“Hold Fast That Confidence”Categories: Christian life, content, grace, salvation
These seem on their face to contradict:
- I am confident I am wrong on some spiritual matters.
- I am confident I am in relationship with Jesus Christ.
How can I be confident in my relationship with Jesus, confident of my salvation, and also confident I am wrong in some of my Bible understandings?
Actually, I wonder how someone can be otherwise. Would it not be the height of arrogance to think I have every spiritual matter completely figured out? The humble (and realistic) appreciate their finite knowledge and intelligence. Only God is all-wise and all-knowing. Therefore, there must always be room for growth, for adding new information, for adjusting understanding.
Our confidence must never come from ourselves. When we believe our salvation depends on how right we are about things, our salvation becomes dependent upon ourselves. Hear me now—there is an objective right and a wrong, good and evil; it's just that we, as finite men in corrupt flesh, will never fully discern these things. We grow in discernment, learning every day (Lord willing) to more rightly divide the word of truth.
God gives us grace despite our imperfect knowledge. What abundant grace should we give each other, then? Truthfully, we should be strict with ourselves and gracious with one another, but we often get those reversed.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. (Eph. 3.8-13)
Where did Paul's confidence come from? It came from Jesus Christ! Paul was fully confident in Jesus' power, Jesus' love, Jesus' accomplishment. Paul placed no confidence in his own work.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us... (Titus 3.4-5)
We can put up with brothers and sisters who understand Scripture differently than we do. Sure, we must have no disagreement in a few articles of faith, but the "same mind" Paul wanted the brethren to have (1 Cor. 1.10 and Phil. 2.1-4; 4.2) is not an exact oneness of understanding on everything but a oneness of attitude towards God and towards one other. Paul wanted them to have the same mind Jesus had (see Phil. 2.5ff), which was the mind of humble obedience to God.
When we divide from brothers and sisters because we have a different understanding, we may demonstrate a mind which is not consistent with Christ Jesus! Sometimes we must break fellowship with one another for a season...perhaps for longer...but that does not mean we must view each another as lost in sin. Paul and John Mark broke fellowship for a time and couldn't plow together in the same yoke, but only for a season. Neither was spiritually lost.
Have confidence in Jesus Christ. Hold fast that confidence! And love your brothers and sisters who also hold fast that confidence.