though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.-Psalm 37:24 (NIV)
There are many times in my Christian walk I have stumbled. As I have aged, I have come to realize in a way such as never before how totally dependent I am on the grace of God. If not for the blood of Jesus, there is no way I could ever be acceptable to God. One of the reasons I attend the Calvary Chapel that I do is because the pastor frequently reminds us of that fact in his Bible teaching. Jesus picked up the ‘stumbling’ sinner, often breaking the established rules and customs of the day by doing so.
I have attended churches that are more fundamental in their teaching and seem to disallow any viewpoints other than their own established ones, insisting upon separation when encountered. I can respect some of that to a degree, but think it sometimes works against the body of Christ and its mission when we become divided over petty doctrinal differences and see conspiracy in every Bible translation. It is all too easy to fall into a “Pharisee’s view” of the world and hide the light of Christ. I recall reading an article online by somebody who was chiding Joel Osteen for not saying whether people of other religions were going to be saved or wind up in hell. He would not answer that, leaving it instead to the providence of God. Personally, I agree with his response. I say that, not as a devoted follower of Joel Osteen or the style of ‘prosperity doctrine’ he espouses, but as a Christian who knows that God alone is the judge of our condition. Sure, I am required to warn people of what the Bible says about the end that awaits those who deny God’s love and gift of His grace in the presence of Jesus — but whether or not they accept it in the end is entirely up to them. The condition of their soul when they leave this world is known to God, not to me. Jesus clearly warns us in Matthew 7 not to judge or receive the same judgment in return,. I would not want to be judged by the same criteria I have often used to judge others! (see Matthew 7:1-2)
I shall leave you with this morsel of scripture to think about, perhaps asking yourself if it relates in any way to yourself?
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. – Matthew 23:26-28 (KJV)