Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grace Allegiance

"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." Matthew 12:30 ESV

There is no neutral ground in that statement.

Many people have said the first part of the verse. We may have said it. From any other mouth it speaks about loyalties or allegiances. A 'whose side are you on?' test to marshal power or leverage. Or it can be a confrontational tool quickly identify an overt enemy in a potential future conflict.

When Jesus said this it meant something different.

Here Peter tried to manufacture a sincere answer to a question Jesus never asked him:

"Peter answered him, 'Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.' ... Peter said to him, 'Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!' And all the disciples said the same." Matthew 26:33, 35 ESV

Jesus gently said to him:

"Jesus said to him, 'Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.' " Matthew 26:34 ESV

If it were about loyalty Peter would have passed the test. His desire was real. Loyalty wasn't enough in this case. The forces involved here are not just political or social. This was a spiritual issue not a heart issue. Will power is an illusion in a spiritual battle. Will is not excluded it is just not a deciding factor.

If I try to make this a loyalty issue I may use the second part of the verse to prove my loyalty. I try to gather instead of scatter but in doing so I find that scattering becomes the result.

Receiving grace is the only way I can be 'for Christ.' The Holy Spirit must make my human spirit alive at the moment of my salvation and then as I walk in newness the human spirit is freed from the bondage of 'soul attachments' by the word of grace (see Heb 4:12).

A 'graced out' person is one who is 'for Christ' and they gather as a way of life. They stand in grace (see Romans 5:2) so they walk in Love (see Ephesians 5:2)

Peter says this at the end of his first book.

"I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it." 1 Peter 5:12b ESV

Amen to that! I want to use my will to stand in the faith rest of grace today.

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