Curious Combo

Since foolishness to the foolish is integral to the gospel message, this creates the possibility of a curious combination of circumstances.  Specifically, the religious unbelieving could actually drive other unbelieving toward Christ through preaching pieces of the gospel.  The religious unbelieving might teach some true things about Christ that could help others take steps toward Christ.  Though if the leader does not know the whole path to the cross, then "the blind lead the blind" as Jesus warned.

Consider again Jesus' words in John 10:25-30 (WEB),

25) Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. 26)  But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. 27)  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28)  I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29)  My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30)  I and the Father are one."

Now suppose we were Jesus' disciples standing there without fully understanding Jesus implementation of the Proverbs 26:4-5 and Hosea 2:23 tactics to reach the stubborn unbelieving.  We would most likely conclude that those who disbelieve, such as the Jews described above, are truly not Jesus' sheep.  We might also conclude that since Jesus said these people are not sheep, then they can never become his sheep and they are goats for all eternity.  We might think they are non-elect, non-chosen, non-predestined.  Yet, since we are very concerned about our own skin, we would also be happy to believe that we are Jesus' sheep. How convenient for us!  In fact Peter may have been such an unbeliever in the Olive Garden when he drew his sword to kill the Pharisees.  Peter still needed to learn that Jesus also loved the Pharisees and died for them, just as he died for Peter.

Furthermore, if we were Arminian style disciples we would conclude that we are Jesus' sheep because of our good free will choice to follow Christ.  If we were Calvinist style disciples we would conclude that we are Jesus' sheep simply because Christ chose us and not the unbelieving Jews above.  Either way we would be happy, but none-the-less big stinky hypocrites.

Now I boldly ask: if followers of Christ are this confused about God's love for all, are they actually following the Jesus who is and truly believing in him in the first place?  This is a good question!  Consider one of the toughest verses in the whole Bible in John 6:66 (WEB), "At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

It is possible to follow Christ, to serve him, and to even be used by him, yet to be confused about his purpose and eventually turn away from him.  Yet, we see that most do not openly turn away, but instead turn to the religion of a graceless Christ.

The grace of Christ forgives a lot more confusion than we might be comfortable with.  In fact his grace covers ALL sin for ALL mankind for ALL time.  We are often not even aware of just how bad we actually are.  We can be offensive hypocrites yet blind to how we hurt others.  Yet the fragrance of Christ takes away our offensive sins.  His grace also takes away the sins of those who offend us.

Jesus always seems to have the perfect words for every occasion and even for the ideas on this page.  He says in Luke 10:19-21 (WEB),

19) "Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will in any way hurt you. 20) Nevertheless, don’t rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." 21) In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight."

Do you think you are Jesus' sheep because of something you have done?  Do you think you have written your own name in Heaven by choosing "faith?"  That is foul.  Are you trying to get people to write their own names in Heaven?  That is really foul.

Can you instead repent of your self-righteousness and rejoice through faith that Christ has written ALL his chosen one's names in Heaven from before the creation of the world?

That is fragrant grace.