You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:23-24 NIV
In response to racial division in our nation, Sean Hannity was interviewing a pastor and encouraged him to respond to invitations of congregations of other races. On national radio, Sean said, “you both represent the church, can’t you find a way to do something together?” The marketplace acknowledges that we preach love and unity, yet struggle with “living it out”. To move forward with the assurance of hope, we must include an abundance of true repentance.
Paul is writing to the Jews who claim to be God’s special people. They have the law of Moses and circumcision as proof that they are God’s chosen people. As children and descendants of Abraham, they felt morally and spiritually superior to all others. Paul reminded them that as law breakers, they were dishonoring the name of God and leaving Him open to slander. The one with the log in the eye tries to judge those with specs in their eyes.
Once, we had a troubled and unsaved youth staying with us. They lied to us on several occasions. It was hard to extend grace until I remembered they were not saved. I should not expect an unsaved person to behave with godly manners. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. BUT what happens when a saved person behaves in the same manner? Grace is still needed, but there is an expectation for a different lifestyle.
I’m not suggesting perfection for a saved person. But we can no longer overlook our sins, while claiming favored status with God. Our church testimony is riddled with shameful actions. Sexual exploitation, affairs, money misuse and abuse, church splits, child abuse, pornography, quarrels, backbiting, gossip, failure to meet commitments, and scandals. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. We are all broken, but we need to recapture the transformation of sanctification that flows from our relationship with Jesus.
May our hearts be broken for the church portrait that we are displaying of God’s goodness and love. May we follow John’s admonition to the church at Ephesus, “You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Rev. 2:4-5 NIV
Who may approach God’s holy hill? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Only Jesus obtained that right. In repentance and broken humility we can ask God to forgive us and cleanse us once again…and again…and again.
Ask God to help the church to move into actions that fully represent His love and goodness in every facet of our society. This will include expressions of agape love, humility that prefers others as more important than ourselves, frequent forgiveness, grace extended beyond our comfort zone, alone time with God on bended knee, and speaking forth the good news found in Jesus. In these we can find hope.
Blessings Love y’all