Is all doctrine practical?
Randy sat in my office to deliver the difficult news. He had just been diagnosed with cancer. He asked that I come to his house to have a devotion with his family after he shared the news to them.
Experiencing theology in life
Randy’s children attended WELS schools and knew all the passages, all the doctrines. They rarely, if ever, missed a Sunday service. They had been prepared for this moment, but you can hardly prepare to hear such devastating news.
Sometimes we can overthink these moments in time. What could someone possibly say that would make any difference for this family? Randy’s family needed to hear what they already knew: the gospel.
As tears flowed down their faces, I shared with them 2 Timothy 3:15, “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” This was a family that had known the Holy Scriptures as long as they could remember. But knowledge is an interesting thing. You can possess knowledge gained from taking classes, reading, or talking to others who have knowledge to share. And what a blessing that is. But knowledge is not just something learned on a page; it is also gained through experience. So it is with theology. Theology is not just learned on a page; it is experienced in life.
Seeing God’s grace
I shared with Randy’s family that everything they learned about God and his Word in classes and in their home would suddenly become real—it would be personally experienced. You see, God’s grace is and always will be real with or without our acknowledgement, but God allows times to come into our lives so we can see God’s grace applied to us personally.
For example, the truth of the resurrection of the dead became much more personal as Randy and his family faced the real possibility of death. The truth of vocation became that much more personal as they considered that God would work through the hands of the doctors on Randy’s behalf. The truth of picking up the cross and following Christ became that much more personal when this family saw God’s grace hidden in suffering. God had been preparing Randy and his family for this day for years.
Is all doctrine practical? The answer is a resounding YES! It may seem at times like sitting in Bible studies or catechism classes or listening to sermons is just an academic exercise, but it is so much more than that. In those classes, God drives home doctrinal points to prepare you for that day when the simple truths of the Bible become personal.
With this upcoming series, we want to look at a number of familiar doctrines and ask, “What does this mean for me?” God-willing, you then will be able to apply the truths of God’s Word to your life and to your experiences, knowing that God’s Word is not just an academic exercise. It is a personal gift—for you.
This is the first article in a six-part series on applying doctrine to your personal life. Read the second article here.
Author: Gregory C. Lyon
Volume 109, Number 07
Issue: July 2022
- Psalm 103: When you count your blessings
- Psalm 91: When God lifts you up on his lap
- Psalm 4: When you draw nearer to the end
- Psalm 42: When you ask, “Where is God when I’m hurting?”
- Psalm 32: When you need forgiveness
- Psalm 130: When rocks fall
- Bible study: Freedom in service
- What does this mean for me? Article 6
- Bible study: Spiritual gifts
- What does this mean for me? Article 5
- What does this mean for me? Article 4
- Bible study: Rejoice in your status!
- Bible study: Baptismal blessings
- What does this mean for me? Article 3
- What does this mean for me? Article 2
- Bible study: Gifts of tongues and miraculous healing
- What does this mean for me? Article 1
- Bible study: Jesus is everyone’s Savior
- Bible study: Love one another
- Bible study: Above all things!
- Bible study: The comfort of God’s providence
- The book of James: Waiting for Christ’s return
- Bible study: Precious grace
- The book of James: Active in using prayer
- Bible study: Rewards of grace
- The book of James: Active in showing love
- The book of James: Correctly evaluating riches
- Bible study: What’s going to happen on the Last Day?
- The book of James: Avoiding loveless judging
- Bible study: Interpretation practice
- The book of James: Taming the tongue
- Bible study: The Bible’s attributes
- Bible study: The importance of the family altar
- Bible study: God’s attitude is grace
- Bible study: The Bible’s account of Easter morning
- Bible study: Different types of sin
- Bible study: God’s inspiration
- Bible study: Giving God glory
- Bible study: Judge for yourself
- The book of James: Using the Word of Truth
- Bible study: The need for the Bible and worship
- Bible study: Citizens of two kingdoms
- The book of James: Active in good works
- The book of James: When battling temptation
- Bible study: God cares
- Bible study: God made the world
- The book of James: When facing trials
- Bible study: A loving God saved people from hell
- The book of James: A blueprint for living out our life of faith
- A Bible story just for me: Guilt
- Bible study: God provides victory over death!
- A Bible story just for me: Anxiety
- Bible study: God forgives and refuses to remember our sins
- A Bible story just for me: Grief
- Bible study: God helps those who cannot help themselves
- A Bible story just for me: Depression
- Bible study: God has not grown soft on sin
- Bible study: Only one path leads to God’s presence
- A Bible story just for me: Trauma
- A Bible story just for me
- Bible study: God wants me in heaven
- Bible study: The incarnation of our Lord