“The best way to do this is …” and the ‘expert’ expounds on his discovery. Opinions, ideas, and convictions fill up an increasingly noisy world! I almost never watch the cable news channels for more than a few minutes these days. I cannot sort out the hard news from the nonstop chatter of people who imply that only they have the inside information.
Perhaps a pastor should not admit to this, but sometimes I grow weary of endless doctrinal wrangling about things like whether a Christian can become an apostate, about the value of certain ways of worship, about how the Spirit works in the Church today … yes, there seems to be endless matters that occupy Christian debate; and which tragically are allowed to divide the Body of Christ.
I need to re-center on the core truth– to that which gives me hope and assurance – Jesus Christ!
In his gospel, John tells a story in detail about a man who was blind. Jesus and the disciples encountered him as they were walking together. The disciples had an opinion. The blind man must have done something terrible, or his parents had, because ‘everybody knew’ that hardship was always caused by ‘sin’ and God’s judgment. Jesus told them that their assumptions were wrong that God had allowed this for His glory to be displayed. Shocked, they watched Him heal the man.
When the man went home seeing, the neighbors had an opinion. “How can a man blind from birth have sight? It can’t be him,” they insisted, “it must be someone who only looks like him.” They were wrong. He told them a man had put mud on his sightless eyes and sent him to wash in a pool. When he obeyed he began to see. “Sure,” they said, “where is this man?” He told them he did not know.
When the religious leaders heard the story they had an opinion that the healing was wrong because it had been done on the Sabbath and nobody should do ‘work’ on that holy day, evening it was healing work. They badgered the man about the how and why and who of his story. They lost sight of the good thing of healing and concluded that the healer must be a bad person because he broke the Sabbath rules! They asked the man if he thought his healer was a good person.
Finally, in exasperation “He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see! … Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:30-33, NIV)
Is your experience of Jesus’ love rich and sustaining?
Do you worship Him, know Him, and live in His grace?
When the debate is getting loud, when inner fears or doubts clamor for your attention, you can come back to the central fact – Jesus Christ came to save me!
Paul opens his letter to Timothy with a statement of the anchor fact that is beyond debate. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:15-17, NIV) Can you say that? Have you, by faith, accepted His grace, been forgiven, and made a child of God? Then stand on that. It is the foundation of faith!
Here is a word from the Word. As you read these inspired words, let them renew hope, strengthen your faith. In the windy storms of opinion and debate, make the fact of Jesus’ love your anchor. “Yet now He (God) has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.” (Colossians 1:22-23, NLT)
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.