My thoughts have been captive the last few days over the reply that I received from a dear friend and brother regarding my original post about McLaren’s new book. Not only those things which I replied to in my posting yesterday, but the P.S. statement that was made at the end of the comment;
“Let's all manifest some more of that blood-bought grace, even to those we don't understand and don't agree with.”
Tolerance, that often misused and misunderstood word, is something that I’ve myself have struggled with as I stand for what I believe in, face ridicule and scorn for such beliefs, and when I speak out about the false doctrines and religions and morals, that I don’t receive. Tolerance is the endurance of the presence or actions of objectionable persons, or of the expression of offensive opinions.
And yet, it is Christians who face the most intolerance, or the inability or desire to endure the presence of an objectionable person or opinion. It is not the evangelicals that are facing comments of “They can burn our house down,” etc. which the emergent church declares is the feeling behind the objections of their movement.
I am intolerant, of not being able to speak my beliefs.
On any subject.
That is the constitutional right of any American, whether you have been born here or came from another land. It is your right, under the flag of the US and the Constitution that allegedly governs it. It is how the country was founded and created. It is the call of every Christian, given through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I speak, not to hear my own words or to gain some kind of notarity as a ‘fanatic’. I don’t speak to enable someone to ‘annoint’ me with the office of Pastor, teacher, or prophet. I speak what my heart says is the words of the Father, and I speak them without (as much as is humanly possible) embellishment.
During my devotional today, I felt led to spend time in Romans, specifically Romans 10. This is what I read.
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they do not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the Law: ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’ But the righteousness that is by faith says: ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the deep? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile ---the same Lord is Lord of All and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:1-13 (NIV)
Christians are no longer under the Law and its fulfillment, because Christ perfectly brought every part of it to completion, obeying its demands and fulfilling its requirements. A blood debt, owed by each of us, whether Jew or Gentile, free or slave, rich or poor, was not purchased for us, but paid for us. It is freely available for us, if only we believe in faith that it is so.
Righteousness is not gain by mystical means, by contemplative prayer, or by even believing in such prophecies as ‘end times’ or the interpretation of Revelations. Whether you are pre-Trib, mid-Trib, post-Trib or believe the Tribulation happened already, that doesn’t free you from Sin’s debt. You have been freed; you just have to believe that the debt has been paid.
Salvation involves a inward belief (the heart) and outward confession (the mouth), It is by those things that you know that you have realized the gift given. That is the Christian’s generic purpose: to confess Jesus to those we meet, saved and unsaved.
“Those who oppose him (the Lord’s servant) he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NIV)
Jesus didn't have to 'be right' or prove the Pharisees wrong. He gave instruction to correct them so that the work of His Father could begin within their hearts to escape through the confession of their lips. To help them realize their errors so that they could be FREE!
And so, every Christian has the battle cry;
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion ---to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” Isaiah 61:1-4 (NIV)
That is the purpose of each and every believer in the body of Christ. And, still, it is not by our fulfillment of this call to arms, this cry as we face the enemy and his minions that still more will be saved. We are but a broken and sinful people.
It is God in which the power remains and keeps us, not men.
“May God Himself, the God of Peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV)
Anything that glorifies man, that is done by man, prevents God from doing what He would do for each of us. We can discover that in the history of Adam and the Fall. We discover that in the story of the Tower of Babel. We discover that in the story of the Passion of the Christ.
When we stop looking to justify our salvation, we become warriors for the King. We become those who stand in the world and are identifiable as not part of the world.
We endure great trials, tribulations, and persecutions and LIVE.
That is the grace I’ve given and the grace I give, not through my own strength, but through the strength that is God, perfected in my weakness.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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