Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fight for the Truth of the Gospel of Grace

In the last post, we learned that the fight of faith is a rest, one in which we rest from our efforts to please God.

Now, there is a fight, in that we in the Body of Christ stand for the truth, the faith, which speaks of Christ's death on the Cross and the full measure of justification which we receive from Christ Jesus:

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1: 3)

What is "the faith" about? Speaking out so that I get a car or other material demands?

No: it's about the grace of God:

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2: 5-9)

Paul explained full what the Gospel is all about:

"38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 38-39)


This Gospel produces divisions, as it did the  moment that Paul announced it:

"42And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming." (Acts 13: 42-45)
The fight was on from the moment Paul preached the truth of the Gospel.
Jesus of course faced the same headaches from Pharisees, who embraced the law and rejected grace:
1At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day." (Matthew 12: 1-8)
"15The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him." (Luke 13: 15-17)
The four Parables of the Grace of God in Luke 15 and 16 also offended religious people. If they have read over the Old Testament, they would see how gracious indeed God was to His people. In the New Testament, this grace of God is fully manifest in His Son.
Paul the Apostle called to preach the Grace of God had to fight against legalists, Pharisees, and Judaizers, and was unsparing in his hatred of their perverting the Gospel:
"6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-7)
Paul openly rebuked Peter for going back under in a matter as seemingly benign as separating himself from the Gentile Christians:
"11But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2: 11-14)
Who can forget this statement from Paul:
"11And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12I would they were even cut off which trouble you. (Galatians 5: 11-12)
So, indeed we do fight, but not against sin or the devil or even the world, since they have been judged and condemned already (John 16: 8-11). If there is any fight, it is to stand for the truth of the Gospel of Grace.

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