Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church

Truthful Confrontation is Salt and Light

National Lampoons Son of God comic

National Lampoon's Son of God comic

Published on: Mar 12, 2009
Yesterday a young boy in my gymnastics class struggled with the strength test that I gave the whole class. So I stopped the testing to explain to the kids that their strength is not in their muscles, but in their will. I motivate them with rewards when they master a particular skill that I am instructing. They understand how much harder they work with that incentive, which shows them that it is when their will power is turned on they do better.

Since my students are all Christians I made the same point about Jesus. It was impossible for Jesus to die because death is the result of sin and He had no sin. He said that no man takes His life but that he lays it down voluntarily (John 10:18). That was an act of His volition, or will. Sin came on Jesus because He willed the sins of the world upon Himself. Or at least, by his consent He allowed the sins to be placed upon Him, which is still an act of His will. In Isaiah, regarding going to the cross, it says that He set His face like flint (Isaiah 50:7), which means that His resolve to obey God was unbreakable.

God wants us to be strong willed people. Being strong willed is not wrong. What is wrong depends on what you set your will upon. Strong willed towards sin is wrong, but strong willed towards righteousness is Father’s desire. I told the kids that body builders have large muscles because of their will. They are strong because their will was strong enough to endure the pain in weight lifting that increased their strength. The muscles are only an expression of their will that they exercised in this endeavor.

Back in the 1970’s before I knew Christ I read National Lampoon’s comic book “Son of God,” which had Jesus Christ as a super hero. Super hero comics were my childhood staple. It was because of those comic books that I became a gymnast. After I became a believer and had seen miracles of God, I realized that in Christ the Church really are super heroes when they move in God’s Spirit according to God’s will!

The National Lampoon comic of Christ greatly offended the religious mindset of American Christianity at that time so the comic book was shelved. I did not understand at that time why the Church at large was offended, calling the magazine “sacrileges “. Is God such a woose that He would be offended?

Having walked with Christ now for almost 24 years I understand the problem. God is not a woose. He is not offended by such things. The Church has been mislead in thinking that a “Holy God” can not be in the presence of sin. God can be in the presence of sin and is always in the presence of sin. His holiness is His invulnerability, if you will. This is why He wants us to walk in holiness, too, for it is our life and health. This thinking that God can not be in the presence of sin is based upon Jesus crying out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The answer given by theologians is that when sin came upon Jesus, God had to flee. If this were so, then how could David say that if he were in hell God would be with him (Psalm 139:8)?

The truth is that we, as sinful men, can not be in the presence of a Holy God. He hides Himself from those outside Christ because if He revealed Himself, they would all perish. For He said to Moses that no man can see His face and live (Ex. 33:20) But the life of Christ given freely to us allows us to be in His presence without perishing. Perhaps God left Jesus on the cross because to remain would have utterly destroyed Jesus instead of simply causing His death. He had to die and descend into Hell where He was justified, which then became our justification. I don’t know, though, I am just speculating.

My point in all this is to say that the Church is not salt and light in America because we have become weak willed people. We do not have the strength of will to confront others in the Church, or to receive confrontation from others in the Church, let alone the world. We have been sold a bill of goods in believing that love is non confrontational. Proverbs says that the wounds of a friend are faithful (Prv. 27:6), which demonstrates that love is confrontational. I have talked with Christians who get offended when I simply disagree with them, let alone confront them or debate with them.

In my last blog I talked about women influencing the Church. Again, I am not against women teaching or leading in appropriate ways, nor am I against pulpiteers considering the sensibilities of women when they give their message. But we men in the church have been influenced too much by the effeminacy of Christianity, which is contrary to the true masculinity of God and Christ. Sensitivity to feelings being hurt has become tantamount to sinning against God. The catering to femininity is so prevalent in the pulpit, it is no wonder that so many in the ministry have been involved in homosexuality, Ted Haggard being just one of the more prominent.

We are called to speak the truth to everyone.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25 KJV)

Walking in truth and speaking the truth is the salt and light that Jesus was referring to (Matt. 5:13-14). It seems that the only verse people know on speaking truth is Ephesians 4:15 which tells us to speak the truth in love. Love is usually interpreted as not hurting any feelings. Consequently the truth barely gets spoken because no one wants to risk offending others. But truth is the foundation of life and salvation.

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

John 3:20-21
20 For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (KJV)

Paul comments further on those who do not love the truth.

…..because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (II Th 2:10 KJV)

[They are] ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim 3:7 KJV)

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim 4:4 KJV)

We should remember that the epistles were written for the body of Christ, not for the world. Paul is giving those who love the truth a warning to watch out for those who are amongst the body of Christ who do not really love the truth. And they harassed and persecuted Paul.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Gal 4:16 KJV)

Because of doctrinal division in the body of Christ there are now many who believe that “doctrine” itself is the enemy of Christian unity. That is nonsense. God never intended the body of Christ to be united doctrinally. We are already united in the Truth of His Spirit indwelling our hearts. We are told to “contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3). In fact we are encouraged “to convert those who err from the truth” (James 5:19) which will “save a soul from death” (James 5:20).

As I pointed out in the blog discussing my being expelled from a house church because of my “dominating” presence, which is me just being me, even without trying to prove anything (which I did not argue anything with anyone), the biblical procedure of dealing with brothers who offend you (whether intentional or unintentional, Jesus did not say) is for us to go to our brother privately and talk to him about it (Matt. 18:15). This is confrontation. Instead of those who were offended by me coming to me one on one, they went to the elders and complained. Those elders should have told them to go to me as Jesus directed. Instead they wanted to speak to me in a group of 3 elders without any of those who were offended in the dialog.

This is common practice throughout America and it weakens the individual believers in their courage to confront. Ultimately it robs those individuals the experience of acting on faith to see how God would handle the situation for them. Consequently they remain cowards, never building up their faith. For fear is the absence of faith in God. This is why we read in Revelations that “cowards” are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8). I don’t think those cowards are Christians, but it is a profound statement on how God feels about cowards in general.

When you know God and walk with Him in truth, you speak the truth with conviction. There is no doubtful fudging for the benefit of the listeners. When Jesus spoke, He spoke with authority (Matt. 7:29) and even made the bold statement:

Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? (John 8:46 NIV)

He did not call Himself a sinner like the rest because He was not. He was sinless, so He spoke the truth plainly and with authority.

As I said in the earlier blog, real men do not come to Christ because they see the effeminate characteristic of the Church and they want no part of that. Confrontation is a manly characteristic given to us men by God to deal with the evils of this world. But if we can not confront error in the Church, how can we possibly confront real evil in the world? Men in the Church, I exhort you to stand up like men. As Paul said,

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (1 Cor 14:20 KJV)

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (1 Cor 16:13 KJV)

Indeed, this is what God wants from us. Consider Job who had been totally devastated and God says to him from the whirlwind:

Job 38:2-3
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. (KJV)

Church, how are we going to face the judgment seat of Christ when we can’t even face each other in disagreement?

Post Script 3/13/2009
While in prayer Father reminded me about the quality of salt. Salt in the old days was used (and can still be used) medicinally for external wounds. But salt stings when applied to an open sore. I have heard many say that we should speak the truth in love as a way of removing the sting. But to do so is to remove the very saltiness that Jesus was referring to which will cause it to lose its savor and become useless and to be trampled under feet.

Also, it is said that “the truth hurts” but that is not so. Error hurts when faced with the truth. Error is the open wound that stings when the salt of truth is applied. Salt on healthy tissue has no sting at all. The amount of sting felt by the recipient of truth indicates the depth of the wound of error.

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