Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Bother With Theology?

Predestination, election, justification, substitutionary atonement, propitiation, and imputation. These are all things that come to mind when you hear the word theology. There are those who like to discuss, read about, and study theology, and there of course those who don't want anything to do with it.
For the first party, they are people who are drawn to theology. It catches their interests. It drives them into a deeper understanding and knowledge of events that surround the gospel. Then the latter party has little interest in theological matters. Why? Well from what I can gather is that theological terms like predestination for an example goes right over their heads. What do I mean? I mean that no matter how hard they try to understand, they just can't grasp it. Also there's a great deal of debate between calvinists and arminians; two groups of people that have opposing theological views on salvation and events relating to salvation. Those who have little interest in theology see this as pointless and turn away. There are without a doubt other reasons, I'm sure, that people in this party choose not to do much with theology, and I feel like that's alright.

Yet there are people who ask the question, "Why bother with theology?". They usually don't see a point studying and discussing theology. "Why not just keep it at Christ and Him crucified?" Let me give you several reasons why getting your feet wet in theology can be and is edifying, beneficial, and even in some instances, important.

1. It's Biblical- Yes the terms "election" and "predestination" are in the Bible. They both can be found in the books of Romans, the most theological of Paul's epistles. Predestination in chapter 8 and election in chapter 9. Other terms like imputed righteousness, justification, and substitutionary atonement can be found, but are not in plain sight in their original terms like election and predestination are. You just have to look closely at passages that explain those terms. Like justification can be found in the famed 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." You can also find imputation in there as well too. So what's my point here? These theological terms and others are found in the Bible, so they are worth looking into. More so I would dare say that they are important to deal with and wrestle with.

2. Deeper Understanding of the Gospel- I know in my time of studying and reading up on justification or substituationary atonement has given me a deeper understanding of the gospel itself. As you dig deeper into the gospel these theological terms will come up and as you explore what these terms (and others) mean and how they all work within the gospel, then you will in turn grow deeper in knowledge and understanding of the gospel.

3. Humility- It's humbles me knowing that Jesus hung in my place, taking the punishment that I so justly deserve. In my place condemned He stood (Substitutionary atonement). Also that my sins were imputed to Him, and His righteousness imputed to me, therefore giving me legal right standing before God (Justification). As I meditate on these and other theological terms that relate to the gospel, I can't but help but be driven to my knees in humility over such grace & mercy that come from Him. That I don't deserve. Woe is me! For I'm a wretch! I'm a sinner! But Jesus died for me!

4. Thanksgiving & Gratitude- As I grow in a deeper understanding and knowledge of the gospel (in light of growing in the knowledge of theology), it cause thanksgiving and gratitude flow out from me to God for His glory. Expressing in word and deed how thankful I am for such a great salvation that I've been given, that I don't deserve.

5. Praise & Worship- Then it also compels me to worship and praise to God for His love, grace, and mercy. To worship a God who in His love would send His Son to come die in the place of wretched sinners like you and me. To worship a God who has chosen me before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him, and to be adopted in His family. For He is worthy of our worship and praise that we lift up to Him.

You can probably think of other reasons of why it's worth getting your feet wet in biblical doctrine and theology. Of course I touch only on soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), because that's the doctrine that relates to the gospel more than any other doctrine, at least I think so. There are others like eschatology (the end times) for example. Yet whether you were skeptical about getting your feet wet in theology, or you have dove right in already, I hope that your the time you spend looking into and studying theology is fruitful, beneficial, and God-glorifying. Most importantly that it will cause you to fall deeper in love with such an incomprehensibly GREAT God that we serve, and to savor and treasure Him above all else! For that it what I'm aiming for as I explore deeper into biblical doctrine. He is worthy!

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