- The Churches Of Christ Salute You
- Never Build A Church On Issues
- Can We Disagree And Still Be Saved By Grace? (Part One) “The Survey”
- Can We Disagree And Still Be Saved By Grace? (Part Two) “The Challenge”
- The Stogie And Division
In Part One, we presented “The Survey”, and the reason for this is to show that brethren quite naturally disagree on things. (I disagree with myself sometimes.) In my studies, I have come to the opinion, that not all ‘disagreements’ or ‘differences’ demand that we ‘draw our spiritual swords and comince to do battle’ leaving behind a ‘spiritual killing field’.
Yes, in the powerful letter of Jude, the langauage there is to “contend” for the faith… which brings to my mind the picture of a soldier engaged in battle. There wer and are still those who are bent on destroying the church by false teaching and dividing the body of Christ.
In the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Michael Green, who wrote the Commentary on 2nd Peter and Jude points out that these two letters are similar in some ways. There was a danger of false teachers…. dangerous false teachers, that evidently used to be Christians, yet had fallen away and were trying to get others to follow after them. It was time to ‘arm’ for ‘battle’… to contend earnestly for the faith.
Read what Peter says, 2 Peter 2…..
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4 ¶For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless
8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. ¶Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;
11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord.
12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.
13 ¶They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!
15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.
16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 ¶These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
Now let’s compare Peter with Jude……
Jude says…. “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, ¶To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
2 ¶Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
3 ¶Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5 ¶Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
8 ¶In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.
9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.
11 ¶Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
12 ¶These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.
13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
14 ¶Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
17 ¶But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”
19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20 ¶But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
22 ¶Be merciful to those who doubt;
23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
Brethren, consider the ‘challenge for us all’… to know who to ‘draw the sword (Word of God) against and do ‘spiritual battle’ and those who are trying to grow in Christ, who may differ on some things that are not, (for lack of better terms), ‘core issues’ or ‘essentials’ to Christianity and salvation…
Brethren, the push for ‘uniformity’ will not result in ‘unity’. We must grow in our understanding of God’s Grace, and how it is applied in areas of differences. Must we divide over every difference of opinion on scriptures? Surely this is not the case.
The ‘challenge for us all’, is to like Peter and Jude to know the difference between “… those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.. (2 Peter 1:1), “… those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1)… and… Those who, “… mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:18-22).
There is a difference in these people, and a difference in how Christians should deal with those who have turned their backs on Jesus, like the “dog” or the “pig” mentioned by Peter, AND, a brother or sister in Christ who differs, or questions some things, and wants answers… These are brethren, who may need help, encouragement and time to grow, (Romans 14), and perhaps some correction by a spiritually mature Christian…As Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1)