose statements. So, all they really did was just trade one form of man-made religion for another form of human-based religion. The source is still human beings, humanistic philosophy, and human tradition. Even these modern churches, which claim to have left tradition behind them, still carry many traditions with them into their new modern church settings.

One of those traditions is that the church (the house of God) is a building or a human-based organization or corporation, whereas the true church is us, the people of God, in whom God dwells. Another is that the church must meet on Sunday mornings, in these buildings called “church,” whereas the New Testament church met every day in the week, in the temple courts, and from house to house.

One of these “myths” that is widely circulating today is that the KJV Bible is the only true Bible. They treat it as though it originated with God, and was written by those in whom God breathed his divine words. The Bible was not originally written in English, though. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, I believe. And, only the original manuscripts are inerrant. From the originals came many copies, and from those manuscripts and copies of manuscripts came multiple translations in various languages.

As well, the KJV was largely borrowed from a previous English version or two. The King, as well, who authorized this version, was evidently not a godly man, and was entirely human, as well as were the men he assigned to translate the Bible. Humans are not without prejudice of thought or without error, and even copies of manuscripts have the potential of error in them. So, although this version has certainly survived the test of time, it is not without human error, and neither was the man who commissioned it and the men who translated it. So, we should not elevate it to on par with the original text, as was breathed into the writers by God himself. Yet, we should be very discerning about any translation we read, for they can all contain some error. I would personally avoid transliterations.

A Pure Heart (vv. 5-7)

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

So, why exert so much time and effort into exposing what is false? Because we love people, and we don’t want them to follow after lies and deceptions, and because God says we should expose the fruitless deeds of darkness, and that we should warn our brothers and sisters in Christ so that they don’t fall into Satan’s traps. Those who are true ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, anointed of the Spirit of God, called of God, filled with the Spirit, and who are following our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will, do so out of love, purity of heart, a good conscience and sincere faith, not looking to cheat, deceive or manipulate anyone for their own advantage. Yet, many teachers of the Word don’t have such purity of heart and motives, and many are quite willing to engage in deception, lies and manipulations of truth in order to build their earthly kingdoms. You don’t build earthly kingdoms by telling people the hard facts, but by telling them what is pleasing to their ears and to their senses, so that they will feel comfortable and will want to return.

So, what are some examples of “fruitless discussions”? I believe a “fruitless discussion,” in this context, is one that has no bearing whatsoever on our eternal salvation, but is just a matter of the exchange of personal opinion, thought and belief with regard to non-essentials, or with regard to teaching that is of human origin and especially that which is opposed to sound doctrine. One example might be discussions on modes of baptism. Although I believe dunking should be the preferred method, because of what baptism symbolizes, still baptism is not essential to our eternal salvation, i.e. we can receive the Holy Spirit apart from being baptized with water. If dunking is not possible, I see no problem with using whatever means possible, though nothing sinful, to publicly make declaration of faith in Jesus Christ, such as sprinkling or pouring water over someone.

Another such example would be discussions concerning End Times, in particular as it regards pre-trib, post-trib or mid-trib rapture. No matter what we believe in that matter, Jesus Christ is going to come when comes. I would rather believe post-trib and not be disappointed if I am wrong, then bank my life on a pre-trib rapture, and be wrong. I am not saying we should not teach such passages of scripture, especially as it relates to what is going on in the world around us presently, but that we should not get into arguments over such things that really have no bearing on our eternal salvation, that only cause friction and even hatred among Christians, and usually end up hurting the body of Christ. I will not argue with people over so many interpretations of these events, but will share what I believe God is teaching me and what I am witnessing, and I will leave up to the reader to judge for himself or herself if there is any merit to what I have shared. Hopefully, you will prayerfully consider what is shared, and will inquire of God as to its merit.

The Law (vv. 8-11)

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

The point here, I believe, is that followers of Christ should no longer be engaged in sinful acts such as these, for Jesus Christ died for our sin that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his stripes we are healed. He died that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. He died that we might be crucified with Christ to our former way of life, be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that we might be resurrected with Christ to living holy lives, pleasing to God. Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to (in agreement with) the Spirit. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.

So, if someone is telling you that you can pray a prayer to receive Christ, that you are now saved, and that you have heaven guaranteed no matter how you live your life from this point forward, that teaching is not according to sound doctrine, for that is not the gospel according to Jesus and according to the apostles. That is a deviation from the true gospel, and it leaves out essential elements of the gospel that are critical to our eternal salvation. On the flip side of that, if someone is teaching you that it is impossible for a true follower of Christ to ever sin, that is also a deviation, for we read in 1 Jn. 2:1 that we should not sin, but if we should sin, Jesus Christ is our advocate to the Father, because his righteousness, which has been credited to our accounts, stands in our defense, so that we are free from condemnation. Yet, if we think we have fellowship with God, and we continue to conduct our lives in sinful pleasure and self-gratification (in darkness), then we are liars.

Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.