Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The balance between doctrinal truth and being relational.

The whole of the Christian life is about balance. Now, just to be clear, I'm not talking about any metaphysical or ethereal balance. I'm talking about a steady and stabilized understanding of the principles that we are to walk by as followers of Christ.

The Bible is both a hard book and an easy book. The Scriptures give us many truths that need to be kept in balance or held equally at the same time. Many of these truths seem to be contradictory or unfriendly to each other and it becomes the job of the exegete to keep these truths together, and keep them friends.

In today's church climate the two truths that have the hardest job at staying friends is the truth of being relational and doctrinally correct. We know that the Scripture is filled with principles of how the church is to interact with each other in the body; we are to love each for each other... meet each others needs...and pray continually for each others conformity to Christ.

In addition to how we are to treat each other within the body of Christ we are also given instruction on how we are to relate to the lost or those outside of the body of Christ. We are to be salt and light. We are to practice justice and have compassion on this lost and dying world.

The Apostle Paul gives us this instruction in Galatians 6:10 where he says, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." So, without a doubt, we see that there is a necessity for the follower of Christ to be one can practice the Scripture's injunctions to be doing good to others without being relational.

Which brings me to a question ... can the church in being relational lose the balance of doctrinal truth in her efforts of practicing good works and reaching out to others? This here is the conundrum. Being relational and holding doctrinal truth at the same time is indeed a tall order for the church or the individual follower of Christ.

We know unequivocally that Scriptural truth offends, and can cut deeply into the consciences of both those in the body of Christ, and the lost world. If anyone thinks that by being a disciple of Christ you will be the first one picked at recess for tag, or kickball, think again...the disciple of Christ will not be the popular one in our culture. Nay, the follower of Christ will be like his master...remember he told us, if they hated me, they will hate you.

How do we keep these two truths friends in our lives as we minister to those around us? Wisdom...prayer....experience, and lots of self examination. For certain there will be times that those in the body of Christ will be offended, hurt, and possibly even cut us off. And among the lost it can be much worse...the truth can breed hatred toward us and even in some cases death, take note of the Middle East and history.

What we do know is that these two truths must live deep inside us. We know that at times truth will have to be spoken and the results we be lose of relationship, but we speak the truth because we love truth...we speak the truth because our master is truth...we speak the truth because we know that the truth of the gospel can set the sinner free and bring hope to the body of Christ.

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