Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Balance Beam of Grace

No video & no pics this time. (The next one will though.)

I'm about to share a thought that has been running through my mind on occasion. It's this whole idea about balance. Because I can tend to be an extreme person at times, this concept of balance is very important to me. I can talk about balance in many different areas, but I'm gonna share with you my feelings about balance when it comes to one area in particular: our attitude toward the local church. There are two extremes that I see. I see one extreme where people take was is handed from the pulpit as though it were the unflawed gospel truth of God's word. There's no checking for correct context & interpretations, no further study...just laziness. The attitude is "Well it sounds right & the guy preaching seems like a good guy so I'll believe everything he says." They've even got a scripture for it. "Obey them that have the rule over you...they must give account for your souls." Under this attitude, pastors can say & do just about anything & get away with it. On the other hand, there's the attitude that studies & studies & studies & finally comes to the realization that the church is very stupid. If only the rest of the church knew what they knew. And like the gnostics of old, their belief is "knowledge is power". If only the church knew more...then maybe they would act differently. They've even got a scripture for it. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." These people would never say that they are frustrated with the local church but they are. They preach & teach out of frustration & pride. And people can feel it. Where's the balance?

I have somewhat of a testimony in this regard. So like I said I'm more of an extreme personality from the start. I've always been a pretty "black or white" kind of guy. Well God started me on a journey a while back to diligently search out His truth. Naturally I started revisiting everything I held to be sacred beliefs. I found out that some of my doctrinal stances where incorrect. I had believed wrongly about the operation of the church & a host of other things. Resentment started to set in because I was thinking "All this time in church & no one ever told me about..." I found myself gravitating toward the foundational truths of the Christian faith. Consequently I ran into teachers like Paul Washer, John Piper and others. I later found out about Reformed Theology. During this time I began taking Torah classes (which I intend to finish). This gave me a new look into the scriptures, opened my eyes to the existence of the sabbath & God's feast days, and sooo much more. My theology was truly being I thought. Funny thing about reformation: when you get new knowledge your heart begins to see the old knowledge as invalid & you begin to despise the old info AND it's source. It's proper to see new knowledge as progressive revelation. Think about Paul. When he got the revelations he received in his day, some of new revelations seemed to be so contrary to the current belief system that Paul had to constantly tie both together so that he could be believed. So anyway, I found myself throwing out a lot of the things I learned & I began to despise the local church & its leadership. I began to question everything because "they" might be wrong. I also became very critical of other ministers because to me anyone could now be a false prophet. I wasn't walking in love. It was a scary time for me but by God's grace I didn't stay there.

God later put it on my heart to read Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince. I read it and it had a huge impact on me. It opened my eyes to this new world of God's amazing grace. At first I was very confused because I felt like I was getting different messages. (Sometimes I was.) But after going back & forth with the scriptures & other materials that God put in my path, I finally saw the balance between what seemed to be two opposing sides. This was also about the time that I went on the church encounter that I blogged about a while back. My eyes were further opened there. I realized that Jesus died for my critical nature. I plunged headlong into grace! I kinda went to the extreme with it but then God gave me the revelation that tied it all together. God's grace is His empowerment to obey His commands. God's grace is His influence upon the human heart & his empowerment in the human life to do what He says. THIS TOTALLY CHANGED MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS OTHERS TOO. I realized that other individuals & even the local church is on a walk with God. God changes our heart towards sin & we act accordingly. "Create in me a clean heart oh God." That's grace. And if God is patient with me then I can surely be patient with the rest of the body. (They're being patient with me too.)

So check this out: my reformed convictions haven't gone anywhere. I'm still "black & white" but I prefer my brother or sister before my own convictions. (Check the scriptures.) I also must confess...I'm growing too. In this process I'm understanding what it means to bear another's burden. I could have said "Forget yall. I'll instruct you from a distance." But that's not the law of Christ. The law of Moses instructs you from a distance. The law of Christ bears the burden with you until the heart is changed. When you love "truth" more than you love people you are walking in error. There's the balance. Love God & love others like you would love yourself. The whole law is summed up in that sentence. So how do you have a balanced attitude towards the local church? Grow in grace with them.

Thanks for reading,

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