I AM the God of Holiness and Grace 2 Cor 13:1-14

News flash Pope – Perfection only possible in Jesus Christ

The point of Paul’s authority or any church authority is for the perfection and equipping of the saints, for restoration of those who struggle and not just for punishment or a fear tactic. Too many times religions hold excommunication and other tactics over their flock to force them to not step out of line. By threatening being kicked out of their version of the church and with eternal hell these tactics do not foster real growth, love, or service for the true God they just reinforce conformity to rules. Success yields pride, and failure produces despondency. Jesus had all authority yet he lived to serve not be served even to the point that he died for us. Paul emulates him in this attitude. He used his authority of discipline in the church but with the goal of restoration to fellowship with God and other believers. Living under grace and faith in CHRIST ALONE is the only way to attain whatever level of “perfection” (sic) that can be attained here in our fallen states. Remember that religion forces human effort by conformity to rules from the outside in, where as Christianity encourages transformation by grace and the power of the Holy Spirit from the inside out. Paul was looking for the latter.  Whose side is the Pope on? 

Final Warnings

13 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12 Greet one another with an holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

 

As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…

Who are you Lord?

I AM the God of Holiness as well as Grace. My holiness demands you to be perfect and the penalty for your inability is death; but my Grace provides undeserved love and forgiveness to you through my provision in Christ. My Holiness demands your sinful state to be judged and sentenced to hell; but my Grace has paid the price for you by going there myself. My Holiness demands you to walk perfectly before me; but my Grace has provided to you my Divine nature in Christ. My Holiness demands that you emulate my Holy Law; but my Grace has placed in you the Holy Spirit whose fruit supersedes the law unto righteous living. My grace is what builds you up as you let it overwhelm your thoughts, no law can do that of any sort. Thus there is nothing that I require of you now, other than to trust in my son, and let him make you perfect; which he promises to finish one day – I guarantee it.

The Pope is leading people astray

The Pope has said that it is “dangerous and harmful to have a relationship with Jesus on your own” without the mediating control of the “church” quoting previous popes (not scripture) as proof. There are millions of people who have succumbed to this fallacy around the globe. And not just the Catholics.  No list of rules or prayers can make you a good person to the standard of God’s holiness. The Jews found that out the hard way. And no amount of good works can help you to appease God’s wrath of your sin. No amount of prayers, no amount of money, no amount of penitence, no amount of flagellations can ever be enough. What did God tell Adam the price of sin was? DEATH. We are all doomed to eternal separation from God as a result of Adam. Then to add insult to injury, to prove that you have sinned, God gave his holy law to Moses to show that you sin personally by breaking his laws on a daily basis in your head if not physically for God sees the sin in your thoughts (James 1:13-15) No one can be holy by a set of rules to God’s standard, and it carries a punishment of eternal death.  However, the good news is…

Jesus is our righteousness

Your only hope is in Jesus Christ, who fulfilled all Gods righteousness in his lifetime on your behalf – Jn17:4 and then he died to pay for your sins in your place carrying every sin you will ever do to the end of your days with him on the cross – Jn19:30. Therefore, trust in Christ alone, not the church, not the saints, not in Mary, and not some priest, prophet or pastor.

Jesus is our perfecter

Why would the Pope say such a thing? Because they say that you cannot understand the Bible on your own without their spin on it. They say that you need the mediation of men rather than God, because they say that God is unapproachable thus you have to use saints to help you. However, none of this is supported in God’s word and they know it. The Jewish leaders also tried to keep God from direct access by the people too and they still do to today. Their hierarchy of priests even though God ordained, was eliminated by God himself when Christ died as portrayed by the tearing of the veil in the temple from the top to the bottom, giving every man, woman and child direct access to God the Father in his throne. Thus, if the Jewish priests are not needed any more, then why do we think we need Catholic ones now? We don’t. Jesus is your high priest read Hebrews chapters 8-10. Jesus is all you need. Go to him in faith, confess your need of him- asking forgiveness, and trust Him that he is your righteousness and you will be saved. Then – He will perfect you into his image (Phil 1:6; and Heb 12:2)– God guarantees it.

That is all for 2 Corinthians,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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