If only we would painstakingly study the Word(with the help of The Holy Spirit), we would not easily&ignorantly throw out the “baby” with the bath water.
Sometimes, we are too quick writing off fellow believers and ministers. When I got converted from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ, it was a bit tough integrating into the Body of Christ partly because of my religious background. I came in with a perfectionist mindset, thinking there will be no problem at all. But sooner or later I discovered there were issues.
In the midst of my dilemma, the Lord Jesus came to my aid.
He took me through Revelation chapters 2 and 3. In these passages, I saw that almost all the churches had issues, yet the Lord introduced himself as one holding the seven stars in his right hand, and as one walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks (churches)…
…So those that did well and those with rebukes from the Lord were held on the same right hand. Why? Grace(Jehovah’s Word backed with The Holy Spirit). The door of grace was not yet closed to the erring ones. They still had opportunity to make amends. They were still the beloved of the Lord. How do I know? The Lord said those whom he loves he rebukes and chastises. So the Lord still loved the erring ones.
His rebukes were not signs of rejection but pointers to his love. If we are going to make progress in the faith, we have to be a cohesive force(“voltron”) in the body of Christ and not a divisive force; we must learn to love all of God’s people, and desist from name callings and casting stones on our own, particularly those we don’t seem to understand their theologies.
Peter was humble enough to admit that in Paul’s writings, there were things too difficult to understand. God raised Paul to expound the Gospel to the Body of Christ. That required a 360 degree shift from Judaism, which Peter found difficult to do even after Pentecost. But as he humbled himself, and studied the Pauline Epistles, his understanding of the gospel grew, such that in his second Epistle, i.e 2nd Peter, Peter could admonish us to grow in grace.
Interestingly, Paul rebuked Peter in Galatians 2, when he erred, but he did not label him a heretic or false teacher. Some years ago, the Lord asked me, “Can you be a detergent that brings cleansing without attacking the fabric?” In other words, can God use you to bring correction and cleansing to the Body of Christ without you attacking the Body?
The Lord is desperately in need of such vessels. May YOU be one of them.
~ Timothy Azowenunebi
“GRACE” then simply means, “THE WORD OF GOD BACKED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT”.
*The Word + Holy Spirit = “Spiritually alive” souls.*