Thursday, July 03, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Jude 20-23(NASB)
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
This verse has some good lessons for modern discipleship. Verse 22 reminds us to be gentle with people who are developing their faith and may have moments of doubt. That doubt may take the form of straight-out doubt in God or some heretical thought that veers away from orthodoxy. Speaking the truth in love to a doubting believer or seeker is tricky; my mind went back to a Edifier from last May when I repented of ripping into Mr. Bauer over some universalist prose. You correct and encourage people in their faith not to score bonus points in Heaven but to bring them closer to God. The other area that comes home is the part in verse 23 talking about having "mercy with fear." In witnessing, you're often taking the risk of having the sinner drag you down to their level rather than bringing the sinner up. We need to have mercy on people who are fighting their way out of various vices, but we need to be on solid spiritual and emotional ground so as to avoid being dragged into the mire with them.

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