Tuesday’s lesson this week is about Christ-centered doctrinral beliefs. This reminds me of a passage that has become the theme of my ministry.
The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. I present before you the great, grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption,—the Son of God uplifted on the cross. This is to be the foundation of every discourse given by our ministers. -Ellen White, Gospel Workers, Page 315.
We are not saved by doctrine. We are saved by God’s love and grace. So why does Satan work to skew our understanding of doctrine when he knows we are not saved by doctrine? Because doctrines help us understand God’s love. Our understanding of His love determines whether we accept Him or reject Him. Satan wants to skew our understanding of doctrine in order to warp our understanding of God’s love and make us reject Him.
For example I have read a few testimonies from former atheists saying the reason they originally rejected God was because they could not imagine a God who would torture people throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Once they realized God isn’t going to torture people for all eternity they could accept God into their lives.
I read a book last fall, To Sleep with the Angels, by David Cowan and John Kuenster.1 It was about a Chicago Catholic school fire in 1958. The book explains several reasons that were avoidable that led to the deaths of 92 students and 3 teachers. The authors also address how the church tried to comfort the parents, but their “comfort” did not make any sense. Parents were told that God needed their children. “But we needed them,” the parents countered. Also, does that imply God doesn’t need the children who survived? Parents were told that God took their children to heaven because they were so good. “Does that mean the rest of us are bad and God rejected us?’ Parents asked.
The punishment of the wicked and state of the dead are just a couple of examples of how false doctrines warp our understanding of God’s love. This is why a few years ago I put together a set of Bible study guides called, In Light of the Cross Study Guides. They are available on my personal website. The lessons can be read online or downloaded and printed out in PDF format. Over the years people have written and told me they have been used in church Bible study groups as well as New Believers’ Sabbath School classes. Recently a family from Tennessee wrote that they were enjoying the lessons during family worship. They have also been used as guides and supplements in baptismal classes. I have provided both a King James Version edition, as well as a New Living Translation edition. You can also get the app for your android phone, and always have a Bible study ready to share anytime, anywhere.
I pray these lessons may be a blessing to your and your friends as we study all Bible doctrine in the light of the cross.