I have been agonizing over a matter that I just cannot get my mind fully around. I believe every single believer seems to have a slightly different take on this matter, and I have found numerous resources that conflict with each other on the matter. Even though each is using the scripture in their argument.
Carnal Christianity vs. Surrendered Christianity. Is Jesus just your savior or is He becoming your LORD? I believe we are saved in an instant, but we are transformed in His likeness over the rest of our lives as we make the choice to surrender to Him.
God has been talking to me about it everywhere I turn partly because I have been asking Him about it. I have been struggling with the body of Christ looking like the world to such a degree that the world doesn't want to be part of Christ. I struggle with the misrepresentation of Christ to the world. It breaks my heart that the version of Christ that is being represented is so distorted that it is giving the world every excuse to reject Him. I do not think it is done intentionally to keep others from Christ. I believe it is done for lack of knowledge of the truth. But my heart breaks at the idea of my life being the reason another would turn from Christ. My heart aches to think that my misrepresentation of Christ could cause someone to say "if that is what it is all about, I want nothing to do with Jesus." This weighs heavy on me. Does it you too?
If we are the body, we need to love each other. (That includes the carnal Christian)
If we are part of Christ, we need to be concerned for the eternal destination of the lost.
We each are in ourselves, capable of doing all manner of sin. We have each been plagued with a disease at birth that is keeping us all captive, it is called sin. If you can imagine the WORST sin man has ever committed according to man, it is only by the grace of God we do not each find ourselves in the middle of that very sin. We need to see that apart from God, we are all capable of all manner of sin. We can stay in that condition, but Jesus died on the cross to break the power of that disease in our lives. He is the cure for our sinful state. We can enter into that cure by receiving Him as our Savior first and then by surrendering to His will for our lives on a daily basis. That is what we call making Him our LORD!! He is the Master and we are His servants.
So here is where the full agony lies for me. As a world full of lost and hopeless people look upon the body of Christ to see "where is the Hope", are we demonstrating our freedom from sin by our surrender to obey Him, or are we squashing the hope for others by our Profession to be His yet living like the world? (which puts us right back in bondage to sin)
You see according to scripture, we purify ourselves by obeying the truth. The truth is the word of God.
Ephesians 4:14-16 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
1 Peter 1:22-23 & 2:2 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
2:2 so that by it you may grow up in your salvation
What I believe the world is observing is a large number of baby Christians. Let's not beat each other up. Yes, the Pharisee in me wants to scream at these babies in Christ, but there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus. So if you are with me as a recovering Pharisee, would you join me in praying for the babies to grow up into their salvation. Pray that they will develop a burden in their hearts for their part in discrediting the gospel message, but not so they will feel beat up or condemned, but instead they will be moved to repentance. Pray with me that they will begin to obey the word in order to purify themselves. Pray with me today that each one of us would live a life that honors God and draws many to Christ by our witness. (The way we live)
In addition, to all recovering Pharisees, let’s love fervently and passionately with a PURE heart. The biggest problem with the Pharisee is there is typically pride, lack of humility and compassion. According to scripture, God draws near to the humble and resist the proud. Also pride goes before a fall. So remember your sin, thank God for your deliverance and fall to your knees on behalf of the babes in Christ. Cover them in prayer and love. Walk beside them and lead them in the way they should go!!!!
Babies need to grow up and Pharisees need to repent of pride.
Be blessed today!