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.
The Righteousness of God Through Faith
“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith, for a demonstration of His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26 for the demonstration of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26 LSB).
Results of Justification by Faith
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11 And not only this, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11 LSB).
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 LSB “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me.9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions and hardships, for the sake of Christ, 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.