“Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” (Mat 14:28-29 NASB)
Is it possible that out of thousands of church groups today there could be one that says, ‘You must walk on water to be saved.’
I’m pretty sure there isn’t such a group. At least I hope not. But is this any different from a group that makes dogmas out of any sovereign act of God? [A dogma is a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as truth yet without stated Biblical validation.]
There is a great difference between a religious dogma and a church tradition or a custom. A dogma is a definitive code of beliefs that is declared essential to one’s own belief system. Making dogmas out of sovereign acts of God will always be a major point of contention among Christian groups.
Dogmas draw fences where fences should not be drawn. Dogmas set boundaries where boundaries do not belong. Dogmas can become restraints to a true Biblical walk of faith. Dogmas always place limitations on how the Lord can work in our lives.
Can there be a dogma in your life that is hindering your walk with the Lord. Keep in mind that dogmas never have a clear Scriptural mandate. They are normally doctrines that are based on experiences that are seen in the Biblical text yet with no direct teaching that these experiences are to be taught as essential doctrines.
Dogmas are ‘laws’ or ‘special conditions’ added to Bible truths that actually turn truths into something other than truths. Where a dogma becomes especially serious is when it is made an issue of salvation.
The Biblical walk of rightness with God
It is very important for believers to understand what it is that establishes salvation in a person’s life and what it is that brings forth a walk of righteousness before God. This may be a good time to check up on your own personal walk. Remember what David said;
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Paul makes a statement in Romans 10:8, which can easily be misunderstood. Listen carefully:
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.” (Rom 10:8 NASB)
This Scripture is often rooted from its context of use and made into a message where people are taught to design their own future by using ‘words of faith.’ What people don’t realize is that the aspect of using words to control events is basic to witchcraft. Paul is certainly not teaching witchcraft.
The word of faith that Paul is drawing attention has to do with the law of salvation. Paul is reaffirming to the Christians in Rome as to how a person is actually saved. The word of faith is a message of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that He alone is Lord and Messiah, and that by calling upon Him as Lord a person is taken from the domain and authority of Satan and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, and after this…lives under the sovereign grace of the Lord.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them [the Jews outside of Christ] is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:1-4 NASB) Dogmas have to do with establishing our own righteousness with God.
“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith.” (Rom 16:25-26 NASB – The obedience of faith has to do with coming to the Lordship of Jesus.)
The rule of salvation
Now take a closer look where Paul sets forth the rule of salvation.
“But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down), or who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
“For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Rom 10:6-13 NASB)
Now, how hard is that to understand?
There are no ifs, ands, or buts, attached. Salvation is based on a single and a simple mandate – turn from your life under sin, turn to Jesus Christ, believe in him with your heart and confess that He is Lord and receive Him as Lord over the whole of your life.
What makes adding dogmas to God simple plan of salvation so grievous is that it can place the proclaimer under a curse. There are very few curses noted in the New Testament, but this is a major one.
The apostle Paul said that if any one preaches a gospel of salvation that is contrary to what is taught in Romans 10, that person potentially places themselves under a curse.
You aren’t sure about that. Take note:
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Gal 1:8-9 NASB) — Paul tells us in Romans 10 what the apostles preached concerning salvation.
Adorning your heart with Jesus as Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness…”
When we are convinced that the gospel is true, that God loves us, that Jesus died for us, that He was raised from the dead, and that He is Lord, it is here that our confession of faith in Jesus results in the reality of a heavenly new birth.
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
“But as many as received Him [as Lord], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Joh 1:10-13 NASB)
A true Biblical Christian is someone whose heart has been adorned with Christ. From the moment of our new birth, there is a new life principle at work. Christ directs our life from within.
Pay close attention to these Scriptures:
“But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:25-27 NASB)
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal 4:6-7 NASB)
1st Seek to know the Lord in all your ways. Cf. Prov3:5,6.
2nd Seek to live in a state of forgiveness. This includes forgiving others and living without judgments.
3rd Seek to discern things of value. Cf. Rom14:7,8,13,18,19.
4th Seek for a continuous stream of holy thoughts. This requires discipline of our thought life. The battleground for all believers is the mind. It takes help from the Holy Spirit. Cf. Phil4:6-8,13.
5th Seek higher things. Faith will take you where angels fear to tread. Doubt will leave you in the dust. Don’t let the devil tell you that you can’t attain a deeper walk, or that you can’t live by faith. Cf. Col1:12,27,28
6th Seek to live in love and learn the language of faith. This is not the same as the hyper-confession teaching. The language of faith is merely your mouth speaking in line with God’s truths that are resident in your heart. It is important to learn to verbalize your faith walk. This includes learning to bless others with your words. Cf. 1Pe3:8-12
7th Seek that the Lord be glorified in all your life. Cf. Psalm 115:1
So the moral of this journal entry — Let the Lord be sovereign over all your life. Discard anything that reeks of a dogma that hinders His sovereignty. Learn to live like Jesus lived.
There is a new generation of Christians arising
This new generation is moving into the Christlike maturity that Paul spoke of. Jesus only did the things the Father showed Him to do. Are you ready to get past the deadness of unfaithful dogmas that do not belong to the Christian walk?
Hear the apostle:
“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.x“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;x“… but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Eph 4:13-16 NASB)
This song pretty much says it all. Thanks ‘Redemption’ team at Christian Challenge. Take time to listen…
Love always in Christ,