Who can know the mind of God, right? I’ve gone through this confusing inner struggle for some time about churches and some of the ways in which Christians often conduct themselves. And yet, I’ve said that we cannot judge who is a Christian in truth and who is one outwardly only. I’ve said that judgment of the heart and of one’s salvation belongs to God only. Yet, in my own heart, I’m passing an awful lot of judgment.
I could be wrong, but as of now what I’m thinking is something along these lines: There is a difference between judging what is sin (or church corruption) and judging the limits of God’s mercy.
Hopefully I can explain this in a way that makes sense. Most of us have passed some kind of judgment on church in one regard or another. For example, most of us have at least one denomination that we look at and think, “that’s not what Christianity is about.” Sure, some of us also feel that all brands of Christianity are acceptable, but from my experience, most of us have our bias there (whether we will admit that openly or not).
Beyond the fact that Jesus is the son of God who died and was raised for our sins, we tend to disagree a lot. For me, when I see a lot of wrongs, the nature of God is changed and I tend to think that the Jesus being worshiped is a poor representation of who he really is. But, do I know who Jesus really is? Do any of us? There again, where is the limit? At what point do we say, “You aren’t worshiping the real Jesus.” There are those who makes this claim today, and though I’ve been tempted to follow that line of thinking, I had to reject it ultimately.
So you see, we all have biases. The only difference between me and most others is that I tend to view all Christian denominations as missing aspects of Christian truth. I tend to see that most teachings (in the Western world. I cannot speak for other nations) as being based on our desires and traditions, and though biblically-based, these often ignore scripture that contradicts. Do you judge me because I judge the corruption you see plus those you might not — even your own? Consider that for a moment.
Okay, yes. Sounds totally arrogant. But, I cannot change the way I see things. If I am wrong, then I pray the Lord show me a better way.
That being said, my point is this. We all have some measure of misunderstanding. At what point do we draw the line and say, “that’s just too far. They are not real Christians. Jesus will not have mercy on them.” Sure, we might be right about some of the wrong they are doing, but, we cannot know the mind of God or the limits of His mercy. And good thing for us, He is very merciful.
Sure, there are some points where a clear line might be drawn for some people. Can you think of at least one Christian denomination, sect, or belief that you will not accept? Most of us can. I know I have my limits, and as I said, I might be a little more strict (or a lot more so) than others. But, in this, I just say that we each need to be persuaded in our own mind. In the end, as long as we are not swept away by the lies of anitchrist, I think there is room for mercy. Maybe even then to a degree, but that’s not something I want to mess around with.
Then I think, what is antichrist? Sure, there is the final one, right? Are there not many antichrists even today? The bible says so. Tricky stuff there when you really think about it. Even so, I know that those who love Jesus in truth will not fall away when the real threat comes. I also know that we will see many professing Christians end up under that final delusion, so why not seek Jesus to help us lay aside delusions we currently hold about him? It is the real Jesus we want to worship, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we at least consider and seek? We may always hold misconceptions about him until he returns, but to use that as an excuse to accept any version of him is not good–and there are many forms of Christ in our churches today.
For me, I will not tolerate any misunderstanding that keeps me from a fuller relationship with Jesus. Because of this, I strive for perfection in all things with faith in his immense power and mercy. This might offend some people, and I get that.
Am I perfect? Goodness, no! And I do not expect I ever will be until the transfiguration or resurrection (whichever the case might be for me). But, I will continue heading in that direction and that means a few things. That means growing in the righteousness of God—a righteousness that surpasses our understanding, self-delusions, hypocrisy—a form of righteousness that is so perfect it can never be written in a book or constrained by legalism. This also means growing in true doctrine and rejecting falsehoods. This means learning what kind of worship God desires. This means learning how to love as Jesus loves—and in that, mercy can never be forgotten.
I might have a difficult time with churches today, but within are many Christians who just want to know Jesus and they make use of what is made available to them. Though I see an awful lot of corruption, ultimately, I cannot judge it. One day the Lord will judge it however, and his judgment will be swift and just, and I don’t want to be on the receiving end. I’m sure you do not either. Perhaps, now is the time we should all be seeking him more earnestly.
History shows us that people do not like when their traditions are challenged, but I’m going to challenge you. If that makes me unpopular, than I just chalk that up to treasure laid up in heaven–and even more so–the treasures of the kingdom of God and His righteousness. What’s so wrong with seeking that?
Well, enough about this. Continuing on with planned articles and the intermittent musings. I hope you all have a Christian-growth-filled New Year!