Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 26, 1956
NUMBER 50, PAGE 13,15b

Christianity, A Taught Religion

Lloyd Moyer, Richmond, California

It is evident on every hand that people are what they are because they have been taught to be that way. In view of this fact, would it not seem strange if we should place Christianity in a room all by itself, and say that here we have something that is a mysterious, incomprehensible thing? Here we have something different from every other thing with which man has to do? That Christianity is a religion that can and must be taught may be easily ascertained from the following passages of scripture:

II Timothy 2:15: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Now why would Paul have commanded man to study if man could not understand the thing studied? If man cannot be taught the things of God, then there is no virtue in his "studying" them. If this passage teaches anything, it teaches that we must study in order to be pleasing unto God. It also teaches, by necessary inference, that if we do not study, we will not meet the approval of Jehovah. Thus we see that Paul regarded Christianity to be a religion which could be studied, understood, and applied to our everyday lives. When we study the Bible today, we are doing exactly what Paul directed.

Jeremiah 31:31-34: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

It might seem from a casual reading of this passage that under the new covenant there would be no more teaching. But the very opposite of that is what is meant. Under the old Jewish covenant every child born to Jewish parents was under the covenant, and had to be taught of God as he grew to maturity. But under the new covenant, if a man is in the covenant, he will already know the Lord, and will not therefore have to be taught why he has to do thus and so. We come into covenant relationship with God (under the new covenant) only when we accept the gospel of Christ. And we cannot accept Christ until we have first been taught. Jesus makes this plain in:

John 6:44-45: "No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and that learned of the Father, cometh unto me."

Here Jesus declares that no man can come to him except the one who is drawn by the Father; and in the same breath states that "hearing" and "learning" are the prerequisites to being drawn. From this we conclude that all must be taught of God before they can come to Christ. This is why Jesus commanded the disciples:

Mark 16:15-16: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

The gospel is the power God uses to draw men unto Christ. I need not look for some mysterious power or influence to come into my heart to convict and convert me. The gospel is the medium through which this is accomplished. This is why Paul said he was "debtor" to preach the gospel. This may seem foolish to men; but it is God's way to save the world. "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Cor 1:21.) And Paul charged the young gospel preacher, Timothy, in these solemn words, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine."

Christianity is a taught religion. Nothing is more evident than this. After faith has been created in the heart of man by hearing the gospel (Rom. 10:17), he must repent fully from all sins. Jesus said, "I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." As we are taught of the goodness of God, it should lead us to repentance; we should gladly turn from the error of our way to serve the living God. Once again, we are taught to confess with our mouth the faith we have in our heart concerning Jesus Christ. Paul said,

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9.)

This is the confession. Peter made when he declared, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt. 16:18.)

It was this same Peter who answered the question raised by those inquiring people on the day of Pentecost. He had preached to them concerning Christ, convicting them of his murder, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren what shall we do?" Then Peter said unto them,

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38).

Thus we conclude that baptism is a command which must be obeyed if we hope to enter the celestial city. For we read in the words of John, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Rev. 22:14.)

We are taught in God's word what he would have us do to become members of his body; we are taught how to enter into covenant relationship with him; we are taught how to live the Christian life; and we are taught concerning the eternal destiny of both the righteous and the wicked. Truly, Christianity is a taught religion. God speaks to man in a simple, intelligent way, seeking to turn man's thoughts from evil, to that which is good, and clean and pure. He sets before us the rewards of the one life, the punishment of the other, and says simply, "Choose ye." May we all have the courage to imbibe the principles of God's word, practice its precepts, and enjoy its rich promises.