Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grace - An Update

In my previos post named "Grace" a man named John Marsh left a serious and lucid comment. He said:

"I have never heard someone teach that a person can struggle with homosexuality and not be saved, but it does not surprise me. Struggle is one thing saying homosexuality is not sin is another. I pray for my lesbian and homosexual acquaintances that they will come to know our savior Jesus Christ."

I echo his sentiment, but let me take this a dangerous step further. Can a man be a practicing homosexual and be saved even if he remains blind to that particular sin? If not, then can a man be saved and a hedonist who saves up sums of money for his recreational travel when he retires even when Jesus Himslef commanded us not to lay up treasures for ourselves upon this earth? Can a man be saved even though he listens to and agrees with carnal radio and television millionaires who denegrate and castigate lost sinners just because they are "liberal". Can a man be saved who places his hand upon his heart and pledges his allegiance to a secular and carnal nation in the church sancuary, and is blind to that idolatry?

The question is does a man have to be both cognizant and free from all forms of sin and not practice something that God disapproves of to be saved? The church, for instance, has steadily diluted the practice of divorce until even the pastor can get divorced and remarry another without stepping down from his pastorate. The church is filled with people who when questioned say that divorce and remarriage is sin and yet with that profession still do it when the time arises. Are they saved? Many of the remarried people are married to someone with whom they started a relationship before their divorce and yet they are members of the local church and sing in the choir. To them we extend grace.

Does God hate sin? Absolutely! Do all of us sin unknowingly and knowingly every day. Absolutely! And some people who remain faithful to their spouses and never commit one of the more serious sins have never been born again. Only God knows the heart, but if there are some sins that cannot be practiced if a person is regenerated then what are they? The phenomenon of professing believers who are gay and continue to be blind to their situation continues to grow. And just like heterosexuals some who profess are not born again.

However, there are now gay people who read God's Word, pray daily, support mission, are active in a local church, and who have given up drugs, alcohol, and multiple partners because their lives have been changed in thos areas. And in some cases, their sexual preferences aside, their lives shine more brightly than many heterosexual pew dweller who show very little spiritual passion and yet are members in goodstanding.

When a sinner comes to Christ and is transformed, does the church place him on a time restraint if he has vast amounts of money gained through exorbitant interest charges at the pawn shop he owns? (25% per month) What if owns a chain of liquor stores, must he liquidate before his salvation is considered authentic? What if someone has had a surgical sex change and gets saved, does he have to have a reversal? And what if these people, after professing Christ, still run the pawn shop, still run his liquor stores, and still feel like they were meant to have that sex change - can anyone of them be saved?

So my contention is this: God's grace is His own and many will eneter the kingdom who perhaps do not have our approval, and some with whom we approve may not enter. I would appreciate your thoughts - thoughtful thoughts - concerning the subject.


Anonymous said...

God bless you your compassionate heart. These same questions run through my mind as well, especially these past few years since the political scene in the U.S. seems to focus on issues that relate to behaviors that can only be addressed in a personal relationship with God, Christ Jesus.

Yes, Amen, to the different people out there who we can't place in a bibical box.....those with sex-changes, etc. I recall thinking how does God deal with conjoined twins, both males, or both females, who must live together and share so much. I recall hearing of a conjoined couple from Japan, both adult men, where one was married to a woman.

Only God knows how to care for hearts of these who are born with abnormalities, or who fall through the cracks and don't live up to the outward standards of the traditions of men.

When I don't have answers, I just say, Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good, and His mercy endureth forever!

Anonymous said...

Paul, who drew a distinction between sexual sins and all other sins in 1 Cor. 6:18, would exclaim "God forbid!". Actually, the whole American version of Christianity is crafted to rob believers of their eternal inheritance. Christ and Paul would agree that discipleship and sanctification are impossible apart from the work of the Cross, namely to mortify the flesh, whether it be homosexuality or any of the other sins you mention.

Rick Frueh said...

Valid points, however how far from perfection equals being unregenerate? I have known dedicated believers, missionaries and pastors, who served the Lord for decades and with an observable sanctification who fell into sin and married their "mistress". Were they saved? My overarching point was we might be surprised by how large God's grace was, however only activated through true faith in the heart which only God can know.

We are to warn professers to examine themselves, but our culture has made such inroads into our lifestyle that in reality we have diluted the New testament to accommodate many of the things that we do not even realize are sin. But we use abortion and homosexuality and other sins to comfort our hearts and keep our eyeys fixated on others and not ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I hope that my post did not imply that by focusing on the sins of others, we can ignore our own. For "Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." So I am most concerned with my own idolatry and greed and how it will affect my inheritance in Christ.

Victoria said...

The first century church expected converts to radically follow Jesus' teachings, even that those employed as soldiers would resign that job as fruit in keeping with repentance, if their conversion was genuine.

What made that type of radical obedience perhaps more "doable" than we find it in the USA today, is that the church communities then also truly cared for one another in deed, to the extent of sacrificially giving if another brother was in need.

Once we ascribe to an institutional church structure and stop living as community, that lynchpin of radical discipleship is removed, and much of the rest of the characteristics that "turned the world upside down" are lost or extremely difficult to attain.

Rick Frueh said...

Victoria - I heartlily agree that the church has been significantly diluted by the culture.

Steve Lumbley said...

Victoria said:
"even that those employed as soldiers would resign that job as fruit in keeping with repentance, if their conversion was genuine."

Can you show me one instance of this in scripture?

Rick Frueh said...

It is not in Scripture, but there are numerous instances of believers refusing military service, and there was a pacifist slant in the early church.