Our Lord demands both love and correct doctrine | Religion


The reformer John Knox, (d.1572), wrote: “In religion there is no middle: either it is the religion of God, and that in everything it must be assured. of his own word … or else it is the religion of the devil, that is to say when men will erect and erect to God the religion that will please them; and no doubt the devil will honor that.

Consider both the doctrinal and practical effects of false religion: First, we note Christ’s warnings to some churches in Revelation chapter two. Observe Jesus’ rebuke from the church in Ephesus for his lack of love. Yet this same church is commended for its doctrinal purity and the rejection of false doctrine.

There is no suggestion that an unorthodox teaching contributed to Ephesian’s lack of love. Conversely, the church of Thyatira, whose love is mentioned, is rebuked for tolerating false teachings. And it follows that our Lord demands both love and correct doctrine.

Congregations should be careful not to “set up teachers who tickle their ears.” (2 Timothy 4: 3, 4) Isn’t it ironic that the rejection of Christian doctrine is often justified in the name of love? But sooner or later that kind of love will turn into the love of sin. The apostle John wrote that we “must love one another” and also wrote: “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments. (2 John 5, 6)

The description of love in the Bible is not sweet and saccharine sentimentalism without direction or limitation. Love requires obedience to the precepts of the Word of God for direction, principle and substance. Thus “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second looks like it: you will love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22: 37-39)

Christianson is a pastor at Grace Reformed Church in Clarkston.

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