That’s the question that comes out of my mouth when reading about believers who definitely adhere to the letter of the law found in scripture but fall far short when it comes to living God’s love.
Pastor G and I are currently reading a book put together in haste after 9/11 which was intended to comfort and encourage a hurting nation. With few exceptions, the short essays are detached. Yes, biblical, but they lack that love connection. Believers need to know that God is more than sovereign, that He cares about us in ways that perhaps we can’t comprehend but can surely experience. Yes, He is worthy to be praised, but we need to recognize just how up close and personal He truly is. If that is outside your comfort zone, knowing how relational God is, you are missing a lot about God.
Love builds up and does not tear down. Love builds a bridge between hurting people and God. Have you ever thought about the fact that repentance can be part of that bridge? Only God can change who and how we are. Oh, yes, we have a certain limited ability and even will power to make changes in our lives, but God’s power and love truly can make those changes spiritually productive and impactful.
Perhaps one of the most striking examples of change is found in the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery. (I always wondered about this set up scenario and how little the men valued the woman and her life, for under the law, she would be stoned to death. Where was the man who committed adultery?). We see Jesus quietly writing in the sand after the woman has been accused by the men present in an attempt to trip Him up. Scripture doesn’t say what He wrote, but it was enough to drive the accusers away from the scene until finally only Christ and the woman were left. Jesus clearly teaches by example that love, and He is love, does not condemn while at the same time, it does not condone sin. Jesus acted as a bridge to a spiritually changed life. In essence, He forgave the woman while admonishing her to change the way she lived so that she didn’t commit adultery any more. He lived Luke 4:18-19 and set this spiritually captive woman free. Hallelujah!
Spiritual family, let’s live God’s love so that it makes a real spiritual difference in others’ lives. We are not to be church police, condemning our spiritual family members when we see their lives are not being lived within Godly parameters. Those that rebuke and shame act in spiritual pride and vanity and not love. That’s not a right example nor is it productive. Let’s follow the lead of God the Holy Spirit to know what to say and do and when to say and do it. Let’s take to heart Paul’s statement in Romans:
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
I feel like saying to you all: “Go forth and condemn no more. Live God’s love.”
Copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved.