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March 28, 2020 at 10:46 am #59043Rebecca A.Moderator
We have certainly all heard the phrase, “think before you speak”. This is a general rule we are taught as children. When we speak everything that comes to our mind before we stop to think about it we can seem ignorant and often times come across as rude or inconsiderate. Before speaking we should stop and consider what we are trying to communicate and if it needs to be said or not. Then we need to know which words to use in order to clearly communicate what we are thinking.
This principle should be applied in all conversation but especially when we are attempting to communicate the truth of God’s word. There is much confusion as a result of ignorance in the church today. Ignorance is often masked by phrases that have been popularized by pastors and teachers over time. Because you have heard these phrases and have most likely used them at one time it can be difficult to detect ignorance in others who do the same. People assume what others mean by these phrases and it is hardly ever questioned. However, when we read and study our Bible and thereby grow in our understanding and wisdom in God’s word it becomes very evident that these phrases are often not Biblical and are not a help to others at all.
Pastors and teachers have hidden the truth behind nice sounding words and many have followed their example because it makes truth seem more appealing to the the hearer. It sounds nice and pleasant to tell someone, “God loves and accepts you just the way you are.” I would love to know where the Bible uses these words. I guess I have heard something similar in Bruno Mar’s song, “because your amazing, just the way you are”. I don’t know about you but I would rather follow the truth of God’s word than the lyrics of pop culture songs.
The reality of truth in this case is that all men are unrighteous(Romans 3:10) and God commendeth his love toward us, “While we were yet sinners”(Romans 5:8). When we trust the gospel of Christ’s blood shed, death, burial, and resurrection as the only acceptable sacrifice for the penalty of our sin, Paul tells us we are crucified with Christ, our old man is dead(1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Colossians 1:14, Romans 6:6). To say, “God accepts you just the way you are” would be to deny why Christ died for you. You are not acceptable to God because you are an unrighteous sinner. Therefore, you deserve eternal death. Christ died for our sin and resurrected for our justifncation so that we could be accepted by God through him and have eternal life. We are not acceptable to God, Christ is acceptable to God and we are accepted in the beloved, that is, in Christ, when we trust his work on our behalf(Ephesians 1:6)
Each individual must know God’s word for themselves. We should think about the words we use to communicate truth from the Bible to others. We must first know where to find the instructions in the Bible that apply directly to the church the Body of Christ and communicate those things(For more info please read my 4 part study on “Where to Start”). The best way to teach others about God’s word is to use God’s words. When we continue to use phrases like, “just give your life to Christ”, “Make him lord of your life”, “All you have to do is follow Jesus”, “Just pray this prayer”, we continue to cause confusion and further the ignorance of others. The four phrases above have everything to do with with what you do to “be saved”. The truth of the gospel of God’s grace is that we can do nothing to save ourselves(Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 4:5). We do not “give our life to Christ”. It is Christ who gave his life for us that we may live through him.(Galations 2:20). How do we “follow Jesus”? Besides the fact that “following Jesus” does not save anyone; we don’t follow Christ according to prophecy, we follow the instructions first revealed to Paul concerning Christ according to the mystery.
We must think before we speak! We must consider the affect our words have on others who need to know truth. Perhaps you, like me, have used phrases like the ones above while trying to communicate truth. My admonition to you would be, stop and think, read your Bible, make sure that the words you are using accurately and clearly communicate God’s truth. I came to the hard reality of being ignorant of truth myself because of someone who cared about the truth of God’s word being clearly communicated and understood by others. They questioned things I said and helped me see from the Bible where I was wrong. I really desire for others to know truth clearly so they do not have to live in confusion any longer! Attempting to make truth more palatable to the hearer does not help anyone, it only hinders their understanding of truth and it will keep them in ignorance as long as we continue to do so. Know the truth for yourself and speak it clearly. When you hear someone use one of these phrases, ask them what they mean. Many times people are just repeating what they have heard. Perhaps that individual does know the truth of the gospel. If they do, encourage them to speak the gospel clearly instead of hiding it behind these phrases that confuse the gospel of God’s grace.
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