We can look at sound doctrine from two vantage points, the first is the doctrine that constitutes the content of our faith, the second is the doctrine that conforms to godliness or controls our living. I want to address both aspects of sound doctrine starting with the second part first. These considerations are vital to the church and to our spiritual well being. Much harmful worldly behavior and godless thinking is being foolishly embraced and endorsed by the visible church. As this false teaching makes further inroads into the church, the unique call of Christ upon His people to be lights in the midst of a dark world is overthrown. The church then loses its God ordained function as the pillar and ground of the truth.
If we examine Titus chapter two we see that the apostle Paul stresses that godly behavior is in agreement with sound doctrine.
1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. 9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. Titus 2:1-15
The whole chapter gives instruction for godly living that adorns the doctrine of Jesus Christ our God and Savior. The last verse of chapter one contrasts the behavior of the unregenerate with those who are saved.
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. Titus 1:16
Although there are many passages which warn of ungodly behavior, I want to focus on two passages in the epistles that describe in fine detail the type of behavior to which Paul referred.
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Things that were considered evil and vile have now entered the church as though they were of God. God’s Word makes it abundantly clear though that those who practice these evil behaviors are not part of God’s kingdom, they have no inheritance in Christ and are bound for hell.
Looking at the doctrine that defines our faith we can appeal to John’s second epistle.
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 9-11
The doctrine of Christ relates to Who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. First let us look at verses from the first two chapters of the book of Hebrews for doctrine about Christ Jesus.
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? Hebrews 1:1-5
8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” 10 And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” Hebrews 1:8-12
Here the doctrine is clearly taught that Jesus Christ is God the Son of God; that He is the Creator and that He controls the universe. Let’s continue with verses from Hebrews chapter two.
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18
Here we are taught the work of Christ that He became a man that He might represent us before the Holy God and that He was our sin bearer, taking away our sin and receiving the just judgment of God for our sin so that we are reconciled to God through faith in Him. To verify from God’s Word that this singular work by Christ is sufficient to save us without anything on our part other than repentant faith I want to quote Ephesians chapter 2.
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10
We must continue in the doctrine that we have been taught from God’s Word regarding Jesus Christ, to turn away from the doctrine regarding His Son is to deny the faith. We cannot tolerate false doctrine; we cannot tolerate anything that contradicts what God has made perfectly clear in the Bible, especially the doctrine regarding His Son Jesus Christ. If we are tolerant of any false teaching that takes away from the Person or Work of Jesus Christ we are traitors to the truth. If we insinuate that the Work the Father gave Jesus Christ to do for us on our behalf is somehow deficient so that we have to or someone else has to add to it in anyway, we are being led astray by the evil one.
As believers in our Beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ let us follow the command given to us by God the Holy Spirit through Jude the half-brother of Jesus Christ.
3…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 3-4
Let us expose and reject all false teachers no matter how popular or intellectual they may be.