Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For the Glory of the Risen King

Lately I'm thinking that maybe being labeled a "Grace Pharisee" isn't that bad after all.

I'm not saying to jump down everyone's throat every time someone says something that doesn't seem to agree. I'm saying that being zealous for the grace of God, and speaking out against legalism and offending people isn't wrong. This is an area I really want to excel in! I don't want to allow those who are offended by my preaching of the Gospel cause me to feel guilty. The guilty ones are those who willingly reject Good News from God. They are, "sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth."

There is no excuse for refusing something that you cannot earn.

In my previous post, I put up a quote from Andrew Farley, taken from one of his online sermons. If anyone missed the point, Andrew was speaking of the Gospel, making the point that Paul was zealous for the Gospel and would in no way, allow people to add just a little bit of law to this Message he had received from God. He was more than willing to split hairs when it came to defending the Gospel! In fact, he said anyone who wanted to "balance" this message with the law could go to hell. They are unsettling the minds of the ones for whom Jesus died.

His precious, but sometimes naive sheep.

He wanted people to understand God's grace in all it's glorious truth, because if they didn't, they would not experience God's power since it is only through the abundance of grace and free gift of righteousness that we are able to reign.

Without grace, we are rendered powerless. We become again hollow shells, empty of Life. We cannot receive his grace through the law. It is only through Jesus that we can receive anything.

"A man cannot receive one thing unless it is given to him from above."

Again, Jesus is the hero of this story.


Joel B. said...

Are you trying to shove this down my throat??? LOL =D

Yeah, great stuff! As to your second sentence in this post, I've dealt all too often with that type of Grace Pharisee. I've even had "grace" people disassociate from me, or at least keep quite a distance, all because their doctrine of grace was better than mine... LOL. But honestly, it's not only insulting, it hurts.

However... what you are talking about here in the rest of your post is truly being bold, and unabashedly proclaiming the good news of grace and peace, not balancing it with any rule, law or any other type of leaven that works its way into the batch of pure grace. I've noticed that my personality isn't like the Apostle Paul's (at least how I perceive his personality), and in that respect I don't share the message and relate to others in exactly the same way as him... but his boldness and passion for the message, and his unwavering offensive message of grace... that's what I aim for too!

Bino M. said...

Matthew - I agree with you. I can't imagine Paul writing the entire epistle of Romans for no reason. Its a book full of doctrines, very logical doctrines.

Yet, I see a lot of people (even those who embrace the message of grace) ignore doctrines and purposely do not quote Scriptures in their writings or sermons. I don't know what to make out of it. Their message is not against grace, but they fail to establish the doctrinal foundation, which I think is very important.

Jamie said...

Hmmm, Matt, I think you need to consider how GRACE was first extended to you. If you have ALL but not LOVE, well....

I'm not talking mixture. I'm saying you aren't called to do anything but love others and they will see grace in your actions not just hear it in your words.

Matthew Campbell said...

I know you're right, Jamie, but I can't tolerate mixture right now.

I don't want to be bitter towards people who try and mix grace with law, but I also don't want to let it go unchallenged.

I don't understand how this all works out right now. I know all the theology and lingo, but I don't think grace has found it's way out of me yet.

Matthew Campbell said...


I never thought anyone would ever have thought they have better grace theology than you! You are THE man. Maybe I'm just biased because you were the person I learned so much from at the beginning.

But I have also caught myself doing the same thing. It is easy to get obsessed with whats right and whats wrong and forget that this theology is actually alive, living inside me. The Spirit of Grace resides in my flesh.

I want that passion Paul had for the Gospel too. And just because people are offended doesn't mean we've sinned or that we might be wrong about grace. I can feel like that sometimes when people argue with me or try to challenge my beliefs.


I know exactly what you mean. I for one, hate hearing grace and all this stuff if they are not showing it to me from the BIBLE. Prove it to me! I need proof, not your opinion. I need a lot of Scriptural evidence.

Joel B. said...

For a couple of days I've had something in mind to share here, but haven't had the time to sit and write it until now. Nothing deep or profound... just my own story of sharing grace with a certain group of people.

In early 2005, my wife and I joined in with a small group from church. I'll try to make the long story short, cutting out the details, but in general I thought to myself at the time, "here's a great chance to share the grace of God." Throughout the four years that we were with the group, people came and went, and the group grew too large and split into two... but a core group remained.

Well, I know that I turned many people off during those years... it was seen in their faces and heard in their responses... and at times I really did grow weary and lonely, but I stuck with it.

Quick side note. Apart from the 'discussions,' I got alone ok with everybody (although got the cold shoulder from a few) and we had many opportunities together to love and serve one another. But the emphasis in this church, as you've heard me say before, is "doin' the stuff." I think many of them were doing the stuff out of obligation, rather than pure love, so when I would talk about "grace" it was somewhat foreign to some of them.

Anyway, as I simply shared biblical truths about grace, I know I shook some people up and turned people off... but I also know that by sticking to it I helped some people. I know for sure that three of them in particular are different people today because of the message of love and grace that God spoke through me over the course of 4 years.

I say all that to say that being a Grace Pharisee (in a good way) is by no means easy. It's hard being the unpopular guy... especially when your intention is to bring grace and freedom! And it can truly be frustrating when you pray for them and spent lots of time with them and they don't seem to be getting it. And I admit that along the way I was a Grace Pharisee in the wrong way as well - shoving the message down people's throats rather than having a loving type of boldness. And so I learned what would commonly be called "tact," and I think that really helped.

I think most people aren't "intentional" legalists. Many just haven't had the proper foundation from the beginning, and so it's helpful to meet them right where they're at and spend time with them, developing relationships, and going back time after time to the root of the gospel, rather than just preaching the gospel and giving up on them if they don't get it right away. Time and relationships are crucial, I've found.

I guess that's it for now. This is really just an explanation of why I said I'm not like the Apostle Paul in various ways. He was often quite "in your face" with his message, and he was very effective that way. I've found that that's just not me, and it's not how I've found it best to relate to those around me, and that's been a good thing in the long run.

Joel B. said...

Actually it was early 2004 that we joined in with this group. I was with them till the very end of 2007.

Joel B. said...

I also want to add that God showed me without a doubt that my time with these people was not just about me sharing grace. I learned a lot from people - even those who I didn't agree with most of the time! If it's all about me, and what I have to say, then I really am just a clanging cymbal and a sounding brass! I'm not anyone's savior. I'm part of the body as a whole, and God can, does and will use whoever He wants to speak into my life!