Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Need for Theology

Take a look at this passage- Galatians 5:19-23:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

What I find interesting about this passage is that it comes toward the end of Paul's argument against why the first-century Judaizers are incorrect. In a nutshell, the Judaizers wanted fresh Christian converts from the Gentiles to be circumcized and to take up the vestiges of the Mosaic Law, primarily to avoid persecution. Paul writes to rebuke this train of thought and to encourage the Gentiles to avoid trusting in circumcision (or uncircumcision), and to remain in the Spirit by faith.

And then Paul hits us with this list of sins, the "fruit of the flesh" if you will, and the contrasting "fruit of the Spirit". In context, the argument is this: if you buy into what the Judaizers are telling you and get circumcized, this is what your fruit will look like - immorality, sensuality, etc. If you hold to correct doctrine in faith, Paul says, your fruit will look like love, joy and all the rest.

The point is this: doctrine and correct theology matters. We must not separate matters of Christianity in "head and heart", as if you could live correctly while believing lies. Theology always works itself out, given enough time. A man always reaps what he sows.

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