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In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul’s instruction for community life begins with “Let love be without hypocrisy… (Romans 12:9a).” All that follows is built on this foundation, from the twelve additional short commands (through v. 13) to the end of the epistle.

The breadth and depth of this command presents more of a challenge than one might experience in a cursory reading. Indeed, these may be the five most challenging words in the Bible.

With all due respect to Bible reading plans, the Scriptures contain matters of truth that simply do not fit earthbound self-imposed schedules. “Let love be without hypocrisy…” is one of those truths that should blow up our reading plans. We will spiritually injure ourselves (with collateral damage to those we love) if we diligently press on to the next verse (or, in this case, phrase).

We need to sit here for a while. Our Father in heaven is bringing many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). We participate with Him when we invest the necessary time to search out the truths He has hidden for His children.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2

Let’s begin with a couple of definitions. First, as we have considered previously, God’s love (agapē) is more than “unconditional” (as so many teachers have popularized). In fact, it is not unconditional at all. God’s love is something more; it is better described as sacrificial. God so loved the world that He sacrificed His son, that those who believe (a condition) might be saved (John 3:16). We manifest God’s love when we sacrifice for others.

“Without hypocrisy” comes from the Greek, anypokritos. Blue Letter Bible’s Outline of Biblical Usage defines anypokritos as “unfeigned, undisguised, sincere.” Synonyms (from Oxford Dictionaries) include genuine, true, honest, authentic, unforced, wholehearted, deep, transparent, palpable, and audacious. Consider each of these and you will understand why I am stuck on “let love be without hypocrisy.” If we cannot get this right, how can we move on to the rest?

Searching further, we find John encouraging and describing our sincere love. Read the rest of this entry »

  • The matter of disqualification can be both contentious and revelatory. This article attempts to leverage the latter as a means (and hope) of mitigating the former.
  • Essential to the matter of disqualification is the recognition that salvation is a process; and faith is a function of the heart.
  • In spiritual matters, separating complex things into their component parts, as a method for understanding the whole, simply does not work as we would like. It is impossible to understand the principles of grace, faith and works apart from one another.
  • Our faith does not save us any more than our works. Only God’s grace can do that. Effectual faith – also a gift of God; perfected by the grace of works – appropriates the grace that saves.
  • Eventually, judgment will come. Those caught with their talent buried in the ground, their branch without fruit, or any other of the disqualifying conditions, will be rejected.
  • “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Jesus Christ (Luke 13:24)

Introduction

A Storm is ComingAs a follow-up to The Peril of Disqualification, I would like to address a couple of objections that have been raised about our being disqualified from our salvation. In part three, I will flesh out a few of the more significant disqualifying conditions.

Recognizing salvation as a process is an essential context for understanding what follows. Therefore, I encourage you to take a moment and read the foundation article on that subject. You will discover that which comes to those that endure to the end (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13).

A second essential matter is the vessel and instrument, so to speak, of faith in a born again person. It is with the heart that man believes (Mark 11:23; Romans 10:10). Most in the church would agree that belief is more than mental assent to the truth of Scripture.

However, I fear many have been emotionally charmed by the notion of salvation – even wondering at the beauty of it – without appropriating its birth in their heart. A helpful analogy is that of the man that admires the painting of a wondrous landscape, without ever traveling to experience its grandeur in person. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storm is Coming

I am convinced that most every sane person would want to know that they are – if only potentially – in peril. Therefore, I am offering the following for your consideration.

I encourage you to judge this seriously; not just, “Do I believe it?” but, “What am I to do with it?”

I am afraid that many will dismiss this altogether: that “believers” are in peril of disqualification. It is much easier to accept the notion that God would not allow such a thing. However, that is not what the Scriptures tell us.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22

It is difficult to consider both the goodness and severity of God, when His severity has not been adequately explained. Church leaders are hesitant to teach the severity of God when the guy down the street has a more palatable message.

The problem, of course, is the truth doesn’t change with the lack of its teaching. There are conditions that will result in our being cut off; or, as Paul warns the Corinthians, “disqualified”.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1Corinthians 9:27

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2Corinthians 13:5

Paul took the steps necessary to ensure he would not become disqualified; and he encouraged the same for those under his care. That is my heart for all that will read this article – that you would prayerfully consider the referenced passages. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach, and possibly convict, you. Read the rest of this entry »

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