I've been studying Romans. Mostly because I'm still learning so stinking much in my Christian walk. (Besides how to spot my own grammar errors). Our family always soaks so much in from the book of Romans. This time, I felt it necessary to really study it. Why? Because I'm watching a God Moment unfold between a Jew and a Gentile right now and I need Paul's advice as to how to see it through God's eyes.
See...Romans was written during a period where God had adopted the Gentile children. These Children of His, were not followers of the law that had been such a huge part of the Jew's lives. My last 10 yrs in study of the Bible, as well as the countless number of sermons I listened to, leaves a bad taste in mouth about those Pharisees and Sadducees. Until recently. These people were the Holy people in nature, they loved God very much and they took great pride in following and obeying his laws. They were highly disciplined in nature doing their absolute best to follow Gods scrolls. Can you imagine the change in the atmosphere when God brought in the lawless Gentiles and Paul had to try to convince them that they were also God's children...those that never followed the law were still acceptable to God, because of Christ?
It made me think of being at the swimming pool when my children were little. The lifeguards were always screaming "STOP RUNNING" "NO!" while the whistle blew for the 10th time I heard OK THAT'S IT, OUT OF THE POOL FOR TEN MINUTES!". We always rolled our eyes at those strict law following lifeguards. They never let us go up the slide the wrong way, go down the slide the wrong way, they wouldn't let us play tag, or dive in from the shallow end. They stopped the cannon balls, the belly flops and the water wrestling. They were fun haters!
The same conflict happens today in our churches. You have on one hand the Christians that are called to prophesy, to warn, to obey instruction, understand discipline and obedience and who have a reverent fear of God. Then on the other hand you have those Christians that you swore just came out of the 70s peace movement...all about love and grace and mercy, no cares in the world...you are loved man... period. Peace man!
Are either wrong? No...Paul says so in Romans. There is a balance and each side plays a vital role. But you couldn't tell the Jews and the Gentiles that. Each of them fighting for the "right way" when without each other, there is no such thing. God has a perfect blend of love, complete with grace, mercy, instruction and discipline. All extremly vital and must be present in all churches!
After all, if your child was running into the busy intersection after a run away ball, you certainly would not sing, have a safe journey, I love you...peace to you. You'd scream STOP!!! You would warn them, in a stern way, you'd go after them, you'd give them a lecture why they can't run after a ball in a busy street with speeding traffic. Why? Because you love your child. And if your child is playing football and he misses the winning touchdown, you would not typically get in his face and scream what a looser he is (and if you do, you need to visit with your Pastor) you would instead instruct him that "listen", you know how much he loves the game, and that with continued practice he will continue to better each next time. You don't give up...you simply practice more, you study, you keep on keeping on, you don't stop at one self proceived failure!
Same is for our Christian walk friends...for those of you with the gift of grace and mercy, appreciate your fellow lifeguards. And you Pharisee out there, be thankful for your 70s peace co-partners in ministry.
Together...through Christ, you will move mountains!