Since we talked about the Wrath of God last week and whether it’s something to focus on or not, I felt that today would be a good time to address what it is that we are supposed to actually be doing.
Many people think we are supposed to spend our time correcting people’s behaviors, calling out their sins, and warning of the impending doom in their future. Again, as I have said off and on throughout the history of these blogs, I used to think this way before I learned who God really is and what He has called me to. Now, I see my purpose on earth as something relatively simple and easy to summarize. I believe the Gospel should be simple, and that we must guard it closely to be careful not to add anything to what we are actually called to do.
For my brothers and sisters out there who believe we are called to warn and criticize, they typically cite scripture like Ezekiel 3, a scripture passage we call the Watchman warning. For years, I thought my calling was to do much of the same. I lived out Ezekiel in zeal, calling out people’s faults, mistakes, and ignorance in an attempt to cause repentance. I lived in a sort of fear that if I didn’t tell everyone I met that God was about to destroy us for our sins, then I would have to live with their blood on my hands for remaining silent. I didn’t understand my mission. I thought I had to speak about dreadful things and warn people of the terrible things they were headed for, even though those warnings have never done anything for me in regards to my own repentance and transformation…
“Jeff, are you then saying that we aren’t supposed to speak to people?” I am in no way saying this. WE MUST tell the world! We have a specific job to do. We are Christ’s ambassadors, imploring people on His behalf to be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 is beautiful:
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So here in-lies our purpose: we are to carry a single message to the world- God does not count people’s sins against them. Talk about a hard pill to swallow. I was literally trained to believe that my job was to warn people of the wages of their sin. I believe that is Holy Spirit’s job… John 16:7-11 says, “7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” He, Holy Spirit, comes to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. You and I, however, are given a different task- to reconcile a lost world to their loving Father. Our task is that of the Prodigal son’s Father.
What does that look like? Well, I believe it’s found in John 20:23. “23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” In a word, our ministry and message is a single word: Forgiveness. We are supposed to focus on God’s desire to forgive, not on God’s ability to judge.
And lastly, how is forgiveness possible? The last part of our calling is simply to love EVERYONE. In 1 John 4:7-21, John wrote that we are to love everyone, no matter what. If we love them, we won’t have unforgiveness. We all know that when we truly love someone, it is easy for us to forgive them. Whether our spouse, best friend, or significant other if we love someone it doesn’t really matter what they do, we stick close and defend them, forgiving their faults.
So, in short, our calling, our Mission on this earth is simple: tell people that God loves them and does not count their sins against them, forgive them when they make mistakes, and love them with a radical love that sees no wrongs and definitely doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
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