I have recently found myself on a side of the fence that I never thought I’d actually be on. When I say “on a side of a fence” I am typically talking about when the fence is the dividing line and I feel I am put into a position to take a side.
The thing is, God’s word has been convicting me again in my walk. I thought I already knew what my convictions were, but it’s amazing how our understanding of God’s word can grow and mature over time. When the world changes, and we are forced to ask ourself (and God) some tough questions, then our understanding of grace, sin, and the blood of Jesus simply grows.
There is a reason why Jesus spoke in parables, it was so that the people who “think they are wise” aren’t able to boast.
Have you ever gotten to a point where you truly had to ask yourself if God is able to forgive everything? I mean, if He can’t forgive everything then what doesn’t He forgive?
I love the scripture (Mathew 12:31) where it says that God can forgive any sin, even blasphemy against Jesus, but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, that is the unforgivable sin.
We all read this scripture and tremble in fear because we wonder “Have I blasphemed against the Holy Spirit?” or “What is Blasphemy anyways?!?”
Anyone who is a follower of Christ is often faced with the burden of these questions because we are often faced with sin, of those we love and our own sin.
We are afraid because we can’t justify the grace God has given us, but then witness the injustice someone receives because their sin is a bit different, yet not very much tolerated as maybe our sin.
But then we enter God’s word and we realize that while the Bible is very clear on what sin is, it is even more clear that we are all sinners, it does not say that one sin is worse than another, except for the unforgivable sin.There are two different kinds of sin, the forgivable sins, and the one unforgivable sin, that’s it.
So while we might ask ourselves how we are to respond to this sinful world, or maybe even a little more personal, our own sin or the sins of our loved ones:
I think the best response to all of that is to pray and read our Bible.
We are definitely in a season of getting the plank out of our own eye before we can see well enough to get the speck out of our brother’s eye. It’s difficult to truly understand someone who justifies doing it the other way around.In this season we have to examine our heart.
To be completely honest it has been difficult for me to justify my old thoughts, and yet I am afraid to accept my new heart towards people. I am also unlearning some things.
When we are bombarded with opinions, and not God’s word, then sometimes along the way we need to start discerning Biblical facts from opinion.
I remember visiting a church while they were getting ready to start a series on the book of romans. The pastor said that Romans was actually a letter written with the intent to be read to a group of people in one sitting without taking breaks. I’ve always struggled with understanding Romans, and I truly think it’s because I’ve always tried to read it in bits and pieces.
But the other night I sat down and read the entire book of Romans from start to finish without stopping. It was completely eye opening. I still need to read it again, and again, in order to gain even more understanding. But I will say it was convicting to my heart, and it made me examine my heart.
One thing that stuck out to me was that faith was a choice.
It was something we needed to choose over doubt.
It gave me the confidence that even though I might be wrong on how I handle certain situations, or even specific sins, that I need to have faith that won’t take God’s love for me away, and nor will it take away my salvation.
I have a problem with people who tell me I need to be 100% right all the time when it comes to being a Christian, and when it comes to walking out this journey with Christ. I get their reasoning behind it, but honestly I feel they are slipping into a lifestyle of religion, not grace.It makes me doubt my salvation and God because I wonder why He won’t make me 100% perfect all the time.
I blame God, but that’s not fair.
This burden people place on us, the burden to be 100% right all the time, isn’t even a standard they themselves can live up to. It is only by faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit that they have been made right and Holy in the eyes of our Lord.
I think people get upset about that double standard; the one where we get offended by someone else’s sin, but we defend our own sin.
But you know what stuck out to me most about the book of Romans? No matter what, we need to trust in God.
This isn’t always easy, especially if we are constantly being bombarded with debates, and what is right or wrong.
I love the story of David.
Did you know that God washed away David’s sins before Jesus was even born? (2 Samuel 12:13)
Did you know that even Jesus mentions how David completely violated the law when he ate food that was an offering to God? (Matthew 12:3-4)
I’m not saying we should violate God’s grace in order to sin. But what I am saying is this, we shouldn’t violate God’s grace in order to make ourselves seem better than the sinner sitting next to us. That’s not grace, that’s pride.
God’s story hasn’t changed. There has always been grace before Jesus, during Jesus, and after Jesus. God has always been gracious, and the more we get to know Him the more we will realize His promises, and we will worship Him.
We all need Jesus. We all need grace. We are all a work in progress.
I guess choosing a side really isn’t a burden I need to carry anymore.
I am also learning that I don’t need to fight against people, the only thing I can control is where my heart, and life, stands in the presence of God.
Truth be told, I am NOT right 100% of the time. I guess if that is a standard people have for me, well then I guess they are going to be disappointed 100% of the time, or just when I don’t meet their standard.
But we don’t have to choose a side because we don’t have to meet anyone’s standard.Our standard is Jesus and His measure is grace!
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No matter what Christmas was for us in the past, it seems like every year it has the opportunity, and the possibility, to be something completely different and brand new. That’s what Jesus brought with Him as He was born into this world; He brought with Him a clean slate, a fresh start, and something brand new to our lives and to our faith.
Today I invite you to come and take this imperfect advent journey with me to discover the beauty of the good and perfect gifts God has given us through His Son Jesus. Let us journey together to discover what those gifts are, how we can receive those gifts, and most importantly the importance of being a good steward of those gifts.