The Doctrine of Christ
We are admonished to follow the doctrine of Christ. The apostle John writes: (2 John 1:9-10 NKJV) Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
Some suggest that the “doctrine of Christ” is solely the teachings He presented while He was here on the earth. They conclude that only the “red letter” verses in the Bible must be obeyed today. While this may sound reasonable to some, it is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Himself.
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST CAME THROUGH APOSTLES AND PROPHETS
While Jesus was here on the earth, He told His apostles that He was not able to tell them all they must know. Jesus explicitly said that what He was teaching while He was on this earth was an incomplete message. Note these words spoken by Jesus:
(John 16:12-13 NKJV) "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; …
Jesus said that essential parts of the message would be given later by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He told His followers:
(John 14:26 NKJV) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, …
Those other essential parts of the message would not be given until after Christ had left the earth. Only then would the Holy Spirit (the Helper) come, Who was to provide the rest of Christ’s doctrine.
(John 16:7-8 NKJV) "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
The idea that Jesus’ doctrine consists only of the words that Jesus personally spoke is contradicted by the words of Jesus Himself. In fact, those who follow only the words that Jesus spoke are following an incomplete message. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the full message (“all truth,” John 16:13; “all things,” John 14:26) began to be …(Eph 3:5 NKJV) … revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets… That is why the Scriptures refer to commandments of the apostles and even the “apostles’ doctrine.”
(2 Pet 3:1-2 NKJV) Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle … that you may be mindful … of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, (Acts 2:42 NKJV) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Paul said specifically that, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:13), he had received his doctrine directly from Christ and that he taught the commandments of the Lord.
(Gal 1:11-12 NKJV) … the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(1 Thes 4:2 NKJV) … you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
(1 Cor 14:37 NKJV) If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
Please note that Jesus made a very specific announcement about when and where the gospel message of salvation would be preached. He said that it would be preached beginning in Jerusalem “not many days” after His ascension when the apostles received power through the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:47-49 with Acts 1:5-8).
(Luke 24:47-49 NKJV) "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. … tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
(Acts 1:5-8) … but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." … "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
It was only ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost, that the apostles received that power (Acts 2:1-4). The apostles (Acts 2:4) were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. It was that very day that the apostle Peter, just as Jesus said would happen, preached repentance and remission of sins (Luke 24:47-49). What did Peter preach about how to receive remission of sins?
(Acts 2:38) Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; …
Those in that audience who believed and acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ (confessing Christ is essential; Rom. 10:10 says confession is unto salvation) were cut to the heart (repentance is essential; II Cor. 7:10 says repentance is unto salvation) and were baptized (Acts 2:41) and thereby saved.
(Acts 2:41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
(2:47) the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Consistent with this, Peter later wrote that it is baptism that saves. (1 Pet 3:21 KJV) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
The apostle Paul wrote that salvation is only “in Christ (II Tim. 2:10) and that the only way to get “into Christ” is baptism (Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:27). This obedience to the complete doctrine of Christ is both essential and appropriate considering the great love and mercy offered us from the Father in Heaven.
- Cody Damron