Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another question...

Sorry :)

If I am cynical of the brothers and sisters in my Church and get angry with them because they don't really "get" grace the way I do, does that mean I don't love my brothers? "Whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?"

Here I go examining my sincerity again.

I just wish we would come together and learn more and more about God's grace. But that's not my call.

12 comments:

cybeRanger said...

See yourself in Christ.. that's all.

The Lewis Family said...

It's the lies being manifest through people that you can't stand. It comes across as so self-righteous and condemnning that there is a strong temptation to fight it verbally. And it would come across as condemning and pround on your part. Totally understand it. Such a longing for transparency, rather than defensiveness. But that comes from seeing the Love of God in Jesus eh! It is amazing that you can be in the midst of unbelief. There are many who have to go through a process of grace seasoning in order to be in the midst of others who do not know the freedom and try to make others come under their bondage. . . I imagine that there are times you want to go running through the building yelling, Freedom! It's all about Jesus! It's been done for you! Run to Jesus! It's all about him! Stop trying so hard. Lay down your silly pride and receive all that He has done For you!" I do sometimes. . .

RJW said...

Matthew,
Jesus was pretty angry with the money changers in the temple. Did he not love them?
You are confusing your identity with your actions, thoughts, and emotions. Just because you don't act a certain way or feel a certain way doesn't mean you're not who God says you are.
Have you ever read anything by Bill Gillham? He really addresses the issues you are raising.
Cyberanger nailed it.

Bino M. said...

I don't think that means you don't love them. Disagreements are not necessarily a sign of lovelessness. Instead, it could very well be the sign of love!

Joel B. said...

I really love the sincerity of your thoughts and your questions here. I can really relate to all of this!

I don't know how many times I left church with a critical mind, complaining to my wife about various things that were said during the service, and then wondering where my love was for the pastor and everyone else!

I like what others have said here. It's not that we don't love the people, but in fact the opposite is true. We love the truth so much that it hurts to hear the lies. When I would calm down and collect myself I would realize that it wasn't my pastor who I was against, but rather the subtle legalism that I believed was hurting people, including myself.

I prayed a lot for the people who were teaching what I believed to be wrong things (and I still do pray for them), realizing that the battle isn't against the people, but against the lies. And of course the battle is won with the truth.

I'm still cynical. Whenever I hear junk on the radio or wherever, my temperature rises. LOL Perhaps that will simmer down in time, perhaps not. But in the meantime, I think it's the love of Christ in us, and the truth, that causes our reactions to the lies.

Bino M. said...

I agree, Joel. I do the same - criticize pastors for teaching law. But people mistake it that I am against the pastor. But I am not! I am against his teaching. Again, our fight is not against flesh and blood (people) but against principalities (lies).

Philip said...

I've just read some of what Joseph Prince says on the subject. He points out how serious Paul is in Galatians about the gospel. He pronounces a double anathema on the false teachers who hold to a false gospel,and goes as far as to say that he wishes they would castrate themselves. I think he's viewing them as the proponents of damnable falsehood,not saying that he doesn't want them to come to the knowledge of the truth. But they were ultimately preaching law for justification. And while the Galatians were justified,they had fallen away from grace as a way of life, and Paul lovingly but firmly says they are foolish,and that Christ will not profit them for living that way...but then, when we read Rom14,we see Paul being gentle and patient with weak consciences who are being established in the liberty of the new covenant. Maybe the difference is that the Galatians had reverted,having embraced their freedom previously,while the (Jewish?)believers of Rom14 just had weak consciences,and were finding their spiritual feet? The weak believers were stumblingly moving towards their liberty as they grew in faith,the Galatians more steadily reverting back to works,away from liberty,and to what would be an eventual embracing of works for justification,were it not for God's preservation of them as true believers,keeping them from going that far.

Philip said...

Maybe the distinction between Paul's address in both cases reflects the nature of the heart of the person. It seems likely that where someone is more settled in their law-works,that Paul would use stronger language as a reflection of his loving concern for them-like a dad would when his child moves to put his hand in the fire-but if the person has a weak and tender conscience-particularly if they've been strongly under law- perhaps Paul would have been very sensitive and patient,seeking to build them up in their liberty. After all,faith is a gift and not a work,and is of the essence of 'lying recumbent on Jesus'.

Matthew Daelon said...

Thank you all for your encouragement. I have needed it. I'm very prone to question, not Jesus and the Gospel, but my actual belief in Him. While not trying to earn salvation, I can easily get caught up in trying to prove my salvation by my works. Either one foolish.

