A group of imperfect people with multiple differences that have a common cause requiring and reflecting grace. When we say, “I don’t go to church because I feel judged,” we are actually saying, “I don’t go to church because I don’t want to be held accountable for growing in grace.”
Growing in grace has at least two layers. The first is relating to God and the second relating to others. All of us fall short of God’s grace and growth. Understanding the gospel of Jesus grants forgiveness of sin past, present, and future has profound implications. The gospel is not just pardon for guilt but power to help one overcome sinful attitudes and actions. Indeed, sanctification takes a lifetime.
The other layer of growing in grace is receiving and extending grace to others. As sinners, we will inconvenience, offend, and hurt others. When sin occurs among Christians, humility, empathy, and forgiveness should be the response. Forgiven sinners forgive. One must also remember forgiveness of wrongdoing does not mean trust has not been broken and fellowship needs rebuilt. The subject of abuse and trauma are beyond the bounds of this brief post.
Yet, the moment and life season we see other’s sin worse than our own that we isolate from Christians, becomes a dangerous spiritual experience. Christians need the church. Treasuring the groom but splitting from the bride will create a tense and turbulent relationship. Likewise, persons who claim to be following Jesus but drifting from the church do not understand their actual conflict with God. Jesus cherishes the church. God’s word has multiple exhortations and commands about relating to fellow Christians and gathering with the church. If a person is not following biblical instruction, then, at the very least, they are missing a vital component to growing in God’s grace. Or further, such a person is spiritually deceived and misunderstanding of the gospel to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Christians are not to judge unbelievers; that is God’s role. Yet, God has given charge to His church to judge fellow Christians. Since there is admittance in based on grace and truth, then there is also accountability to call one another out. If not, then grace means nothing. The phrase “stop judging” sounds awfully judgmental. If no one can judge anyone, then there is no foundation for truth. Yet, that is precisely the role of the church to call one another to be better together based on the gospel of Christ.
Gospel forgiveness and gospel family results in gospel fuel. There is power and purpose in God’s economy. Christians not only rest in grace but run. They run free from rules and religion that cannot save. And they run toward a growing relationship with God and His people.
It is easy to give up on people. Thankfully, God does not give up on us. God’s grace enables us to become vulnerable and accept accountability to belong in His family and become all that He intends in our faith, hope, and love. Press onward.