When church leadership "falls," pt 2
June 09, 2010
Every time I start working on this post I get sidetracked by the same thing, so I'm going to go down a rabbit trail for a moment to emphasis a foundational principle. Salvation is personal with God.
38nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Many people have a law or "pattern" way of thinking. All of us tend to see things as cause and effect; understandably because this type of thinking is an essential part of early learning. It is also very comfortable if we fill like we are following the rules. And it can destroy our faith when we fill like we are failing the rules.
Salvation is personal with God, it is not rule based. Life is not found in the written word of God except as it draws us personally to Jesus. Life comes from Jesus. It is not in the law; keeping it or breaking it.
14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Abel and Enoch pleased God because of their faith. It was not faith in a promise or faith in a covenant or faith in a sacrifice. It was faith in God personally. The promises and covenants of God are not given to be the objects of faith, they are given to help us know and understand God. And when I say "God" I mean our Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
My point here is that we grow in knowledge and understanding of God, not in knowledge and understanding of promises, covenants, and laws (though we do learn from them and they help us understand the nature of God).
Now we can get back on topic.
2 Samuel 24 describes an event where God was angry with Israel and incited King David to act in a way that brought judgment upon the nation. Many people died and David felt it was all his fault. Yet God's anger wasn't with David, it was with Israel (which does include David). David, in his reaction to judgment, was an example to Israel on repentance and humility towards God which is exactly what God wanted from Israel.
I'm sure many in Israel at that time blamed David for the judgment and deaths. People who are rule or law oriented in their thinking would have said something like, "if David had not done this no one would have died." Cause and effect. But those who understood the nature of God would have recognized that God was doing something here; it wasn't about David's "sin". This was God's hand. And the correct response on Israel's part was to follow David's example in repentance and humility towards God.
The same applies to a church or group, sometimes, when leadership "sins" and that church or group suffers for it. If the leader repents and is humble before God then it may be a good idea to follow that example.
More examples in the next post.
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