by Barry Newton
Scandalous almost seems too timid of a description if you have been a victim. That any person, even those possessing a pre-meditated, calloused, self-centered intent to maliciously destroy others, can be transformed in one moment into a pure, forgiven, and holy new creature does not seem fair if you lie in their wake of destruction.
The problem with such a perspective is, of course, our own human, self-centered, and limited perspective. The larger picture encompasses the innocent Christ atoning for our sins on a blood-stained cross. His death for us has enabled God to remain righteous in releasing even the most wicked among us from our guilt. This is grace pure and simple. None of us deserve it. All of us need it.
While grace appeared and is available to anyone in spite of whatever we might have believed or done, grace can disappear. To those who had been redeemed, Paul warned them that what they believed and practiced could cause them to lose this marvelous gift of grace. If they were to alter the gospel to include the need to depend upon observing the Law for justification, Paul exclaimed such distortion to the message would expunge them from grace./1 What a Christian believes and practices does matter.
To those who had been made holy and tasted the goodness of God’s grace but then failed to persist in serving Christ, the wrath of God would await them because of their contempt for the blood of Christ, which had redeemed them./2 What a Christian believes and practices does matter.
To those whom the Master had forgiven but they in turn refuse to forgive another, they will not be forgiven./3 What a Christian believes and practices does matter.
To those whom Jesus recognized as being members of his church, yet their love had grown cold and their Christian service had dried up, Jesus warned he would spew them out of his mouth and remove them from being his church./4 What a Christian believes and practices does matter.
To those teachers who build upon the foundation of Christ with doctrines and opinions which destroy God’s people, not only do those congregation’s fall from grace since they are destroyed, but God will also destroy those techers./5 What a Christian believes and practices does matter.
How tragic if the world’s greatest gift were to be lost.
1/ Galatians 1:6-9;5:4
2/ Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:29-31; Colossians 1:21-23
3/ Matthew 18:32-35
4/ Revelation 2:4,5;3:1-3,15,16
5/ 1 Corinthians 3:10-17
by Barry Newton