Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

I have had this post titled and in my drafts for quite some time now, just waiting for the right inspiration to bring the words in my heart to life.  And there is nothing like Paul's words in Romans to do that!

 

He was facing the age-old issue of some in the body of Christ who elevated certain standards of holy living to a higher place than what God intended - in this case: circumcision.  To be sure, there was reason for holding this conviction, because God had commanded them to do so.

 

The church faced a similar situation among Pentecostals, as they held strictly to a list of rules for their believers.  And while the rules, in their day and culture, had foundation, they were elevated to a standard of holiness - something God never intended.

 

There is danger in placing too much faith in our personal convictions to garner favor with God.  God's accepts us based on the blood of His Son, not by what we do or don't do.  Therefore, because we love Him, we ought to maintain a high standard of living, and live our lives as separated from the world as possible.  Not in an effort to earn God's favor, but out of love and honor for Him.

 

Yet, there is danger in throwing off restraint, or living in what many now consider "freedom".  We saw this in the Charismatic movement, that followed the Pentecostal revival.  While God never intended for us to elevate conviction to a standard for holiness, He also never intended for us to abandon conviction for a standard of freedom.  Both extremes are not pleasing to God.

 

So where's the balance?

 

The balance is understanding that when we live holy for right reasons we have a greater ability to grace those who fail because we no longer measure their failure based on God's favor or disfavor, but we understand that everyone is at a different level in grace.

 

Some have come farther than others.  Some are still immature and taking baby steps, while others have matured greater and God is dealing with them on issues of character and not on sin that is readily seen by men.  

 

This ability to grace one another helps the church to function greater as a unified body and is what testifies to the world of God's love and grace for them!  

 

When God's people live lives that are obviously separate from the world, by rejecting those things that are offensive to Almighty God, and yet have a great capacity to love and grace each other - not overlooking sin, but dealing with each other in God's love and grace - the world will see a church that is both full of great conviction and love for people.  Something that is very irresistible!  

 

 

Linkiing up at Women in the Word Wednesday at Good Morning Girls

 

 

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