I am struck with the problem of Christian’s separating themselves from other Christians because they come to understand grace in a new way.
It is true that when we begin to see what Christ really did on the cross and what has been given to us through the resurrection of our Lord and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are amazed (struck) with how very different the gospel is from what we had thought. We begin to enter into horizons that we have not seen before in the Word and in our personal relationship with the Lord. It is amazing and wonderful!
However, the very nature of grace is of course, the nature of Christ in us. He is not a separatist. He has not separated Himself from those that differ with Him. As we grow in Jesus, “seek His face,” He will disclose to us things we have not seen before and that others around us may not understand — yet. However, when we then find fault with what we hear in our church and in our fellowships and we begin to separate ourselves, there is a problem. You see, grace includes. It is not exclusive and it is not a “doctrine” to use to separate the Body of Christ. It is the very nature of Christ in us.
I know there are some good reasons to move from one congregation to another, but frankly, most of what I hear are excuses for not growing up in Jesus. There are ways to leave, change and be included elsewhere. I am not broadsiding that in this post. (Although all who know me, know I believe deeply in being part of a local body and being in that body until it is clearly seen that the appointment is to another group. That appointment will be witnessed to by many). The ease in which we come and go with this alarms me.
When I hear of “grace understanding” becoming a reason for separating — I am really alarmed because of the very nature of grace itself. It has included me, even when I differed with its full understanding (and I know I have not come to a “full understanding” and probably will not do so until I am face to face with my Jesus). So I, in grace, need to extend that same grace to others and love and enjoy them in our Jesus.
I am thoroughly into grace and learning more and more of what is true in Christ Jesus for me and for each believer. I have seen much in this past year that has me excited and delighted in Him. If that does not spill over when I differ with others, then I have yet to really get a hold on grace. He “graciously” continues to include me – in-spite of my lack of understanding. I am compelled to do the same with others, don’t you think?