Monday, September 15, 2014

Relating to Others

     Once we have turned from our sins and have come to Christ, it is natural for us to notice the sins of others. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is an acute sense of the difference between right and wrong.  While this discernment is needful, it also imposes one of the greatest tests we will face as Christians.  Will we maintain the distinction between the sin ad the sinner?  Will we relate to those who are yet in their sins with the same reconciling attitude that the Savior manifested toward us, when we were yet in our sins?
     The answer may be yes;, or it may be no.
     Yes, we will relate to others with mercy if we continue to abide under grace ourselves maintaining a humble sense of God's mercy exercised toward us.
     No, we will not relate to others with mercy if, after having begun in grace, we then try to be made perfect by the works of the law.  Galatians 3:1-3.
     Those who try to find acceptance with God by their performance will only grant acceptance to others if their performance seems deserving.  This religion, though it professes the name of Jesus, is very much the same as the heathen religions that summon the favor of God by good deeds and provoke His wrath by bad deeds.  But we don't serve a heathen deity.
     The absolutely astounding thing about the one and only true God is that He approaches this fallen world by "not counting men's sins against them.  "And, really, isn't that the basic meaning of grace?  Rather than treat us as we deserve due to our sin, God treats us as though we had never sinned.  Where would we be if we got what we deserve?  Quite simply, we wouldn't be.  If God had dealt out the wages of sin to Adam and Eve, there would be no human race.  That includes you and me.  Thank God He does not relate to us according to what we deserve as sinners.
     Regardless of one's attitude toward God, whether of faith or rebellion, as a committed Father He surrounds every one of us with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air we breath  Jesus said.
     "You have heard that is was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if  you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect", Matthew 5:43-48. What a startling portrayal of God is here presented by Jesus!

     (It is hard to love and bless those who hate us and curse us and spitefully use us isn't it?  I find it very hard to do that and the only way we can is by keeping our eyes on Jesus who gives us the power to do that.  Grandma Joan)

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