“…contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” Jude 3
Some of you reading this are deeply troubled. You are concerned about the tensions in the church today in the whole area of same-sex ‘marriage’ and gender identity. There may be other problems, too, that seem to be handled in such a way as to lead only to compromise and/or division.
When our starting point, as is so often the case, is human opinion and expediency then tension is bound to follow. We must, rather, “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2). In him is both grace and truth (John 1:17), and, hard though it may be, we who seek to follow him must aim to demonstrate both.
Grace: we need to guard against, or even repent of, a lack of love towards those with whom we disagree. We can reject a viewpoint without rejecting the person who holds it. To love someone is to want the very best for them, and surely we want the very best for those we deem to be in error. We are to embrace such people but that does not mean we affirm them.
Truth: we also need to be sure we take our agenda, our core values, from the Scriptures and not from the world. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world” writes Paul in Romans 12:2, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
These are critical days, and if the people of God are going to stand firm for grace and truth they will face opposition and attack in various ways. But if the church is to avoid further spiritual and numerical decline but rather rise up to greater holiness and powerful gospel proclamation let us resolve to commit ourselves to prayer for repentance, renewal and revival as individuals, churches and a nation. Let us pray, too, for the gift of discernment so that we might carry out the command, and heed the warning, of Jude 3-4:
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord”.
Finally, may I remind you of the Spring Event coming up soon on the 11th March. Due to limited space places should be booked by 28th February (email@example.com). We shall meet at the Salvation Army Hall in Abbey Lane, Saffron Walden from 10.00am to 12.00 noon, with the theme: “Elijah – a man for our times”. There’ll be opportunity for fellowship, discussion and prayer. I hope to see you there.
Yours, in Christ,