Grace & truth | Skillful Shepherds

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Substantially has been debated not too long ago relating to Singapore’s Penal Code, in unique Section 377A, following the current selection by the Indian Supreme Court to rule in favour of decriminalising homosexuality. Many men and women (such as prominent public figures) and groups have weighed in on each sides in print and on the net media platforms, and some have even been aggressively garnering assistance for on the net petitions either to assistance or repeal. What follows is a individual reflection on this pertinent and controversial subject, and by no implies reflects our church’s official position. The intention right here is also not to debate on a theological level, as if to prove or defend my position on 377A or homosexuality. Alternatively, my hope is that it will encourage reflection of our personal individual response, suggesting a additional balanced method towards this and connected concerns.

The NCCS statement* on homosexuality starts, “Recognizing the Bible as the authoritative regular for its (the Church’s) faith and practice…” In the Reformed tradition, this is echoed in the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) which states, “the Word of God written … All which are provided by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.” These have their basis from two Tim. three:16-17,

All Scripture is God-breathed and is helpful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and coaching in righteousness, so that the servant of God might be completely equipped for each excellent operate.

This has to be the key beginning point of our discussion. Do we as Christians and the Church think and uphold the original Word of God (the 66 books of the OT and NT) as inspired, inerrant, infallible, and our supreme regular of faith and conduct? If we do, then that types the foundation of our response and reaction to what is taking place about us, not just on specific sensitive subjects, but on all that God’s Word instructs us, such as loving God with our all, loving other folks as Christ loved us, creating disciples of all nations, baptism, communion, obedience, denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus.

John 1:14, 17 tells us,

The Word became flesh and created His dwelling amongst us. We have noticed His glory, the glory of the a single and only Son, who came from the Father, complete of grace and truth … For the law was provided via Moses grace and truth came via Jesus Christ.

This passage firstly tends to make a distinction in between the OT era, represented by Moses and the providing of the Ten Commandments, with the NT era, represented by Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the planet. The popular understanding is that we are now beneath the age of grace, whereas the time prior to Christ was the age of law. Having said that, this is not to be confused with two extremes, namely hypergrace or hyperlaw. Hypergrace on a single hand, overemphasises God’s grace to the point exactly where the seriousness and consequences of sin are diminished, and followers bear small or no distinction from the planet about us. Hyperlaw, on the other hand, is the overemphasis on following the letter of God’s law, substantially like the Pharisees and the evolution of second-temple and rabbinic Judaism. By the time of Jesus, there have been believed to be as numerous as 613 mitzvot (commandments) derived from the Torah and Jewish oral traditions.

Hypergrace puts God in the handle booth, eliminating our individual duty altogether. Hyperlaw puts us in the handle booth, eliminating our require for God. Hypergrace leads to liberalism hyperlaw leads to legalism. Each are intense teachings that ought to be avoided. We will have to not enable an unhealthy idea of God’s sovereignty or man’s individual duty to eclipse the truth of God’s word. We require a balance of each law and grace in our Christian lives. Jesus Himself mentioned in Matt. five:17,

Do not feel that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Also, John points out that Jesus was complete of grace and truth. Note grace comes 1st, but truth follows. What is the distinction in between law and truth? Law imposes and condemns, whereas truth is derived from adore and transformation. Jesus mentioned in John 14:six, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” We are exhorted to speak the truth in adore, expanding to turn out to be the mature physique of Him who is the head, Christ (Eph. four:15). Jesus, in encouraging his disciples, explained that if they hold on to His teachings, they would know the truth, and the truth would set them absolutely free (Jn. eight:31-23).

What does this all imply in light of the discussion now? Firstly, we require to come to clear and constant convictions derived from God’s Word. We ought to not engage mostly in a war of words or on the legality of the law or on moral concerns. We require to move beyond beliefs, or mere head information of the Word, to convictions that are lived out and practiced. We require to teach and pass on these convictions to the future generations, that they might apply God’s truths in their lives, and come to know the Truth, the individual of Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Saviour, to trust and comply with all the days of their lives.

Secondly, even so, it does not imply then that we go Bible-bashing or condemning homosexuals as the worst sinners. We are all sinners saved by God’s grace alone via faith in Jesus Christ. We require to examine and get rid of the logs in our eyes prior to pointing out the specks in other folks (Lk. six:37-42). We require to find out what it implies to speak the truth in adore, to speak Jesus into conditions and discussions, to show the adore of Christ even in our engagement with the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. We and our churches require to develop secure environments and spaces for men and women, even Christians, who struggle with very same-sex attraction, to open up and share about their queries and struggles, with out feeling judged or condemned. That is portion of the message of the current Truelove.is movement, “Come out Come residence.” All of us struggling with sin require to return to our Father to seek forgiveness and restitution, and to be encouraged and empowered to enable God to transform our lives for His glory.

Thirdly, we require to show via our words and witness what it implies to reside as Christians beneath the authority of God’s word. We require to model biblical, wholesome values of household and adore, and we require to encourage and market these at a neighborhood church and nation-wide level. Even as we speak, there have been compromises created even inside the Christian neighborhood and camps. In a current briefing to church leaders on the Penal Code, our personal national leaders admitted that laws are largely following societal acceptance and values, and encouraged religious groups to continue to speak up and out on preserving laws for the excellent of society. Research have shown that exactly where additional than half of society moves in favour towards specific concerns e.g. homosexuality, it is a matter of time prior to legislature is changed, and policies and practices comply with accordingly. This is not to encourage us to be lobbyists or push a political agenda. We require to stand firm and reside out our lives as convicted and compassionate Christians in the planet, holding out and believing that God’s truths and Christ’s adore can modify lives, to influence society as salt and light for God’s glory and kingdom.

*For a balanced and biblical Christian point of view and position, please refer to the complete NCCS statements on homosexuality (July 2003) and 377A (September 2018) on their web page.

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