A Sincere Lie
I have once heard it said, “It doesn’t matter what you believe just so long as you’re sincere”.
I have heard an innumerable amount of times that, “It doesn’t matter what you believe just so long as you’re sincere”.
Each time this phrase slithers off of a Christian’s tongue, my ears ring as if a bomb has detonated nearby. The implications of that train of thought, can derail a way of life quickly.
R.C. Sproul once addressed this Spiritually compromising quote saying, “This little expression, ‘It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere,’ is a monstrous lie”.
Notice, Sproul utilizes the phrase, “little expression”. This was a purposeful illustration of one of the scariest realities regarding this saying. It seems all too little; yet, the implications of sewing this mentality into Christian theology is Earth-shaking.
If you have the time, allow me to briefly explain.
Comments From the Peanut Gallery
This phrase was first coined by the creator of the Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz. It is an interesting quotation considering the devout Christian nature of Schulz that often resonated in his TV specials and comic strips.
Although I admire many of his sayings and the contributions made by him to American culture, I would like to make an attempt to “stop the buck here” per say. This comment is used way too often and often combats the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead driving it forward to the many who are in need of salvation.
When we believe in the Gospel, there is an inner work that is accomplished. We are placed in Christ and likewise, Christ is in us (Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul explains that old things are passed away and that all things become new.
The Gospel of Jesus is the first example of what we believe matters. Anything apart from the pure, unsolicited Gospel that His word provides (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), is a false hope and not a means for salvation.
Sincerity of heart is important accompanying the belief of the finished work of Jesus Christ. What we believe matters. Jesus himself lays an exclusive claim to this fact when He proclaims in John 14:6, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.
Jesus is pointing to His equivalence with God and pointing forward to the Good News that He is making a way for all to come before God the Father and have intimacy with him. The actuality is that He is the only way to Him. I further emphasize that what we believe matters.
Doctrine Isn’t Important. Is it?
In the heading, I ask the question so that I can emphatically shout through your screen, “Yes! Doctrine is absolutely important!”
In the Epistle of Titus, we find Paul is giving the qualifications of the elders of the church in Crete. In listing the qualifications, Paul states in Titus 1:9 that an elder must be, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers”.
An interesting note that I feel is necessary to make, is the importance of this qualification of the elders. Elders carry with them Spiritual experience. One of them being that they have seen and experienced the malignant effects of people not adhering to Godly wisdom.
Continuing on, Paul resumes in Titus 2:1 by stating, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine”.
Following this, Paul illuminates and exemplifies how sound doctrine presents itself in our life and that sound doctrine needs to be presented for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What we believe is important. It has a bearing on our lives. So what should we believe and what should be taught?
Simply, the answer is sound doctrine. As Christian’s we must believe sound doctrine. At the head of sound doctrine being that Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected.
From the Gospel, we are imputed the righteousness of Jesus himself (1 Corinthians 1:30). In His righteousness comes authority to teach sound doctrine within the broken realm of humanity and within the Church, for it’s edification (Titus 2:15).
So what is sound doctrine? Paul utilizes the Greek word, hygiainō. Hygiainō, if you would notice, looks a lot like the word, hygiene. Hygiene derives from Hygiainō and likewise derives a powerful application. Hygiene is something heavily focussed upon in American culture because many people rightly carry the understanding that better hygiene leads to better health.
Sound doctrine should carry the same understanding. The word “sound” means to be in good health. Sound doctrine is untainted by the virus of sin and promoted in fellowship with Jesus Christ. Spiritually, good health comes from believing good doctrine.
Sound doctrine endures and is maintained consistent with the word of God. Sound doctrine has a function. If sound doctrine is taught and the church ingests it, then it acts as a multivitamin for the souls of believers. It keeps the Body healthy and keeps disease far from it.
It provides instruction and rebukes those who try and contradict it (Titus 1:9). It reproves (reprimand), rebukes (admonishes), and exhorts (encourages).
The scary thing is, much like a daily multivitamin, Christians forget and refuse to take it. When this negligence is taken and sound doctrine is not believed, no matter how sincere we may be, we suffer deficiency of faith and love.
Spiritual deficiency makes for an ineffective Christian. No matter what Spiritual gifts or talents we possess, they are going to waste. This is because the Salvation and Spiritual edification of man relies on the pure, untainted, and healthy Word of God.
Contrary to sound doctrine, all facets of our Spiritual health degrades. One example of these facets is the fervor and effectiveness of a Christian’s unique love. In 1 John 4:16, John the Beloved states,
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him”.
This an example of sound doctrine living in (and out of) the believer. I want every believer on a mission, believing the Word of God (with sincerity), and taking it into their world as an effective vessel of the Gospel.
After all, although I disagree with Charles Schulz’s position on belief, I have a mutual consensus with him when he suggests,
“There is no heavier burden than an unfulfilled potential”
I share this consensus because every individual has the potential to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. Truth that is only unveiled within the display of sound doctrine (1 Timothy 2:4).
I would like to conclude by offering this Scripture as a blessing, encouraging you to grow in sound doctrine found with the Word of God and to “speak the truth in love”. And I would like to conclude with a warning against all the false teachers, unsound doctrine, and things contrary to sound doctrine that may be encountered.
Ephesians 4:14-15 urges,
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”
Remember, sincerity is important when it accompanies the belief and acceptance of God’s word.
I hope this devotion enriches! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below.