Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 31 – Christ Resolves The Conflict In The Church

“For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. We also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or do you not know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?  Unless you are reprobates.  But I trust that you shall know that we are not reprobates.” 2 Cor. 13:4-6

Devotional Thought For The Day

Ah, church conflict and spiritual conflict is a most interesting phenomenon.  What were the circumstances and dynamics that occasioned these terse and foreboding words of the apostle Paul?  Some in the Corinthian congregation had fallen into sin and refused to repent.  They were still living in the same sins, and were arguing that Paul was wrong, that they had no need to repent, that they were in the “right.”  Further, they portrayed Paul as being weak and no one to be concerned with.  Therefore Paul’s teachings were viewed and being presented to others as those of an errorist – calling his very faith, integrity, and relationship to God in Christ into question.  The issue then was one of strength and power – that of God Himself at work on the side of those who are of the truth.  The warning is for those in the “middle” of the conflict – that they might want to test themselves very carefully as to whether they were truly of faith [and hence had the presence of Jesus Christ within them] or whether they were in fact reprobates, unbelievers.  Paul assured them that he was not reprobate – and that he hoped that they had proper discernment and would come to the right conclusion about this conflict and side with the truth, with him.  If not, the very power of God – His discipline and punishment, was near at hand and would accompany Paul’s presence.

It is no different today with those who are truly “errorists” and advocates of things that are contrary to Holy Scripture, or advocates of adding things to God’s Word.  They demonstrate their ignorance, unbelief, and complete skepticism by thinking that they can attack proponents of the truth with impunity, with no fear of God’s wrath and punishment coming upon them.  They think they are merely engaging in a “debate” with other mere humans – that God has no stake in the matter, or that He will do nothing to intervene.  They actually have the audacity to “promote” themselves as being “spiritually superior,” while portraying advocates of God’s Word and truth as being weak and reprobate.  This astonishing arrogance goes on within the life of the church to this very day – and as in the days of the apostle, those who perpetrate such conflict in an effort to derail the true faith and proper life of the church, end up under the power of God’s discipline.  Even though it may take some time [under the patience of God], their discipline and destruction always comes – for God is real, His Word is truth and love, and He will defend His Word with power.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is in fact “reprobate” – without understanding, faith, or real spiritual awareness.

Those “caught” in the middle often feel as if they do not have the resources, the right criteria or enough spiritual discernment, to sort out the conflict and arrive at the right “judgment.”  This is precisely what the evil one, and his minions, want us to think.  But God has given us all that we need to be protected from such evil, and to properly discern all things:  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  [2 Tim. 3:16,17]  Certainly the Bible is at the very least part of “all Scripture,” and thus provides us with all we need for “teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness” – and so to equip us “for every good work.”  Those who contradict this “Scripture” or who add to it are targeted and revealed by Holy Scripture, the Bible – as the real errorists and reprobates who will surely come under the powerful discipline and destruction of God.  Those who argue contrary to this – who obfuscate the criteria – also reveal that they have the “spirit of error,” and do not come from God. [1 John 4:1-6]

Though debate within the church in regard to truth and morality may be “civil” and polite, it is never a small and insignificant matter.  God is always concerned about it, and so too is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was “crucified through weakness” but Who now lives in the power of God.  He is concerned, not only for the sake of the salvation and proper renewal of the hearts and minds of people He loved enough to die for, but also for the safety and defense of His servants, those whom He has made and sent as servants of His Word.  It is after all His church, and He is the One building it – and all who enter its life and fellowship should have a keen sense of this, and understand Who holds them accountable.  Likewise, those who are servants of His Word and those who side with His Word should have the boldness and confidence to warn others of the “power” they are messing with when they attempt to pervert the church, those in whom Christ lives.  And those who think otherwise, who determine that they will oppose God’s Word and oppose the servants of His Word, might want to think about what’s coming their way – and repent before His judgment and power comes upon them.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to remain aware of Your abiding presence in the life of the church, and of Your power and commitment to protecting the welfare of Your dear people of faith, including Your servants.  Grant us deep humility to remain submissive to Your Word, the Bible, and courage to stand up to those of the evil one who seek to pervert faith and decency within Your church.  Thank You for providing us with all that we need for true discernment and faithfulness, in Your Word, Holy Scripture.  Make us to abide in Your Word, for our great blessedness.  Amen.