Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hiding Behind Grace

Many of us have spent most of our lives drowning in the sea of legalism, we gasped for air for a mere second before we were swept along with the undercurrents. Some of us rubbed the salt water out of our eyes and reached earnestly towards a lifebuoy that was tossed to us from the hands of Jesus.

The lifebuoy is God's grace and it pulls us safely on shore. Some of us allow the warmth of the Son to wash over us and we slowly shuffle towards the life that God intended for us to have. We become fishers of men. The others cling to the lifebuoy and remain unmovable in the exact same spot that Jesus dragged us to safety. The obsession with the Law is replaced with the fascination of the blood that cleansed our sins away.

This sparks the beginning of a very dangerous trend among many believers.

Swords clatter nosily on the ground and footsteps echo quietly as warriors of God slowly desert the ancient battle against evil.

Christians smile politely and shrug their shoulders in the presence of sin, they mutter to one another that God is love and we are all sinners. The image of the powerful lion is replaced with an illustrated Jesus making a peace sign.

Shouting out against sin has been forced into whispered utterances which eventually disappeared in the thin air. Every now and then, a voice is heard amongst the quiet halls only to be shushed by careful Christians who are fearful about offending a single soul within listening distance. What happened to us?

We are hiding behind grace, afraid to step out of the comfort zone and rebuke evil.

God's warriors are donning suits and ties instead of shiny armors. We read from teleprompters before we quote straight from the Bible. We have panic attacks when we lose Facebook friends because we said something offensive. We go to great lengths to avoid a smaller friends list, even if it means abandoning an accurate perspective of God.

Do you remember Jesus as portrayed in the Bible? He was a loving man and He ate amongst the sinners at the same table.

The end.

No, there is more. Please listen carefully.

The same man who ate with sinners was put on the cross to die a brutal death so what went wrong? He made a vast array of people uncomfortable. He hated sin and asked all the sinners to turn from their evil ways. Some rejected Jesus and became offended, others loved Jesus and gladly obeyed. "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matthew 11:6)

He did not eat with the sinners merely because they were serving amazing pizza and had the coolest jokes in town. He enjoyed their company because: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) Did you catch that? Jesus wanted to call the sinners and bring them to repentance. How could Jesus bring them to repentance if He condoned their behavior? He didn't!

He did not bestow grace upon them and tell them to go back to their sinful lifestyles. He asked the sinners to abandon their wicked ways, "Go and sin no more." Jesus was blunt and preached the truth. He did not care about offending people, He spoke the truth even in the presence of the infamous pharisees who scowled at his every move.

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Mark 6:11)

Jesus basically commanded us to preach, if they receive our testimony and decide to repent, then that's great! If not, merely dodge the tomatoes and allow God to lead you to another person. We are to speak boldly for the truth:

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)

Unfortunately, I see too many Christians eating at the table and having idle talk with the nonbelievers. They abuse the "Well, Jesus ate with sinners too" excuse and they forget the very reason why God sent them at the table in the first place :o) For the most part, we will be the only Bible that people read. How will they know the seriousness of sin and its consequences if we're hiding behind the curtains and sugarcoating God's wrath upon all things evil? We are not to judge others and hate individuals, but we are to despise sin. We are not perfect and it is evident since Jesus was sent to earth to rescue us from death beyond the grave but do not let our imperfection hinder our efforts to lead nonbelievers to repentance.

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will bed bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:15-19)

This is pretty heavy stuff indeed. If Jesus wanted to be BFF’s with unrepentant sinners, then what's up with all of these verses? We are to love our enemies but we shouldn't hang out with those sinning against God in an unrepentant matter. Loving our enemies and hanging out with them are two separate things. Remember, we will be offensive to many and we will be outcasts but God already warned us about it:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." (John 15:18-20)

Grace is sufficient but be cautious, do not allow your gift to hinder those who have not accepted the gift yet. Receiving grace is our first step as Christians, lets not shut our mouths and watch the lost wander aimlessly in the darkness. Preach against wickedness, they must repent in order to receive salvation. Do not encourage, endorse, or remain passive on sinful lifestyles. Offend the pharisees and be scoffed at, it'll be your greatest accomplishment in life.

It's time to go to war again and boldly proclaim the truth.

"We must be able to defend scripture
and the biblical family
even if it means taking a stand against this world
and its misleading fallacies
and understand that




-June F.

A Voice in the Wilderness


Andrea said...

After grace and forgiveness, HE said, "GO and SIN NO MORE."

Great post.
Blessings, andrea

Beth in NC said...

Great post! I agree with the writer.

Deborah Ann said...

Wow, am I ever glad I ended up here today! As I read your post, the Holy Spirit convicted me of several times, no, many times, I have overlooked sin in order to not offend people. I struggle with this, because I want to make sure I love the sinner, hate the sin. It's a very thin line there, and I have crossed it once too often. Thank you so much for this powerful post, and your boldness in Christ!


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