THE BENEFITS OF THEOLOGY

THE BENEFITS OF THEOLOGY

Written February 2019

Over the past couple of weeks I have been writing the 5 minute theology inserts that have been in the bulletins. My hope is that you have enjoyed and benefited from these little articles explaining different terms and aspects of God’s nature. One of the things that I hope to accomplish in writing these articles is that we will not only grow in our knowledge of God but develop a passion for this knowledge as it benefits us in so many ways.

In this article I would like to give just a couple of reasons why theology is so important to help us understand it’s value and the blessings that it imparts in our life. In researching this topic I found a tremendous resource in a place called “ad Dei Gloriam” which is from latin which translates into “For the Glory of God.” I hope you enjoy reading this and through it develop a hunger to know more about God.

THEOLOGY IS NEEDED FOR SALVATION

When we examine the event of salvation we realize that a certain amount of theological knowledge is required for salvation. A person must come to understand their sin (the theological category for that is Hamartiology), as well as their need for salvation (Soteriology), and Who Jesus Christ is (Christology). The knowledge of sin, the need for forgiveness, and where that is found in Christ is all covered in the field of theology. It is through understanding these truths that the Lord draws us into a relationship with His Son.

Look at these Scriptures as they pertain to a person’s learning and their salvation.

Matthew 13:3-4: 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.

Matthew 13:18-19: 18″Hear then the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

Romans 10:13-14: 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

2 Timothy 3:15 – 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Now to be true, learning theology is not what saves us. We can study Jesus our entire life, get college degrees that show how much we know about the Bible, Jesus, the cross, theology, and God the Father and still end up in hell. Scripture is the map that shows us the way to Jesus, it makes us wise to our sin, the need for the Savior and Who that Savior is. To have that knowledge

permeate not only our minds but our very souls means that when we fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit we surrender to that call to come to Christ as our Savior.

Many of us have known people that have never heard of Jesus or the Bible, yet they came to repentance after hearing a short plan of salvation. How is this possible, because they understand, undoubtable with God’s help the simply theological truths regarding salvation. These truths are the very foundation which we are able to build our Christian lives and God is able to use to grow our faith, love, and service to Him.

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” ― John Newton, author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”

THEOLOGY INCREASES OUR FAITH

Think about it, when you came to know Christ as Savior, you repented of your sins, asked for forgiveness and proclaimed the risen Savior as Lord of your life. After that moment your growth in the Christian life happened because your knowledge of God increased and because your knowledge increased your service, faith, love, joy, and all those things found in the Christian life increased.

This happens because of our study of the Scriptures and the truth of the Word of God gives us a solid foundation, not based in our experiences or feelings but in the facts of the Bible. This is not to say that feelings or experiences are bad but rather that the hearing and learning of the Word of God is what increases faith and trust because through it we more clearly see our Savior.

Romans 10:17: 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

THEOLOGY LEADS TO DISCIPLESHIP AND GODLINESS

Jesus said some very interesting things when it came to discipleship and living godly lives.

John 8:31-32: 31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The principle that is outlined here is fairly simple. Knowing and understanding the Word of God helps us and empowers us to live godly lives free from the power of sin. Through knowing and understanding God’s Word we are able to know our purpose in the life and the power that we have in living it.

I remember being at a wedding one time and seeing the flower girl walk in. I remember this incident because the flower girl was not throwing any rose petals down. She was simply walking down the aisle, smiling, and holding her nicely decorated basket. Not once did she reach into her basket to draw out any flower petals to toss down the aisle. Well the wedding ceremony happened and afterwards in the church vestibule the flower girl was having a conversation with what I assumed was her mother and all of a sudden there was an explosion of petals raining down from the basket.

It seemed that this particular basket was a prepackaged flower petal basket made specifically for weddings. It was preloaded with an abundance of petals. To insure that the petals did not spill out everywhere there was a thin protective covering that was easily broken and allowed the petals to be grabbed and tossed out. The flower girl, having never used a basket like this before never even reached her hand in as there were no petals visible on the top of the basket. Had she but put her hand in and scratched the surface she would have had access to an abundance of petals.

Theology, the study of the Bible, knowing God’s Word and all the things that associated with that are just like us scratching the surface of the basket. Through that we find a myriad of blessings pouring into our

lives which empower us to live godly lives. In the Scriptures we gain the knowledge and understanding of the freedom we have from sin, our place in the body of Christ, the fact that we have a home in heaven, and so many other truths which aid us and empower us to living godly lives.

THEOLOGY PROTECTS US FROM FALSE DOCTRINE

Sound, biblical theology protects us from false prophets, false teachers, and various forms of satanic deception.

In my life I have met many people with some crazy beliefs. I have met someone who believed that his soul was saved by Jesus but we are on a huge path of reincarnation which was controlled by other deities we had to work at getting out of that cycle. I have met someone who was convinced that they had proof that God had made a mistake. I knew someone in high school that was involved in a type of crazy witchcraft. I look back at those individuals and think, how could anyone believe in those things? To this question my mind replies “they don’t have any truth to protect them.”

