There is, and always has been, a direct relationship between the doctrine of Christ and living. People have not always recognized or appreciated that association. Doctrine is not a sacred deposit for the sole purpose of theological debate, or of winning arguments. Life is not something isolated or separated from doctrine [teaching], because what people believe determines what they do. As water rises no higher than its source, the disciple is not above his master (Matt. 10:24).
One of the troublesome phenomena of our day is the disdain for any belief system that demands an adherence to a set of rules, or doctrine. Yet, the Bible is clear: Jesus commissioned his apostles to teach those obedient to the gospel to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). Along this same line the Savior said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15), and “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (Vs. 23, NKJB). Again, Jesus asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Lk. 6:46). It seems that these thoughts have little more than a dead ring in this day of the dominant philosophies of modernism, postmodernism, pluralism, and liberalism.
At the same time points of doctrine are pertinent to us to the degree that we allow them to influence and shape our lives. For, example, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is a point of doctrine. Should it make a difference in the way we live? After detailing certain truths about the coming of the Lord “as a thief in the night,” Peter said, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness…Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:11, 13).
The attitude has long been with us that Biblical doctrine is basically irrelevant, and calculated mostly to offend people. This modernistic notion accounts for the scarcity of doctrinal sermons in our pulpits. To the degree that the doctrine of Christ is absent from our preaching our lives will be vacant of real meaning and direction. Bible doctrine is relevant to living, but it must be seen as well as heard!
In my Wednesday night Bible class we are currently in Titus 2, where Paul begins by saying, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Vs. 1). He then applies it to the older and the younger members of the Lord’s body. In so doing the apostle outlines the behavior that goes with sound doctrine. The meaning of the word “sound” is healthy. Life is healthy when certain things are in place. Otherwise, one is not well spiritually. Titus 2 is a clear statement of the fact that teaching molds life. They go together!