Monday, March 3, 2014

Pursuing Righteousness 2

 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

 In the our last post we discovered what it actually means to pursue righteousness. We discovered that Paul's words did NOT contradict the truth that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ when we received Him! 

 We understand Paul's words were an admonition to mature in Christ. He desired for Timothy to allow God's nature within him to produce the change in his heart. Thus allowing him to grow into the full, complete, spiritually mature person God created him to be.

 While studying this passage another aspect of Paul's word was revealed to me. Lets look at this same verse in the original King James.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart 2 Timothy 2:22

 I did some research into the original Greek word used for follow or pursue in this passage. Thayer's Greek dictionary defines it several ways. To run swiftly in order to catch a thing, to run after. To seek after eagerly. 

 This definition corroborates our last post. We should eagerly pursue to be mature in Christ! He died to remove all obstacles of self effort, works, performance based trappings that hinder our relationship with Him. His resurrection life within empowers us to overcome the old going nowhere life we used to live so we can approach Him with a confident heart and not a fearful heart. 

 In this study though I discovered a little known aspect of this same word. Thayer also revealed this word means to be mistreated or suffer persecution on account of something. Did you get that? 

 Paul used this word about pursuing maturity but also to pursue this righteousness in spite of any mistreatment or persecution! How often have us who receive this glorious message of abundant grace and the free gift of right standing with God been maligned by others?

 I've heard some say all you grace and righteousness folk want to do is to just keep on sinning. I've seen others post on social media that people teaching grace (unearned love and favor) and the free gift of righteousness is like spiritual welfare, (because we don't "earn" or "work" for God's blessings. We receive them without efforts). We need to get busy "working" our righteousness. 

 It would be amusing at first glance, but for the bondage and traditions these "ministers" oppress people with. I suppose the idea that grace is unearned and unmerited favor and love really disturbs these folk. Righteousness being a free gift must really make these tradition bound ministers cringe! God loves them too. They can receive freedom in Christ as well if they just let go of the Law and traditions of men designed to beat the Sheep and control them.

 We who have received this truth of God must take heart. We must never give up or compromise the truth to be accepted by the tradition bound masses in order to gain acceptance. I will never throw aside any truth from God to please anyone. Now I honor men and women of God for their service to the King. I walk in love towards those who just don't understand it all. I am not here to criticize others who disagree with eternal security and God's complete forgiveness and love for all who call upon Him in truth and love. 

 I am here though to encourage those of us who are being scrutinized by religious tradition. I would say stay strong in God's Word. Let your light shine before men. Let love be your motivation in all things. Let the fruit of grace and righteousness be your testimony and true witness. Grow in grace. Grow in love. Apply these principles to every area of life. Be the "best" parishioner at your church. I am obviously not talking about perfection or performance driven faith. I mean be the biggest blessing you can be to your minister and congregation. In the face of the lies, and persecution, of the fearful respond in love and blessing. 

  Being a blessing and fruitful person of God will silence the critics. Let's let the grace bring the change not our efforts. Be a blessing! Don't judge and criticize. Don't run towards every goofy doctrine that comes wrapped in the "grace" teaching package you find on social media either. This includes, universalism or preterism and such. This further isolates believers and seems to solidify the charge that grace is a false doctrine. 

 Well, I can't stress it enough be a blessing not a curse or thorn! I pray this post encourages you. Please share with others and leave feedback. Let's get the name of Jesus renowned. Thank you for taking the time to read these post. I am so humbled to see people reading these posts, its all about Jesus! 

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