Reading blogs about our Lord Jesus I notice that we are careful not to agree with one another on anything we don’t personally embrace. You will never hear me say I don’t think it makes a difference. It does. Yet, I believe with all my heart that God loves all of His children. Jesus is the Savior to all who call on His name. I won’t belabor that point. I accept The Lord’s exposition of a parable concerning this issue:
John 10:14 – The Bible (KJV*) -I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
(Read all of John 10 for more clarity)
I’m not endorsing any particular church or condemning any. I only know a little about a few. I believe God loves us all with all our faults. Like people, churches differ in their understanding and emphases, but those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior are His.
That said, my own particular understanding of the way it ought to be, the way I think the Lord meant for his church, is this:
Matthew 16:17-20 – And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
I highlighted a portion of the verses above concerning which believers sometimes disagree. Some groups believe this aspect of Christianity was meant only for the early church. You may believe as you choose. Whoever is correct may someday be revealed, I suppose, but for now, see it as you see it. As you see it, you will have it. We do not receive more than we believe God has for us.
I spent 27 years in the first church I joined. It was called legalistic by opposing churches because there was a great emphasis on performance; yet, there was insistence and proclamation that we are saved by grace and not by works. This church called their critics liberal. (Name calling among us is not nice.)
Over emphasis on what we do to honor God may cloud our understanding of grace; yet, we want to be holy and pleasing to our Lord. Over emphasis on using our authority in Christ could become a stumbling block as well. Enough said. We need to love one another, yes?
Geographically I moved far away and joined another church of like faith but not quite so focused on performance. Later on, because of my husband’s terminal illness, I was limited to the Internet for church attendance. Exposure to Joseph Prince’s ministry changed my thinking in a profound way. I embraced grace in its purity. From there it was a short distance to believing that all the promises of God given to His church are valid for us today, including salvation, provision, and healing.
Life is good. God is good, even more amazingly wonderful than I once understood. May our walk with Jesus please Him.
* I mostly use the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible because I learned Bible verses in this version. I do not hold the opinion that KJV is the only correct version or that it is the only standard. Other versions may give more clarity at times. Translators are men and not infallible. The original text, in Hebrew and Greek, was inspired by God.