A brother at my Church has allowed me great freedom to discuss things like this with him. While I don't necessarily agree with him on everything, he is very gracious and very real. He doesn't put on a show. He is a great brother in the Lord.

Cyberanger, what you said really spoke to me last night as I thought about it. I realized I had gotten my eyes off the Root (Christ) and onto the fruit. It made me think about Rahab and the scarlet thread. Either I continue receiving this free salvation or I go back to works and my blood be on my own head.

Lewis Family,

I really get what you're saying. I talk about the pure grace of God in my Church a lot and they still don't seem to get it. They don't understand that our lives aren't about what we do for God, but about what He has done for us. And dedications and commitments mean nothing. Only faith working through love.

RJW,

I've never gotten to read his books, but I want to! I will try and see if I can get someone to get it for my birthday this year or something. I love Bill. He always addresses the issues that no one else really does.

Joel,

What you said is probably right. My hatred for the performance focused life is very strong. I guess I could easily mistake my hatred for the doctrine in hating the person. The devil just uses those situations to get behind and use them to beat me up with. Chap (the brother who I mentioned above) always tells me to "Tell the damn liar to go back to hell where he belongs." I love Chap.

Phil,

I ALWAYS forget the harsh words Paul had against legalists! I don't think I've ever told anyone to go to hell for believing in law and grace. I don't think my Church is denying that we're saved by grace alone, but there are areas where I sense performance based lifestyles.

Thank you again to everyone for your encouragement.

Philip said...

I didn't mean to suggest that that was the case with your church, Matthew. I really don't understand like I would like the distinction between not offending a weak conscience and not confirming a legalistic one...I was struck by your comment above; 'either I continue receiving this free salvation or I go back to works and my blood be on my head'. Now I don't know what you believe about these things,but can I suggest in the chance they might be helpful that the salvation once received is permanently effected? Our justification was a moment-in-time event-a permanent and irrevecable event. It was received by faith-it is not maintained by faith. Our ongoing faith is maintained by grace,because we in God's favour...but to back up even more,saving faith itself is a gift(Eph2v8). It is not a work. We didn't produce it in ourselves-God took the initiative towards us to turn our sin-bent hearts towards him in faith. Faith is the result of new birth-not the cause of it. Now I know this presents some mysteries,but I think ultimately we need to know that God's love really is THAT unconditional towards us as believers,so that we might have the assurance that Paul outlines in Rom8. God always intended to certainly save those who are saved. We can't maintain it by faith anymore than by works,else we make faith a work!But faith is to rest that it is so. Faith looked to the Object of it's look and received a full and free pardon and the gift of righteousness-not to itself. The merit is all in him,not in faith itself. Faith merely takes,receives,accepts. And ongoing faith springs from a new nature of a new creation,and sees that it is already in possession of what it hopes for.

Matthew Daelon said...

Hey Philip,

I didn't take it that you were talking about my Church. I know you weren't.

I believe in eternal security of the believer. No one can snatch us from Jesus' hands. However, I do believe that faith in the Gospel of Jesus is to be firm to the end. I don't mean we don't doubt. I mean people who deliberately sin against the knowledge of the truth.

Philip said...

I agree that eternal security must mean perseverance in faith...but just that it's that way round-believers persevere because they are eternally secure. Rather than they are eternally secure because they persevere. The warning in Hebrews is not to Christians who could leave off resting in Christ if they chose. It is to unbelievers who have heard the gospel,but don't exercise faith to their salvation. It is the blasphemy against the holy Spirit,which is the sin of non-ignorant unbelief...not a sin that cannot be turned from,but a sin that will -by it's very nature-keep someone from Christ until they do believe! From first to last,it is all of a grace that is of God's initiative. God keeps the believer,and the believer's confidence must lie-not in his ability to keep himself saved by his faith(making 'faith' a 'work')but in Jesus in whom he has faith-that he is in the realm of grace where there is no condemnation now and forever-because 'by one offering he has been perfected forever. If justice is satisfied,and the satisfaction has been received,then God cannot possibly allow any blood-bought one to fall under condemnation again. Nor,ultimately,would any believer finally cease to answer the love of his beloved-because he has a new nature at the core of his being. But still,this is the fruit and not the root-the reason he is under grace and 'no condemnation' is not because he continues to exercise faith,but because he is eternally justified without works. His faith is that he is under grace...it is not that his faith is an ongoing substitute work to procure his remaining under grace.