Why Do We Need to Study The Doctrine of Christ?

Here is a lead off thought for our new Sunday School series starting tomorrow!

1. Christ is misunderstood and misrepresented in every generation.

  •  When Jesus healed he was called the son of Satan (Matt. 12:22-32)
  • When Jesus taught he was called a common carpenter (John 6:41-51)
  • When Jesus became well-known he was thought to be John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets (Matt. 16:14)
  • When Jesus talked about his relationship to the Father he was thought to be demon-possessed or just plain insane (John 10:20)
  • When Jesus died on the cross, He was mocked and sarcastically called king of the Jews (John 19:19-22)
  • When Jesus rose from the dead he was thought to be a gardener (John 20:15)

“After his ascension and in the first decades of the church, the situation grew worse. The apostles and the early church contended with those who were teaching falsely about Christ. According to John, these false teachings centered around two poles. The first concerned the denial of Christ as Messiah (1 John 2:22). The second concerned the denial of the incarnation, the teaching that Jesus was fully human and had truly come in the flesh (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). These two poles of thought dominated not only the first century but the immediate following centuries.”[1]

The Bible warns about false Christ’s and says they will continue to come, and even with more frequency as the end draws near (Matt. 24:23-24).

 2. God has most fully revealed himself in Christ and desires that we know him through Christ. 

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18) 

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

 “And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Salvation can be had through Christ. We can have a relationship with God through Christ. But if we are to know Christ, we must know him rightly. In fact, every aspect of our faith comes back to who Christ is. Everything we believe and everything we do is somehow shaped by the doctrine of Christ. As Herman Bavinck says, “The doctrine of Christ is not the starting point, but it certainly is the central point of the whole system of dogmatics. All other dogmas either prepare for it or are inferred from it.” [2]

[1] Stephen Nichols, For Us and For Our Salvation, p. 18.

[2] Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, p. 274.


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