Did Jesus only have compassion on saints and ‘good’ Christians? Or was his compassion on sinners? Was his ministry only to those who had never been saved? Did he only minister to those who lived “right?” Did the people in the Bible live a life committed fully to God, always? Rahab, Tamar, David, Bathsheba, Solomon, Saul-Paul, Zaccheus, the Kings, tax collectors, prostitutes, harlots, thiefs, murderers, (to name a few}? Who are the ones who need Jesus, the sinners and the ones not living for him, or the ones fully committed to Him? That’s a trick question, because the answer is all. We all need Jesus.
But I’ve noticed many times that “churches & Christians” only accept a few sinners and other “Christians” based on conditions or legalities. Many times, these same churches hold their ministers up to a different standard than that of other Christians, but Matthew 23 has a good teaching on this, in that we only have one Father – God and one teacher – the Messiah. It is when we put ministers on pedestals and they accept that worship instead of turning it over to God, that they face the greatest danger of falling off the pedestal or throne.
There are times that we, as Christians, have certain expectations for those who attend church, our fellow members, whether they are grounded in faith or not, we think that those who are converted are suddenly supposed to be without sin. Although in some cases, God does work in a very quick way to rid a person of most of the sins in their lives, it is usually a slow progression that the Holy Spirit convicts each individual of things in their lives that are not amenable to the life of a Christian. We are not instantly ‘set apart’ but it is a progressive salvation. We are gently and constantly reproved by the HOLY SPIRIT, NOT BY MAN. Sure there are times that a minister must point out repeated blatant sins that might be offensive or lead others astray; instead of allowing someone to live in a state of sin, but it isn’t a list that can be handed to someone or a church’s bylaws or legalities that can set someone on the ‘straight and narrow’ path. It is gentle reproof and love. But it is usually the churches whose doctrine is steeped in legalism, traditions, rules, and regulations, that drive away the newly converted tender hearts of Christians, back into a life of sin. If only, these churches allowed God to be God, the Father, who is able to nurture, love, give comfort and compassion, to gently reprove, through the Holy Spirit, without a litany of laws. Bedsides, Jesus REDEEMED us FROM the law. Man has reintroduced new laws, traditions, and religion over the years and has termed them the ‘correct way to live or THE religion to follow.’ Yet the correct way to live is guided by the Holy Spirit alone.
Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
When we are saved, we are given the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. We are given the mind of Christ. We must renew our minds by reading the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us and through those who are put in Spiritual authority in our lives, but we must choose them wisely. God is our ultimate authority and if the person we are following is not following God or the Word, we need to find someone who is. Jesus is our teacher through the Holy Spirit. May we all grow in the Word through Grace and fellowship, preferring others before ourselves. May we submit to God and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and when we are convicted; may we have the strength and desire to turn from it. May we love and accept each other in our individual walks where we are. When the Spirit leads, let those who are mature, help those who are not, in love, not condemnation, but by example.
Prayer: I ask for you Father to touch all who read this to allow the Holy Spirit to be their ultimate inspiration and convictor. In Jesus name. Amen!