Over the summer, our small group met once a month for something social, but we did not do a study. We resumed studies in late August, but Bryan and I missed the first two meetings. So, he and I have not had any "God" talks in quite some time. Although we had to miss the first two meetings of our current study, I've kept up with the reading and have made notes all over in the margins of my book.
As Bryan settled in for a football game last night, I crawled into bed with my book - Crazy Love by Francis Chan. (He was watching in the bedroom.) While I read, I struggled with some of the "black & white" points of view I felt the author was writing from. I expressed my thoughts out loud several times, and each time Bryan engaged in discussion with me. Bless his heart - if he'd have tried talking to me during Grey's Anatomy we'd have had a problem! What a great guy he is to let me interrupt the game... I love having discussions like that with him! I feel so close when we connect like that.
Anyway... When I hit page 88, Francis Chan clears up my black & white concerns. He writes:
"His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3). His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). I'm not saying that when you mess up, it means you were never really a genuine Christian in the first place. If that were true, no one could follow Christ."
"The distinction is perfection (which none will attain on this earth) and a posture of obedience and surrender, where a person perpetually moves toward Christ. To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved. But to declare anyone who sins "unsaved" is to deny the reality and truth of God's grace."
So often we hear unbelievers use "the hypocrites in church" as their reason for not believing. I agree that there are people who claim to be Christians when they truly are not, but on the flip side, there is no such thing as a "perfect" Christian. Sin alone cannot be the determining factor. The heart must be. For if our salvation is based on our sin, we are all lost forever... If our heart is focused on Him, we will certainly fail at times, but his grace covers and redeems.