Can you frustrate grace? Apostle Paul said you could. I love his forthright writing. (That’s almost a tongue twister!) But he enforces grace as hard as he enforced the law. And yet as the modern day church, 2000 plus years this side of grace we are continually trying to rebuild works.
Galatians 2:18-21~ For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
A little background on these verses. Just prior to then Paul and Peter had had words. Paul felt compelled to line Peter out regarding his separating himself from the gentiles so as not to offend the Christian Jews who believed to be saved you still needed to follow the ceremonial laws. I fear we have a few laws of our own. The Bible says “Come out from among them” (II Corinthians 6:17) and too often I hear that verse being used as church separation rather than as the way it was intended as a sin separator. The entire verse reads “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
Before you stop reading for fear I’ve gone over to the all-inclusive side of a one world religion let me clarify that I’m not talking any other faith other than those who have our born of a virgin Savior, Jesus Christ, crucified for the redemption of fallen man, risen the third day and awaiting our return in glory LORD. Now that that’s settled let me continue. We’re still separating ourselves and that ought not to be. I believe in the Baptist doctrine for which I make no apologies, but I have friends of various other denominations. I take each one of my friends as individual saints of God and do not lump them into their denominations, as I hope they do the same for me. Because in truth there are some Baptists I’d rather not be lumped in with. I speak not on any specific denomination this morning because when Paul wrote this there was none, although you can see its beginning.
Why would we want to rebuild what was destroyed?
The ceremonial law. Six hundred and thirteen commandments? I can’t even keep ten. And although I really don’t believe we’re rebuilding Jewish law in the Christian faith I see ideas of man intermingled with grace that to the unsaved, they have to wonder “How much work is involved in Christianity?” The church (as a whole) spends so much time explaining why someone else is wrong that they forget to say why Jesus is right. Peter was so concerned with what the “religious” thought that he hurt the gentile believers, and it’s still true today. We’re still hurting each other. There’s enough false religions out there that we have no need or time to tear down the ministry of another church because we don’t believe as they believe.
It’s really not about what we do, it’s about how we live. What goes on in our churches is seldom seen by the lost because we don’t live the example outside the walls of the sanctuary.
We were created to worship God. When’s the last time you worshiped at work or school. (Don’t try to feed me separation, you can do it if you want to, even if it’s subtle.)
We were told to study the Word. In the words of an old friend, the Word of God is a spiritual “warsh” cloth, it’ll clean you inside and out. When’s the last time you’ve really bathed in the Word.
We’re called to be a witness; to tell others about Christ, not to tell others what others are doing wrong. Jesus said, “I am the way.” He did not say how you dress is the way, how you speak is the way, or how you sing is the way which in many ways we are using to define salvation.
This thought has been on my heart a lot lately. Care to weigh in?