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Deeds Before Doctrine

Make known His  deeds  among the people. (Psalm 105:1)

A person can be saved knowing only what Jesus did (and does) without understanding exactly who He is.  As far as salvation is concerned, Jesus' achievements and His office are critical, and not His exact identity.

During His lifetime, Jesus saved and healed many people, without their really knowing His identity.  Remember the man born blind that Jesus healed?  The man had no idea who Jesus was, but this did not prevent his healing.  Similarly, on a practical level, I don't need to know anything about my doctor's background or family life, as long as I trust his expertise and submit to his treatment.  In this regard, spiritual healing is no different from physical healing.

Peter in his first sermon on the day of Pentecost  (Acts 2) does not go into great detail in describing who Christ is. The virgin birth and divine nature of Christ are not even mentioned.  Peter's essential points  are:

Since many of the Jews were saved and baptized as a result of this sermon, we may take these points as essential and sufficient for salvation.  This view is confirmed by other presentations of the basic gospel  in the book of Acts  (3:12-26, 4:9-12,10:34-43, 13:16-41, 17:22-32), all of which maintain the same emphases.

Hence when sharing Christ with unbelievers, we should  hold to these points as pre-eminent.  When other issues arise and threaten to cause confusion or debate, we need to set them aside as secondary.  This includes such 'fundamental' truths as  the doctrine of the Trinity, or even the virgin birth.  I am not saying that these issues are not important -- but I am saying that they need not be dealt with until after salvation has been established.  Once a person has been spiritually saved through trusting Christ, the Spirit of God resident within his heart will instruct him.

Unfortunately the word "doctrine" has become jargonized to denote different theological schools of thought (Calvinist, Catholic, Methodist, etc.).  In the New Testatment, doctrine (Greek didach didache) actually means any kind of teaching. The doctrine delivered by the Apostles, the doctrine which the Pharisees opposed so savagely, consisted merely in what Christ did and what God will do for those who trust in Christ (see above references to the book of Acts). Let us return to doctrine in the New Testament sense.  His deeds should be our doctrines.

Saved Christians for centuries have held debates over His exact nature -- but their differences in no way detract from their salvation.  When initially presenting the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to those who have never heard,  it is better not to cloud the issue with such controversies.  Muslims and Buddhists can argue against Christian "doctrines" (even as Christians argue among themselves), but they cannot argue with His deeds.

Prayer: Father, Your express desire is that all people should be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).  Impress our hearts, that we share Your desires.  Instruct our minds, that we share Your  priorities.  Make Your deeds living realities to us; and make our deeds shine with the glory which You have placed within us, through the death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus.

©1998 CrossPollen. CrossPollen articles may be copied without permission from the author AS LONG AS (1) the article content is not changed (2) the original copyright notice is included. If you have been stimulated or challenged by these articles, please consider making a financial contribution to CrossPollen."Do not muzzle the ox who threshes the grain... If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?"(1 Corinthians 9:9-11) Please contact us via e-mail. Thank you!

Cross Pollen
e-mail: thornroot@juno.com
Copyright © 1998 CrossPollen
Last Revised: March 20, 1999

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