Friday, July 3, 2015

GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY OR MAN'S FALLIBILITY?

Acts 10:9 - 16
The apostle Peter is often somewhat vilified as one who "didn't get it" concerning the Gospel. 


He was a Jew's Jew who knew what the scriptures taught about eating clean, about Gentiles, and he would NOT be defiled by either unclean meat or by fellowship with a goy.

Even though Jesus had specifically told the disciples (including Peter) to "go into all the world" and to "teach all nations," Peter was still limited in his mind to the Jewish nation.

The apostle Paul confronted him on this as recorded in Galatians 2:11- 13.

God also had to give Peter a revelation through a vision that he was to not limit himself to the Jewish nation only.
(Acts 10:9 - 16)

We therefore know that Peter struggled with a paradigm shift concerning for whom and what is the gospel.

His struggle should serve as an illustration for us, especially those of us who have grown up in a religious tradition as part of our walk with the Lord. We may easily be locked into certain ways of viewing things based on what we have been taught; and that teaching may need to be altered somewhat. (see Mark 7:7)

However, he DID make the shift.

Because many do not accept this, they have managed to denigrate much of Peter's writings as contained within the NT.

This is showing up as especially true within the hyper/radical grace camps, where the emphasis is on what God has done through Jesus. The "fruit" of this emphasis is seen in the people hearing "I don't have to do anything. Jesus has done it all."

The only way an error in doctrine can survive is if there is some truth in the error. In this case, there is certainly truth in the idea that "there is nothing you can do."

The question is--nothing you can do in regards to what?
  • Nothing I can do to earn my salvation? Truth
  • Nothing I can do to be right with God? Truth
  • Nothing I can do to earn a spot in heaven? Truth
  • Nothing I should do then? False
This is where it gets sticky for many. There is plenty that we "should" do, but there is nothing that we "must" do once we are born again, regenerated, brought from death into life.

The teaching of scripture is quite clear on both these points.

It is when we only emphasize one point over the other that we begin to dance on the dangerous declivity of deception.

What is the difference? And, why should I be concerned?

Please allow me a moment to wander off into the realm of opinion. I believe the Bible not only contains the word of God, but also is the word of God. It holds for me everything I need to know concerning living a godly life in this present age.

In that place, I believe that the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) is contained within the pages of that book. Therefore, I want to avail myself of all that it teaches.

One thing that is plainly evident to me is that there seems to be a dynamic tension between the sovereign strength of God and the frail fallibility of man.
There is a dynamic tension between the sovereign strength of God and the frail fallibility of man (tweet this) 
To embrace these two concepts is to embrace the "whole counsel of God."

To embrace this dynamic tension causes a certain cognitive dissonance, which is most easily rectified by minimizing or excluding one or the other. It is this kind of attempt to reduce the dissonance that sends us into the realm of possible deception.

Such a stance is not necessary, however. We would all do well to learn from this person's comment to my post "Where Are The Standards?":
"My life changed dramatically the day I chose to believe the Bible. Which came about as a result of having spent many many hours simply reading it for awhile every day. No matter if there were things I did not understand. I just read other parts. Today's church is way too content to let others do their thinking for them." (C. McCann)
In more than one instance, the writers of the NT give us glimpses of this dynamic tension contained within a single verse or passage.
  • 2 Peter 1:3-10
  • 2 Timothy 2:19
  • Hebrews 6:9-11
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1
  • Titus 2:11-12
  • Phil. 2:12d-13
Until next time, when I will begin to deal with some of the applications from the previous posting concerning mindset, I encourage you to look up those verses mentioned above and use them for your meditation time in the next few days.


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