When we have a good grasp of theology and the truths and principle of God’s Word it is so much harder to be deceived by the lies and deceptions of this world. Look at some Scriptures that talk about the importance of knowing sound doctrine and theology as it relates to the Christian life.

Colossians 2:2-4 (CEV): 2I do it to encourage them. Then as their hearts are joined together in love, they will be wonderfully blessed with complete understanding. And they will truly know Christ. Not only is he the key to God’s mystery, 3but all wisdom and knowledge are hidden away in him. 4I tell you these things to keep you from being fooled by fancy talk.

Ephesians 4:14-15: 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Galatians 1:6-9: 6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– 7not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Clearly Paul takes theology seriously and makes the case that it is vitally important in the Christian life. Now I know what you are going to say. Pastor, I am not going to be deceived into following a cult, why is this so important. To that I would say I believe you wholeheartedly. Where I think we falter in handling theology is when we use the things we know as portraits as opposed to compasses. Let me explain.

Portraits are pictures we put in our homes to decorate and to look nice. Compasses are what we use to find our bearings, determine where north is, and plot a course for us to go. We use a portrait to remind us what someone looks like or remember an event. We use a compass to keep from getting lost.

In the world in which we live we need compass theology because the devil is not interested in getting Christians to renounce Christ and join a wacky cult or new age religion, he wants to get us off course. Because if we get off course he can lead us anywhere he wants.

If we do not allow the truth we know about God, our theology, guide us we can falter and believe a lie which will ultimately lead us away from God. Let me give a clear example. We are taught that God loves us with an everlasting love that sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. The Bible teaches that God knows the very number of the hairs on our heads and that He cares more about us than we can even begin to fathom. Yet when our life gets difficult and times get hard we don’t let this theological truth guide us, we allow a belief that God has abandoned us take over and live our lives accordingly. Another example comes from the holiness and wisdom of God. It is clearly taught that God is holy, sinless, per

fect and has called us to that same holiness in our lives. We also know that God know everything and is infinitely wiser than anything we can image. Therefore we know that the things God has told us to do has our best interests in mind, are healthy, and good for us. Yet how many teenagers who know these truths abandon them for the lie that God wants me to be happy and have a good time with my boyfriend or girlfriend?

Portrait theology will always look nice but we need compass theology because it will keep us from false teachings that can hurt us and harm our lives.

THEOLOGY HELPS US BUILD A PROPER CHRISTIAN WORLD-VIEW

This is basically how we view every aspect of the world. This is how we interpret what is happening both home and abroad and in our everyday lives. With this we are able to align our will to God’s will and live for Him. All teaching that we hear will be filtered through our world-view.

Colossians 2:8: 8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Theology helps us develop discernment to keep us on the right path

Psalms 119:105: 105Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

1 John 4:1: 1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Since there are false spirits, we need an absolute source in order properly to “test the spirits” rather than employing our own fallible human reasoning. The late Harry Ironside used to give this illustration about remaining on the correct path. He imagined the believer as a locomotive engine, filled with the propelling steam (the Holy Spirit). This engine, thus equipped, becomes a source of terrible destruction if it veers off the tracks. The tracks are the Word of God.

THEOLOGY HELPS US GROW AND MATURE

Ephesians 4:14-15: 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Hebrews 5:11-14: 11About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 6:1: 1Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

THEOLOGY HELPS US DEFEND THE FAITH

1 Peter 3:15 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

THEOLOGY IS THE FOUNDATION OF HOPE, JOY AND PEACE

If we don’t understand theology, we are missing out on the hope, joy and peace that comes from beholding what a great God we serve.

Philippians 4:4: 4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Philippians 4:6-7: 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 15:4: 4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

THEOLOGY FUELS OBEDIENCE

If we have a great view of God and deep joy in Him, we will have strong motivation to obey Him.

2 Peter 1:3: 3We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness.

THEOLOGY UNITES CHRISTIANS

There is powerful fellowship and unity among a group of believers that share the same vision and beliefs. It provides great encouragement that is hard to find elsewhere.

Ephesians 4:11-13: 11Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.

THEOLOGY STRENGTHENS THE CHURCH

Colossians 3:16: 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

CONCLUSION

So, we see that the study of theology can bring many benefits and blessings, not only in this temporary life, but in our eternal life to come. The reality is too, many of you have been studying theology all of your life without really knowing it. To study God’s Word and to know its truth is to study theology.

Theology as a subject just simply categories the truths of Scripture into categories. The real question is has the Word of God changed you. Do you have a passion and desire to know more about your Savior. Do you have a compass theology or a portrait theology?

My hope is that through this article your heart might be stirred to know more about God and through that have a closer personal relationship with Him, that you in turn might serve and glorify Him more.

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