Holding to sound doctrine – absolutely essential

By Dave Henning / January 28, 2022

“Christianity is a faith based on belief in historical realities and truths, but it is also a spiritual union with Christ through the resurrection.  So holding to sound doctrine is absolutely essential and yet insuffient at the same time.  We are to examine ourselves whether the truth is shaping the habitual affections of our hearts and the practices of our will and character.”- Timothy Keller

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. . . “- Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

In Chapter 8 (“Hope for You”) of Hope in Times of Fear, Timothy Keller discusses the work of 17th century British theologian John Owen.  Owen espoused two ways of beholding the glory of Jesus.  Faith now and direct sight in eternity.

Therefore, we must do more than merely believe the doctrines of Christ’s person, offices, and work.  In addition, we must learn how to contemplate the glory of each of them.  To get a heart sense of their beauty, greatness, and wonder.  This happens at the present time through the work of the Holy Spirit.  First, we see Christ’s glory as we meditate on the wisdom of the gospel itself.  For the purpose of God’s salvation involves being conformed to the image of Jesus.

Hence, carefully center your meditation on what the Bible says about Christ.  As a result, you’ll really see Jesus.  Rather than letting your imagination fashion a Jesus of your own liking and making.

Finally, in  his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes about ‘putting off the old self’ and ‘putting on the new self.’  Pastor Keller explains the continuous and inseparable nature of the two selves.  They involve each other.

“You can’t move the heart’s inordinate affections for power, approval, comfort, and control from one object without showing the heart a greater, more desirable and beautiful object – Jesus himself.  Only then will your sin lose its attractive power, and only then will you begin to be free. . . .  without the assurance and knowledge of our acceptance in Christ, the admission of our sin will be too traumatic.”

Today’s question: How are you holding to sound doctrine while also letting the truth shape your heart’s affections?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Good person or Christ = basis of self-worth”

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Dave Henning

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