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

In Pursuit of Peace

December 2, 2013

In Pursuit of Peace

Romans 8:6
For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

What is the commodity, the attribute and the treasure that one most desires in the world? Some might say wealth, or fame, or power, or beauty, but what is anything if you don’t have peace and the joy it brings to even enjoy anything else. We only need to look as far as Hollywood and the sports world to see examples of people who, outwardly seem to have everything. They have the wealth, the influence and affluence, the beauty and the looks and yet, we set and watch their tragic lives unfold. How can you have so much and be so miserable? It is because you are missing the most important ingredient, PEACE. What is peace? Isn’t it the state of tranquility, exemption from havoc, war, trouble and the threat to our security? Isn’t it harmony, serenity, security, concord, safety, lack of fear, contentment, felicity and prosperity? If we possess real peace, then we are the most fulfilled people in the world.
What brings us this peace and how do we possess it? Well, we know it is not in the world; even Jesus says, “in the world you will have tribulation.” How can we know and possess peace in the midst of tribulation? Let’s look a few examples and insights the Word gives us in this regard. John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Again, in John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus gives us the keys; peace is not found in the world, but only in Him. He is the King of Salem, the Prince of Peace and our peace is found in His kingdom that resides within us who have embraced it by faith. Like the world at large our personal worlds are rocked by calamities, conflicts, turmoil and unrest, so how can we possess peace in the midst of all these contradictory elements that are touching our lives. It is called rest. We are rested in the loving arms of the Savior, the Holy Spirit is the atmosphere of peace that covers us and we know that He has our life in His hands. We acknowledge Him in all our ways and we seek His direction for our paths, but beyond what we can physically do in the harmony and peace of His Spirit is, we must learn to rest. That rest is not dependent upon our understanding or approval, it is dependent upon our faith to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Romans 5:1-2 tells us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This why the good news of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of Peace, because Jesus Christ and relationship with Him is the Peace that inwardly we are all desiring and seeking. It is a quality of the Kingdom of God, for Romans 14:17 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Why don’t more Christians have peace? Isn’t it because we get our eyes and our hearts focused on the outward things? We begin to view our peace as the world does, in the things that we possess and the circumstances that surround us, but real peace doesn’t have anything to do with the outward things; it is fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. It is not even about the natural preservation of our life, it is only about being in the center of His will and purpose, because in that place we know there is a peace that the world cannot understand or grasp. Everything else is secondary and flows out of the peace that we bear as we abide in the Vine.
Do you have peace with yourself today, peace with God and toward others? If not, then we need to find entrance into the peace that is ours in Christ Jesus. What is standing in your way? What is robbing your peace? It is not in running away or getting rid of all your problems; it is finding the peace of Christ in the midst of tribulation and trials. Remember God is always in control even when we aren’t. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:33)”

Blessings,
kent

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