Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.
1 Timothy 4:16
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
St. Paul, writing to Timothy, writes what he writes with a purpose in mind—the purpose of encouraging Timothy to remain in the true doctrine. Contrary to the world, remaining in the true doctrine is not at all of insignificance. It does matter, for “doctrine is life.” I am not talking about man’s doctrine (i.e. Mark 7), for man’s doctrine only alienates from God and hardens the sinner against God. God’s doctrine, in distinction, does give life, just as Jesus says, “My words are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Depart or stray from these, and there is nothing but death. Continue in the very Word of the Lord Christ, and you are truly His disciples and “will know the truth” and will be set free by that truth” (John 8:31-32).
Such does God’s Word, The Truth (John 14:6), do. It gives life, raises that which was dead, and also preserves one in the truth by that same truth.
To the Galatians, St. Paul writes, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain — if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? — just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” (Galatians 3:2-6)
Not by man’s doctrine and not by man’s doing were the Galatians being made perfect and complete, but by the hearing of faith (Romans 10:17), by hearing the Word of Christ.
The doctrine/teaching is important. Get this wrong, and you get Christ wrong. Getting Christ wrong leads to eternal death, not eternal life, for outside of Christ Jesus, there is no forgiveness and no peace with God. But in Christ Jesus, there is nothing but forgiveness and the peace that surpasses understanding, which the world cannot ever give (Philippians 4:7)
The world and those of the world will go their own way, claiming that you cannot know the truth or that it is not found in the Bible. But Christians believe differently, for the Christian faith is not of the world, but of God, revealed through the Holy Scriptures, and centered on Christ, and Christ alone!
‘Let every faithful person work and strive with all his might to learn this doctrine (of the Gospel) and keep it, and for this purpose let him employ humble prayer to God with continual study and meditation on the Word. Even when we have done ever so much, there will still be much to keep us busy. For we are involved, not with minor enemies but with strong and powerful ones, who battle against us continually, namely, our own flesh, all the dangers of the world, the Law, sin, death, and the wrath and judgment of God, and the devil h9imself, who never stops tempting us inwardly with his flaming darts (Eph. 6:16) and outwardly with his false apostles, so as to overcome some if not all of us” (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p65).
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your word; Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son And bring to naught all He has done.
O Comforter of priceless worth, Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife And lead us out of death to life. Amen.
(Lutheran Service Book (2006), “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast In Your Word” 1, 4)
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