I am continually amazed at the grace of God over me, a sinner. A few passages in Romans stuck out in my reading today and continued some conviction I have been feeling the last few days but more on that in a moment.
How God Accepts Us
“But now God’s righteousness apart from the Torah has been revealed, to which the Torah and the Prophets bear witness— 22 namely, the righteousness of God through putting trust in Messiah Yeshua, to all who keep on trusting. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are set right as a gift of His grace, through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua. 25 God set forth Yeshua as an atonement, through faith in His blood, to show His righteousness in passing over sins already committed. 26 Through God’s forbearance, He demonstrates His righteousness at the present time—that He Himself is just and also the justifier of the one who puts his trust in Yeshua.” (Romans 3:21-26 TLV).
Shalom with God through Messiah
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Messiah died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man someone might even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. 9 How much more then, having now been set right by His blood, shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him. 10 For if, while we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11 TLV).
The Tree of Life Version and the New Living Translation always provide a fresh reading of the Scripture. I included the headings from the TLV to mark your thinking. God accepts me and you through Jesus, through His shed blood, death, and resurrection. We, like Abraham, are accounted as righteous by our faith and not by our works. Yet, like Abraham, our trusting God produces obedience to the Word of God in our lives.
For the last few days, the Holy Spirit has been convicting me in the area of grace and how it is easy to not walk in grace towards others even when God is being gracious with us. Scripture tells us we all see in a glass darkly and know and see in part. We are all on the road of growth, learning, and sanctification at different places and paces. When the Holy Spirit begins revealing truth, the enemy wants us to use that trust against other believers. The enemy wants us to become prideful over our revelation; we must stand against that.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The Lord gave Paul a thorn to prevent pride in his life; what a blessing! We don’t know what the thorn was, and I’m not going to speculate, but I will say I don’t believe it was a physical sickness. The point is not what was the thorn, but why was it given? To help Paul walk in humility. As Christians, we should not allow our walk with the Lord to create pride. If we are in a season of revelation, it is the Spirit’s doing, not ours.
It is so easy to become involved in doctrinal drama over the guise of defending the gospel when the majority of the time, we are only turning the sword on our brothers and sisters. Yes, I am well aware of all the verses on confronting and refuting false teachers; however, just because someone is in error in an area doesn’t mean they are a false teacher. To one degree or another, we are all wrong in something, but that doesn’t make us all false converts.
If you came to understand a truth three months ago, everyone who doesn’t see it isn’t lost. We need to walk in grace and extend grace because God gave grace to us. So if you’re thinking so-and-so is a false teacher, and I have to warn people, I have a question for you, do you pray for their eyes to be open? If all that is in our hearts is to expose false teaching without a desire to see that person walk in truth, we are wrong. When Paul said he turned someone over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh, he followed that up with that their soul might be saved in the end. Paul wasn’t turning them over for permanent destruction; he wanted them to repent and get right.
Grace truly is amazing. The grace of God has been long extended to me as I have grown in my walk with the Lord; who am I to judge another man for an understanding that is slightly off when I, too, believed the same way at one point? I have peace with God through Jesus Christ; I should walk in accord with my brother through Jesus Christ.
I have been praying these last several days that the Lord would continue to soften my heart and that instead of being driven to expose false teaching, my heart’s desire would be to see false teachers become true teachers. I have also prayed that my understanding of what is false would also be biblical and not driven by personal feelings. I heard someone say that a particular minister used to preach the gospel, but now he’s a complete false teacher and that no one should listen to him. If the man truly believes the guy preached the gospel, that means he is a brother, and we are supposed to help an erring brother, not beat them down. May we all have a heart like Jesus and desire that all men repent and come to the knowledge of the truth.