â€œNow the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.â€ (1 Timothy 1:5)
Much of modern, self-oriented Christian preaching and writing has tended to downgrade biblical â€œdoctrineâ€ in favor of an emphasis on â€œloveâ€ and â€œfulfillment,â€ the â€œpursuit of happiness,â€ â€œsharing and caring,â€ and other such sentiments. Some popular religious leaders major on â€œconfident living,â€ â€œself-improvement,â€ â€œpersonal success,â€ and the like.
Doctrine is thus downgraded in favor of practice, and â€œworksâ€ are considered more important than the Word. But this type of emphasis places the cart before the horse and can never succeed for very long. â€œDoctrineâ€ is simply â€œteaching,â€ and true teaching must come from Godâ€™s infallible Word, whether that teaching relates to great divine truths (creation, atonement, sanctification, etc.) or to the daily Christian walk.
As the apostle Paul reminds us, â€œevil communications corrupt good mannersâ€ (1 Corinthians 15:33). â€œProfane and vain babblings . . . increase unto more ungodlinessâ€ (2 Timothy 2:16). We cannot escape being taught doctrine somewhere. If we will not receive true doctrine from Godâ€™s Word, we will inevitably become indoctrinated with the worldâ€™s humanistic deceptions, for these impinge upon our thinking continually, from classroom and journal, from television and (unfortunately) sometimes even from the pulpit.
If we areÂ reallyÂ concerned about love and happiness and such things, we must acquire them from the right source, the doctrinal truths of the Word of God. It is knowing and obeying theÂ commandment, as our text says, that generates pure love, a faithful heart, and a daily life that supports a clear conscience.