For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Gal. 5:13-15
There was once a time when you were not free – you were enslaved. You were in deep darkness, living by the passions of your flesh and reveling in your sin (Ephesians 2:1-4). In fact, if the offer of freedom was of avail, you probably would have rejected it. You enjoyed your sin and you loved the place you were in. I loved the place that I was in. Yet, that mighty beckoning call came from God as He opened my eyes and brought my dead soul to life. I was Lazarus in the tomb and with a simple shout from Christ, He resurrected my lifeless body and gave me the eyes to see and ears to hear.
Since my eyes have been opened – I can see the reality of my darkness that I once gloried in. Furthermore, I continue to see the sin that still indwells in me that is calling me to back to the grave. My heart is still a bottomless cavern filled with sin but I can rejoice that that sin has no power over me. When I dwell on the magnitude of God’s love that was lavished upon me and is lavished upon me in the Gospel amidst my sin, I am free to give the same grace to others.
When other Christian brother’s and sister’s fail or frustrate me – I am free to lavish bountiful grace and mercy because Christ Jesus gave me abundant grace and mercy. When my patience is tested and I am at my wit’s end – I am free to serve and love because Christ Jesus served me by enduring my shame.
Church – the world will not know us by our cool services, big buildings, high attendances, easy American life or our non-confrontational attitude. The world will know we are believers by the way we love one another (John 13:35). Do you want to be counter-cultural? Then don’t try to make your appearance, services, attitude, culture and community look just like everything else. Give grace when offended, be patient in difficult circumstances, forgive when you were wronged, serve when you are in opposition, die to your desires and lavish unending, free grace to sinners just like you. Then, oh then, will the world know we are Christ’s disciples.