I’ve lately been thinking of and praying for a couple friends who deal with several addictions, in similar though not identical areas.
The one bro. is truly a friend, the other decided some time ago to be an enemy
due to his own guilt.
The first guy is often condemned within himself, the second happens to live as
though his sins (Bible definition, not mine nor any church’s) are non-issues. He continues to play the game among various Christians who don’t recognize his issues… or do and just will not confront him in love.
The first bro. is off-and-on with solid Christian fellowship, the second simply gets what he can (money, acclaim, etc.) from churches and ministries and keeps moving so accountability and healing can never really happen in his life.
The first is single, the second divorced and has trashed several other marriages since helping bring an end to his first.
The one guy can’t hardly believe Jesus’ love and death happened for HIM, not just for others. The second likely figures God’s grace covers his sin though genuine repentance seems a rare experience in his life.
As neither I nor anyone reading this has a copy of the Lamb’s Book of Life on our hard drives or digital devices, only God knows who is and is not truly part of His family.
What I’m convinced of is this:
Justification (from a Biblical view) isn’t about sinless, perfect living. By God’s grace and the work of the Spirit via God’s Word I pray the first bro. can realize justification means “just as if you never sinned”- and it’s only via Jesus and not our good works nor “earning by good behavior” anyone is truly justified. I and others have repeatedly tried to help him grasp this.
The second bro. needs to realize that personal, practical, lived-out holiness is not merely an option in God’s eyes- though it is equally true that God views those with saving faith in Christ as holy. Yet- one cannot habitually live in unrepentant sin and figure because they prayed a prayer of salvation some years prior that obedience to the Lord and application of His Word is unnecessary to have right relationship with God. Again, myself and others have confronted him to no apparent end as of yet.
I continue to pray the second bro. will not only intellectually trust in God’s grace but actually walk in it by surrendering to God’s clear will re. the ongoing issues in his life.
As I say, several good-hearted, mature Christians around the world have brought both of these messages to both of these guys. The first one still struggles with God’s love, the second with God’s commands.
As in many things, this is not a matter of the one thing canceling out the other, rather a “both-and” balance. For example, Paul writes the church “Let love make you serve one another”. Love in action, not merely as a concept or feeling.
Love relationships in Christ must be lived out, but we can never earn God’s love by our works.
Perhaps you have friends on both ends of the spectrum? Perhaps you’ve been on either or both ends?
Things to consider on the journey.
Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn