Friday, December 6, 2013

Peace, Peace

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect. -1 Peter 3:15

I must apologize.

I do not apologize for the faith that I have in God's saving grace. How could I when it is grace alone, and not any good thing that I have done or possess, that has opened heaven's door to me.

Nonetheless I must apologize.

R.C. Sproul, in this TableTalk article, has smitten me in kindness and gently reproved me:

In my zeal for the doctrines of grace and the joyful freedom they impart, I have been overzealous.

Impatient as well. Not so much with those who don't "get it," as with those who apparently "don't want it."

Our selective memories let us forget our own shortcomings very quickly. Not too very many years ago, I was one of the ones I am impatient with now.

At that time, Billy McGarity's preaching and more than that, our conversations, had me searching for the scriptures I knew full well would refute the hateful doctrines of Calvinism.

Imagine my chagrin when I began to discover that my pet verses, when viewed in light of the whole scriptural counsel of God, proved the very things I wanted to disprove.

Human nature, it seems, resists the notion of human inability.

Yet how can we be truly free in Christ until we understand our utter inability to desire God unless he graciously intervenes to change our desires? I long for all my brothers and sisters to revel in this freedom.

And the truth is; drops of grief can ne'er repay, God's justice can never be satisfied, heaven can not be earned, by anything we could possibly ever do.

Any teaching that places any eternal value on my ability to appease God by praying a prayer, walking an aisle or making a public vow will lead to a false sense of security ( I did this when I was eight, so I'm OK). To teach that any of this gives one a right standing before the Righteous God is to cry, "Peace, peace (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11) when there is no peace."

So I must continue to witness; to the lost, yes of course, but also to my brothers and sisters who spread the false impression that God requires anything less than our all, our everything. And to remind them that even our faith, and the good works that flow from it, is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The fault, you see, lies not in the message, but in the messenger's presentation.

For this I beg your pardon while inviting you to begin to consider these things, even as the Bereans did (Acts 17:10-11).

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