“Orthodoxy” is one of those words that, for me, used to conjure up images of stodgy, dry, boring, impassable old men in suits telling me what God’s will is without explaining how to do God’s will.
But I’m grateful to God that this former perspective of mine has been forever shattered by the humble, passionate, and caring demonstration of orthodox truth believed and lived out by the members of our local church. Seeing the reality of truth taught clearly and lived out purposefully has given me a vision and even a passion for knowing the truth so I can more specifically live in a manner of the calling I have received as a Christian.
The conclusion that I have arrived at over the years is that doctrine transforms. Right knowing leads to right living. Truth about God, His power, His glory, His majesty, and His disposition towards those who are in Christ brings grace and power that absolutely transforms our lives in discernable and eternal ways.
This was brought home to me again recently as I was having lunch with an old friend of mine. As he began to open to me about his recent struggles, the significant questions he was wrestling with, and the level of discouragement he was experiencing I realized how much my friend needed help. As he talked his shoulders were slumped, his head was down, and he had tears in his eyes describing his last few months.
I began praying as he shared and after a few minutes sensed God saying, “encourage him.” Hebrews 3:13 came to mind: “Encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
You see it was clear that my friend had lost sight of God’s presence in his life and more than that God’s intimate knowledge and personal activity in the midst of his life. As a result, he was discouraged and downcast. But a wonderful thing happened as we talked together about the reality of “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. As I simply pointed out the many ways I could discern God’s activity in his life and reminded him that God’s work in his life was both good and wise he was encouraged by the truth and this specific truth was brought to life by the work of the Spirit. And the result was that he was transformed!
Inwardly he began to perceive the riches of God’s grace and His immeasurable kindness given to him in Christ his Savior. He was encouraged by the fact that he was in a fight for holiness but it was fight where he was being assisted by the power of God at work in him through the gospel. The encouragement of God’s sovereign and benevolent activity in his life returned joy to his heart in turn even changed his outward demeanor. What a joy it was to see the smile on his face as we left that restaurant!
We must proclaim the truth and remind each other of the truth daily and as we do so we need to make sure we’re making the truth attractive to those around us. That’s why I love this “humble orthodoxy” that we are embracing. Doctrine does indeed transform but the manner in which we teach and demonstrate the truth can either draw or repel people from the truth. We need to be humble and we have every reason to be humble! As one new friend of my recently put it, “I want to be around people who know they are right but don’t act like it.” I love this statement! It captures, in a subtle way, the fact that what God has revealed to us in His Word exalts Him and not us. The truth rightly grasped should humble us. The truth rightly grasped gives us every reason we need to be humble. The truth rightly grasped gives us every reason to exalt our God.
Isaac Hydoski is a pastor in the singles ministry (ONE) at Covenant Life Church. This week the blog contributors are continuing to share why they’re committed to a humble orthodoxy.