Romans 14:1-5
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Judgement on Disputable Matters

If we were all to gather around and talk our theology hopefully we would be in agreement concerning the basic tenants of our faith such as Jesus being the Son of God, His blood being the atonement for our sins, that we are saved through faith and not of works, the virgin birth and other foundational truths that define Christianity. Hopefully, what we do not do is what Paul and others warned us about and that is adding or taking away from the gospel. Many times men, doctrines and denominations want to put their addendum that it is not just by faith that we are saved. The Galatians had been deceived into thinking that it was Christ and the works of the Law that saved them, but Paul clarifies this all through the book of Galatians. In Galatians 2:16 it says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The Law is all about our doing and doing is never enough, therefore we find ourselves standing in condemnation because we can’t live up to the Law or we become judgmental and condescending because we think we are keeping it so much better than others around us. Christ came and died to deliver us out of the mentality and the separation from God that it brought. In Galatians 2:20 Paul puts our faith into perspective as to where our lives should be if we are a Spirit-led people. “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.” It is no longer about what I am or what I believe; it is about being the expression of the Christ that indwells me. “I” should no longer live, only Christ in me. The summary of our past, present and future in Christ is summed up in Ephesians 2: 1-10. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Now if we agree on these basic tenants of our faith, then what is all of Romans 14 about? It is about all of little disputes about what we see, understand, are persuaded and comprehend the Word of God to say. I have found in myself, that over my lifetime many of my opinions and perceptions have changed and are still changing. We all walk in the light of what we know, see and understand, but 1 Corinthians 13: 12 says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The truth is, no matter how much we know, we all still just know in part, because we are limited through our natural mind and understanding. I read an illustration recently that helped me see this more clearly. If I held up a nickel between us and we were asked what was on the nickel, I would say an impression of Thomas Jefferson and you would disagree and say no, it is an impression of Monticello. The truth is that we would both be right depending on our perspective, paradigm and way of seeing it. Religious men, including us, have often been guilty of taking a particular truth and making a dogma out of it. The truths of God are like spokes in a wheel; they can only keep the wheel in round if they are balanced by all other truth. If I take any truth to an extreme it becomes out of balance. The truth is I need both Thomas Jefferson and Monticello to make that nickel work.
Let’s not get distracted by the minor points of truth that we loose sight of the bigger picture here. We are not in fellowship with one another to bicker over our differences, but to edify one another in who we are in Christ. Let us lay our petty differences aside and let us allow one another the freedom to walk in the light of what we know realizing that we are all growing in the light and knowledge of Him. God is our judge, not man, before Him alone do we stand or fall. The Lord told me once concerning trying to correct how someone else believes. Don’t argue and debate them. Speak the truth in love and the truth will set them free.

Blessings,
#kent

Pride and Humility

March 31, 2014

Pride and Humility

Zephaniah 3:11-13
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Pride is the arrogance of man usurping the place of God. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.” What is the place of God in our lives? Isn’t it to be in every pattern of thinking, demonstrated in our motives and revealed in our actions? Every place in our lives that we rob and exclude from God becomes a place of pride. Pride is our self -exaltation over the will and mind of God. Sometimes we have taken pride to the other extreme of being self-abasing. Declaring how worthless and evil we are and how we don’t deserve God for He could never love someone like me. We have declared God a liar because we have taken upon ourselves such condemnation that we refuse the goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.
Humility and meekness, the counter parts of pride, simply places our heavenly Father in the place of Lordship in all areas of our lives. If we are gifted or blessed above others in areas it is a place where God is to be exalted, not us. I think of Jesus and the potential power He had resident within Him. How destructive He could have been if He had ever let pride have place in His life. In His meekness, He was strength under control and in submission to His Father. He never had to exalt Himself for the Father affirmed and exalted Him. In His greatness He became lowly and showed himself to be the servant of men. He was not lofty and condescending even to sinners, but gently got underneath them and lifted them up in His love and truth.
The “afflicted and poor people” referred to in this scripture from Zephaniah carries the connotation that these were people who constantly saw their need and weakness outside of the Lord. They were people not so much outwardly poor and afflicted, but it spoke more of the condition of their hearts, much like Jesus addressed in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. It is an attitude that the Lord you are everything: every provision, every strength, every direction and purpose, every ability I have or can have is found in You. Without you Lord I am poor and afflicted in my own state of being.
Pride will always turn away the face of God, but humility and meekness are an open invitation to His presence. It is the condition of our heart that allows Him to be God in us and to be all that we need to be in Him. It allows Him to have His expression of love and grace through us, because we are not in the way to mire it up. This is the state of the God’s true flock and the sheep of His pasture. They know the Shepherd and are totally reliant upon Him. Thus He cares for them and makes them to lie down in His green pastures of rest. Their confidence is in their God and in Him alone.

Blessings,
#kent

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