Lesson 22 - Bible Doctrine and Love as a Way of Life

Lesson 22 - Bible Doctrine and Love as a Way of Life

Lesson for May 27, 2012

Christian Integrity

Bible Doctrine and Love as a Way of Life

We have seen the commands to learn and apply doctrine throughout Scripture.  Within God’s power system, a believer exhibits genuine humility and virtue love as a result of the intake and application of Bible doctrine.  Love cannot exist without truth.  Truth makes love possible because genuine love is not emotional.  True love is rational thought.  God, by reason of His character is perfectly rational and totally logical.  As believers develop Christian integrity, they are also developing rationality and logic.  Irrational and illogical thinking is the pattern of unbelievers and out-of-fellowship believers. 

Spiritual momentum depends heavily upon the amount of accurate Bible doctrine you have circulating in your stream of consciousness.  Bible doctrine is supernatural information and not merely academic knowledge.  Only with this supernatural information can a believer advance to spiritual maturity and glorify God along the way. 

Spiritual momentum interlocks with the first three categories of God’s divine power system giving a believer what is needed to transfer Bible doctrine from the written pages of Scripture into the soul and out again as application to life.  Apart from the filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit we have no capacity to learn and properly apply Bible doctrine.  The Holy Spirit uses the doctrine we accumulate in our souls to increase our capacity to learn even more doctrine.  Since Bible doctrine builds upon more doctrine, the more doctrine you learn the more you can learn.  It’s a building process.  We call it the Edification Complex.

Edification Complex of the Soul

The Greek word for “edification” is “oikodome” and literally means the act of building or erecting a structure.  (Ephesians 4:11-29)  Like any structure, our “building” in the soul must have a firm foundation and properly-constructed “floors.”  Our foundation is Jesus Christ and the “floors” are categories of Bible doctrine.  Once the foundation is in place, a believer can begin to build upon it with full confidence that it will stand. The foundation is received at salvation, but the floors must be built over a period of time, as Bible doctrine is learned, believed and applied.  (Ephesians 4:12,16,29; Colossians 2:7; I Timothy 1:4; James 1:4) 

Privilege and Opportunity

Never before in the history of the world have believers in Christ had the privilege and the opportunity that is afforded them today.  The Church Age in which we live is an unparalleled dispensation with numerous advantages for a believer.  The privileges and opportunities that we have been given are not only unique, they are “above and beyond all that we could ever think or imagine.”  (Ephesians 3:13-21)

Jesus Christ has secured forever the strategic victory (the skillful planning and management in getting the better of the adversary) over Satan.  At salvation this victory places a believer in a place of maximum strength with the potential to win the tactical victory (the procedure for gaining advantage or success over the adversary) over Satan, the world (Cosmic) system and the sin nature.  Our union with Christ (Positional Sanctification) guarantees the opportunity to overcome the obstacles that are placed before us (or that we place before ourselves) in order to execute the Christian Way of Life and glorify God while we are on earth.

Many privileges are given to a believer at the moment of salvation and many are given after salvation.  However, opportunities must be seized by personal volition.  As a believer, you are the most privileged person on the face of the earth, but at the same time you may be missing the opportunities for fantastic blessing by not executing God’s plan, purpose and will for your life.  Tactical victory comes over a period of time as a believer makes thousands of right decisions regarding God, himself, others and circumstances.  Winning the tactical victory is done by a believer who is being empowered by God the Holy Spirit as he/she organizes his/her life around right priorities:  Jesus Christ must be the most important Person in your life, learning and applying accurate Bible doctrine must be placed above personal pleasure or your career, and virtue must drive every decision you make in life. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Privilege in life is always accompanied by responsibility.  This is also true with the Royal Family of God.  Our first responsibility, of course, is to God as Royal Priests, and our second responsibility is to others as Royal Ambassadors.  Christ’s strategic victory secured only potential for the tactical victory.  As believers, we all have equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the Christian Way of Life.  Some believers will choose to do so and some will not.  Those who fail in their responsibility to God will experience a life of misery and unhappiness.  Those who choose to embrace and fulfill their responsibility to God will experience a life of peace and happiness.

Winners and Losers

There are two types of believers: winners and losers.  Winners are believers who win the strategic and the tactical victory.  Losers are believers who win only the strategic victory.  Winning the strategic victory is done by a single decision to believe in Christ as Savior.  Winning the strategic and tactical victories is done by a single act of faith in Christ and many additional decisions thereafter to obey God’s Word and execute the Christian Way of Life. (John 3:36; Ephesians 5:15-18) 

The winner-believer, after trusting Christ as Savior, makes many right decisions that glorify Christ.  Therefore, he/she glorifies God both in time and in eternity.  The winner-believer has won the strategic victory and possesses the righteousness of God and is advancing to spiritual maturity where he/she will win the tactical victory.  The winner-believer does suffer, but it is for divine blessing and he/she shares the happiness of God.  He/she lives in God’s “power system” and constantly makes right decisions from a position of strength.  The winner-believer makes God number one priority in his or her life.

The loser-believer makes a single decision to trust Christ as Savior and this brings God glory.  Even though the loser-believer has won the strategic victory and possesses the righteousness of God, he/she will suffer divine discipline and self-induced misery because of his failure to win the tactical victory.  He/she lives in Satan’s “cosmic system” and constantly makes wrong decisions from a position of weakness.  The loser-believer makes “self” number one priority in his or her life.

Being a winner or loser believer is determined by personal volition.  You make the choice to be a winner or a loser.  God does not force anyone to trust Christ as Savior, or to obey His mandates after salvation.  God is not a “puppet-master” manipulating the believer’s every thought and action and He is not a “magician” with a magic wand to wave in order to fix your problems.  However, God has designed the Christian Way of Life in a way in which all believers can become winners.  By following God’s predesigned plan for you as outlined in His Word, any believer can be a success.  It begins with making the right decision, as a believer, to learn, believe and apply Bible doctrine.  If you’re waiting for God to make you do something or to make you think a certain way, you’re waiting in vain.  God is ACTUALLY waiting on you to grow up spiritually and take control of your own spiritual life.  Of course, this can be done only through the power of God the Holy Spirit.

The Privilege of Grace

The privilege of grace begins at salvation when a person believes in Christ as Savior (God’s gift of grace to the human race).  After salvation, all believers continue to experience the grace of God (whether they are aware of it or not).  This grace has been called logistical grace because it is the provision from God that blesses and sustains all believers regardless of spiritual health.  There are four categories to logistical grace:

  1. Life Support – God keeps the believer alive until it is God’s sovereign will to “call him home” to Heaven. (Psalms 68:19-20)
  2. Temporal Supply – God furnishes all the necessities of life such as air to breathe, food to eat, shelter, clothing and transportation. (Matthew 6:11, 25-34)
  3. Security Provisions – God provides protection for the believer in the devil’s world by means of guardian angels and government. (Romans 13:4; Hebrews 1:14)
  4. Spiritual Provisions – God enables every believer to learn and apply Bible doctrine and grow spiritually regardless of I.Q., background or environment. (Matthew 4:4; John 17:17; I Corinthians 2:10-16)

Logistical grace is supplied to all believers on the basis of equal privilege and equal opportunity.  How you use the grace of God determines your advance toward spiritual maturity.  Living in God’s power system is the epitome of exploiting logistical grace.  All believers do not utilize the logistical grace blessings that have been given to them.  Progressing beyond salvation and logistical grace is a potential for every believer, but not all believers will take advantage of this opportunity.  There are greater grace blessings available to every believer who chooses to advance beyond salvation to spiritual maturity. (Romans 5:17; James 4:6)

God has commanded all believers to grow spiritually and to advance beyond “spiritual babyhood.”  Logistical grace is for all believers.  However, merely being kept alive, being furnished with the necessities of life and being protected is not enough for those believers with positive volition towards God and His Word.  We should be very thankful for the logistical grace of God, but He wants us to move beyond salvation to spiritual adulthood.  The issue of salvation has been settled, now we must make a positive decision to advance.  Advancement in the Christian Way of Life can be accomplished only by the execution of His plan by using His system.  His plan and His system are found only in His Word. (Ephesians 4:11-15; Hebrews 5:11-14; II Peter 3:18)