Church Blog

The doctrine along the road

I have this ongoing dream for the ideal Sunday night after a good morning service of worship. It looks like this: you and me, brothers and sisters, gathering in the old chapel together over something hot to drink (I want something hot to drink, even if it’s 100 degrees out). We would sing around the piano from the old church hymnals that have seen so many good years and show many signs of love and affection, not to mention signs of wear and abuse. Then we would open up the same passage from the morning one more time. Here is what I would say to you, “Can you see the good old doctrines that this passage touches? Can you see what it says about God and man, sin and salvation?* Take a look back with me.”

For Mark 10:32-42 where the blind man demonstrates faith and the Apostles, again, play the part of the foil, it would look like this.

The doctrine of God: We learn here that God is powerful, able to give sight to a blind man. This is a unique kind of miracle in the New Testament. Apostles do miraculous signs, but only Jesus give sight to the blind. God also has the power to raise the dead, as Jesus predicts that He will do. We say God is all powerful or omnipotent.
The doctrine of Christ: Jesus, the second person of the eternal Trinity, the promised Son of David from the Old Testament, who added humanity to His true deity, came with a purpose of giving His life as a ransom for many. We say only man should pay for sin and only God could pay for sin, Jesus Christ has both natures.
The doctrine of man: Mankind, as demonstrated by the Apostles, is selfishly hungry for personal power; as demonstrated by the Chief Priests is murderously evil; and, as demonstrated by the blind man, sometimes recognizes their need for the mercy the Jesus brings. All of these are valuable enough that Jesus goes after them. We say that people are both valuable and fallen, glorious and guilty.
The doctrine of sin: The image of blindness is picked up elsewhere to show the effects of sin on our ability to see the light of God without the work of God. We are blinded by sin and need God to open our eyes. We say that sin has made us utterly depraved, every part of who we are is blinded by sins’ effects.
The doctrine of salvation: Jesus has ransomed us from the hold of sin on our lives AND He continues to lead us into personal holiness. The work of salvation that began at our conversion continues to work out as Jesus addresses our sinful desire for power (or pride or permission to sin or love of possessions) and restores us to the narrow road as we follow Him. This is called our sanctification. We say that Jesus saved us by becoming a substitute for our sin.

These become a part of the total biblical picture that shapes everyday of our believing lives. These truths become an essential part of our bringing mercy to those who need it. Mercy is not just helping where there is need, but pointing to the merciful God, who became a man in Jesus Christ to save fallen mankind from sin by offering Himself as our ransom. This is why we do not lead with power or position, but we serve with mercy. Can you see?