9 Dec 2004

Ministry, the test of true faith?

Submitted by theshovel
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My concern is that by asserting that our “Mercy Ministry” involvement is a test (there’s actually a section titled “It’s a Test”) and that the “mark of true faith is life poured out in deeds of mercy” (that is, an abundance of charitable works) - we are starting to resurrect what Jesus nailed to the cross: that is, our inability/and or failure to pass the test. Am I missing something? Michael

Hello again, Michael

No, I think you’re seeing it rather clearly.  :) The usual Biblical quotes you’ve noted are so far taken out of their original context as to demand something that was never there to begin with. The irony behind their misuse only underscores the self-righteousness of those who attempt to produce the life of God from their own efforts as had been exposed via those letters.

Also, in the past, I’ve felt tormented by the fear of not really being saved. So, I feel indignant when someone casts such doubt upon a congregation of believers. Michael

The funny thing is that those to whom those particular letters were addressed seem to have also been in doubt about their salvation for the very same reason as yourself! The doubting and fearful were being told not to listen to the promoters of self-righteousness who set themselves up as being better than they. The whole point of the letters was to bring confidence in place of fear on the basis of the very real and miraculous life of God’s spirit that had been given to them. Instead of fakery and religious illusion they testified to a reality of the heart set free. For such a heart produced what the arrogant only pretended to have.

I sense that there is a fear that if we concede there is freedom to give or not to give as we see fit (or “purpose in our own hearts”) — that giving will be stingy and there will not be the “outpouring” that is envisioned. Michael

With good reason! For they well understand how stingy the self-righteous heart really is because it is exactly what they have experienced through all their self-imposed laws and formulas. So they insist that it is the same with anyone else, and in doing so they are denying the very reality of the spirit of Christ they pay lip-service to.

But I cherish my freedom. I don’t want anyone take it from me or those I love. Michael

Yes, and I encourage you to stand strong in this freedom! For this is the freedom of Christ for which we were set free!!

In freedom,

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I wonder how Michael is doing in holding on to his freedom in Christ. It would be encouraging to hear if he’s out there anymore.

Yeah, I’m here :) Thanks for asking, Tim. The message of this correspondence with Jim and so much of what I’ve read on this site through the years since have been near and dear to me. I just read this again tonight and after Jim’s closing, “In Freedom, Jim”, I said out loud, “I love this guy”. lol. It’s a very dear thing when someone really loves you and, in that, wants you to know your freedom as God’s child - with no agendas and no strings because they know it’s actually a real thing. I understand that God has given me forgiveness and His own righteousness and has made be a new creature - amazing stuff and all this had to be for there to any hope. But what I love most about God’s gift to me, what I cling to the most, is that I’m family. Keep your heavenly rewards, that I’m family is all I really care about. I kinda think that God gave us our earthly families and the various relationships they entail, to communicate a little something about what we mean to Him - and each other for that matter. Performance requirements, and rules we make for ourselves like so many lines to stay within, become an absurd missing of the point. The only point, I think, is that we want what’s best for one another (you know, the good lists :) - as those who love each other would. An even if we fail this (from a human point of view) we are still family. This is all very liberating :)


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Random Shovelquote: Feeling Unworthy and Ashamed (view all shovelquotes)

Our problem is that we are so easily made to feel unworthy, and therefore, ashamed to stand before him source