CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Testing our Faith
The Purpose of Trials
By Julio Cotto
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Continued from Page One
You also do not need to condemn those outside the church who practice ungodly things. You must not condone or agree with their sinful actions, but judging and condemning should be left to God alone. Paul said, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked person from among you'" (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). There is no need to debate, especially with unbelievers and the ungodly. We are told that:
...the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25Therefore it is pointless to debate with the "wise" according to the world's standards.
Paul goes on to say that many of us were not wise by human standards or influential when we were called, but:
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:26-31There are many scriptures that advise against debating and "foolish arguments" (Titus 3:9; 2 Timothy 2:16, 23). But we are told to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Although peer pressure and the negative influences of this world may affect many Christians, we must remember that we are not of this world. In order to overcome peer pressure Christians are to live as foreigners and exiles in this world. We must do our best to "present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly." (2 Timothy 2:15-16). This is why it is important not to condone any ungodly acts, no matter the situation. As Christians, we should be clear on our stance regarding things we do not agree with, things that do not agree with the teachings of Christ and the Word of God. We do this not by condemning others in anger and with words of hate as some who claim to be Christians do. Rather, we may express our disagreement in different ways, while remaining true to the gospel. First Timothy 4:12 says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." Anything we say or do should be in love, faith, and purity, that we may prove ourselves to be "blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky" (Philippians 2:15). There is also no need to fear or be ashamed of the gospel, "because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
Apart from setting an example and being the light of the world, the Bible tells us that we should not "have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful" (2 Timothy 2:23-24). Paul goes on to say in the next 2 verses, "Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." Therefore when a person's actions or speech do not agree with the truth of God's Word, Christians are to kindly and gently instruct them with the truth in love and faithfulness to God, while avoiding any foolish arguments as they are unprofitable and useless (Titus 3:9). We should keep in mind Proverbs 15:28, "The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil."
You can be an example of Christ. An example in that Christ can take a sinner who can be afraid and ashamed yet still love that person, extend His mercy and grace to them and change them into a new creation, a child of God. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-80). 2 Timothy 2:11-13 says, "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself." You must persevere and continue to read the Word of God. Pray that God guide you and strengthen you in the faith. Earnestly seek Him and you will find Him.
Image Credit: cbabel3; Judgmental Rooster is Judgmental; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Hardships
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Published on 6-15-2015