Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Invaluable Teaching of Being Wrong


In almost forty years of being a believer I have learned many things and in many ways. I have learned by studying Scripture. I have learned by watching faithful believers. I have learned by the testimony of the martyrs. I have learned under the teaching ministry of many godly teachers. I have learned by being involved with missions. But perhaps the most overlooked and undervalued learning vehicle is what we learn when I have been wrong.

Actually see when we are wrong, much less admitting it without reservations, it is a difficult and lonely path. Even when we do admit when we are wrong we usually have some open and hidden caveats. We often compare ourselves with others and minimize our own shortcomings and sins. We often present mitigating circumstances. We often rationalize our situation without completely dismissing our actions. We use the universal imperfection of our race to soften the blow. Our flesh has all sorts of ways to admit being wrong without embracing it and allowing the Spirit to use it for God’s greater good.

But when we are wrong, especially when we were not originally aware that we were wrong, and when the Spirit showed us we were wrong, we have an incredible opportunity for spiritual growth. Sometimes that kind of opportunity is more profound than when we discover some truth. It presents an opportunity to embrace the forgiveness of the cross as well as die to ourselves there as well. To repent and change due to our own sin is a great mystery of the Spirit. There are differing circumstances when we are wrong. Sometimes we have had a wrong attitude. Sometimes we have said something wrong. Sometimes we have done something wrong. And sometimes we have believed and defended something that we later came to believe was wrong. The latter is one of the most fertile ground for spiritual growth.

Beware of the believer who suggests he has surrounded all truth and all he needs to do now is spread what he knows. Beware of the believer who fully endorses a man’s theology. Whether it be Luther or Calvin or Wesley or Arminius or any other man, beware of the believer who walks in lockstep with some man’s systematic theology. There are two undisputed doctrines and all their tributaries. The Person of Christ and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. Those are the ancient landmarks that must never be moved.

But most of the rest must be a careful and humble journey. And once you have seen your error and embraced a clearer vision of the truth, you should become much more careful in the future. And it should also create a deeper sense of humility and reliance on Christ rather than a self righteous doctrinal air. We are all liars and thieves and self righteous sinners who have been redeemed from the penalty of our transgressions and made to be the sons of the living God. Not of works of righteousness which we have done but by His precious blood he has bought us forever. And if I were God, after he purchased me I would have returned me because I was defective. Yes, I have so many time defied His grace and sinned before Him.

And therein also lies a basis for being wrong. All of us have sinned against our Heavenly Father even after we were born again into His family. Yes there were many times when we sinned after the similitude of mankind in general and without a high level of maliciousness and forethought. But let us come clean before all creation: We all have sinned sometimes with forethought and with malice and intent. Oh yes, and with that painful truth how could we even claim anything but Christ through His eternal grace? Works of righteousness? All His. Pure motives? All His. Love for enemies? All His. Humility? All His. And the desire to know Him and serve Him? His gift to us once again. You see, He alone deserves all the honor and praise. And where do we get the power and privilege to honor and praise Him? It all comes from Him and His unfathomable grace.

So the next time you are wrong, and it will not be very long, embrace it and repent and do the works that should stem from true repentance. We are not products of a doctrinal taxidermist shop, stuffed and hung as a plaque. We are the living epistles of Christ who do good works, who do stumble, who do love Christ, who do come up short, who do love His Word, who do satisfy the flesh, who do deny self, and yet who do present a living example of the grace of Almighty God and of His Christ. Perhaps we have been wrong many more times than we could ever imagine, but it is not upon ourselves we stand. We stand completely and unreservedly upon the Rock of God who has never been wrong and who has shared His righteousness with every wrongdoer who believes upon Him.


Anonymous said...

Yes, being still in the flesh we will continue to sin, but God's Grace will once again remind us of it allowing us to CONFESS

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But we must be careful to not sin intentionally and we know what that is. Once you are aware of sinful actions, thoughts, and speech we must endeavor to repent (turn away). Studying the Word to show ourselves approved should be every Christian's mantra and will help to keep us from sin. The operative word here is help. We must keep in mind that we are all sinners and fall short. Praise God for His Word and His Work to redeem those who want to accept Jesus as Lord.

Thank you for the good example of admitting you can be wrong, and repenting and still have the Hope which is Christ Jesus.

If I may, like Xmas (don't want to use His name with that word), this will be the first year I am not partaking in it. I did not know just how wrong it was until this fall. Praise God he has delivered me from practicing paganism. Thank you Lord Jesus for Your Truth. And thank you for your blog regarding it. My family says I am delusional. My husband wants to divorce me because of it. Thank you again for your blog. Just keep staying humble brother when you get compliments. I have noticed some really godly Christians being swayed by praise they get and falling away. Sad. God Bless. It is okay to stay anonymous for now? Too many encounters with false Christians and I have been hurt before. True Bible Believing Christians are being attacked everywhere. Won't be long before we get physically attacked and possibly imprisoned and or killed. Until I have prayed about this site and your teachings, I am a bit weary. I did however want to comment. Thank you for the opportunity.

Thank you for understanding.

Lori T. said...

"But most of the rest must be a careful and humble journey. And once you have seen your error and embraced a clearer vision of the truth, you should become much more careful in the future. And it should also create a deeper sense of humility and reliance on Christ rather than a self righteous doctrinal air."

I once heard of a story of a pastor who was shown the truth about a doctrine he had believed and taught for years. His response? He stated he would rather die than come out and admit to his church that he had been wrong. The next Sunday, he dropped dead in the pulpit.

Judgement comes to the house of God FIRST.

kelli said...

Know what you mean anonymous about not wanting to participate in the paganism of this world.
Cannot understand believers though trying to get the world to celebrate the Lord when they are spiritually dead?
The more the Lord convicts us of the worldly activities the more the world will hate us.
We all have been hurt by false brothers and sisters.
But you will know my disciples by their love for one another.
And yes, we all are still learning. Believed certain things 10 years ago and finding out it was false. Thankful for His faithfulness.
Maybe one day soon you will share your name. :)
It is a blessing to be ministered by His Spirit in and through believers.

Cherie said...

God bless your heart kelli. My name is cherie.

michael said...

I recall the Apostle Paul wrote that the Law was the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? He also wrote Romans 7 "wretched man" that I am. I also would suggest you to be spot on about having the help of God to walk in His Grace humbly especially in light of this defense before King Agrippa: Acts 26:22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."

How can we continually forgiven and right except that we are continually wrong in need of God's continual favor?

kelli said...

Cherie :)

Unbelievers see our convictions about certain things and that too is a testimony to them.
We are in the process of being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Unbelievers do not like it as we are being changed as we used to be like them.
But I see born again believers and professing believers trying to get the world/unsaved to worship Jesus the Christ. How can the unsaved worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, when they do not have His Spirit?
Even the discussions on tv that talk about those who are against the display of manger scenes and what to call a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree...What?
Is not Christ in us the Hope of Glory?
Thanks again Cherie for sharing your name :)

Shannon said...

I appreciate your post, Cherie. There is much in it that we have in common. I believe most believers can claim most of what you wrote.
When the Lord opens our eyes to the idolatry and paganism we have participated in, at the same time He is leading us out from this. We don't have this in common with the world around us anymore. The testimony of Christ is shining through us when we do not participate with them anymore. He is strengthening us as this battle with the world intensifies as the days grow more evil toward closing.
He has won the battle, yet satan uses all at his disposal to distract us with fear of losing family/friends. More and more, He is revealing 2Cor 6:14. Light and darkness cannot coexist.

Thank you for your encouraging post.
In Him,