“…the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – 1 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV
I don’t understand the controversy surrounding the message of grace. It’s the best news I’ve heard in my life, but my eyes were opened to it when I was depraved. Is that what you must be to see the hope of grace?
Your understanding of light is relative to your understanding of dark. The worst thing a person can do is stand in the darkness while claiming and cursing the light simultaneously. It’s especially damaging when done with the language of those who understand the light because the ignorance is obvious. It’s the man who was scheduled for surgery, but shows up with a scalpel. Instead of being cut open and rebuilt, he wants to cut someone else.
Scripture is to be used to build up the faith, not dismantle it. Faith is built on the hope of the resurrection of Jesus. Anything that you can do in and of yourself to add to that is a subtraction to the absolute dependance on the only message that saves. Those who know this do not focus on religion. Religion is for those who don’t know that righteous and holy living are the effects of grace, not the license. Yet, you must be careful of the message that dismantles because those who live under the slavery of anything but Love will claim that they are empowered by God. …claiming and cursing light simultaneously.
For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst. They’ve got to be shut up. – Titus 1:10-11
‘The loose, confusing, and deceiving talk’ is the message that condemns others with no hope. The message that is confusing is the one that puts the responsibility for right-living on the person while still claiming that right-living is a gift from God. They talk out of both sides of their mouth, preaching salvation through faith to one group and slanderous judgment to another. Sin uses what is good as a mask to destroy people. The ‘good’ is God’s law, the destruction is evident when you face the impossibility of obeying it (Romans 7). That’s what sin does. It uses what is good to condemn. That’s what people do, they use the scriptures to cut others to pieces.
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. -2 Peter 1:3
Itchy ears want to hear the message that gives them an edge in a competition they should have no part in. Itchy ears are aching to hear a message that gives them hope in themselves and elevates them above those who they think are less moral. Itchy ears want to know how to live in assurance of salvation without having to rely on grace. Grace is viewed as weak.
The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence. It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. – 1 Timothy 1:5-8
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully… – 1 Timothy 1:5-8 ESV (Same passage, different translation.)
If you are not a slave to grace, then you are a slave to law (1 Timothy 1:9. Romans 6:14). You cannot be both. …claiming and cursing light simultaneously. Asserting religion while having no idea what they’re talking about.
Anyone who actually knows Jesus knows that righteousness comes by faith. Grace not only frees a person from their sin, but it transforms them into someone who does not want to sin. This is not something you have to do, it is something that is done. If the message of grace and love seem to be a departure from doctrine, to water it down, you must question what doctrine you are trying to hold on to. The resurrection of Jesus is the most powerful message that you can send. It’s the message that hopeless hearts and tormented spirits are dying to hear.
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. – 1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV (emphasis mine)
People will try to dispute the motives of anyone who teaches that grace and love, the results produced by Jesus, are the only way to live. They will say that the message seems too inclusive and sets too many people free. That’s the point. The fear is that if people are free from condemnation, then there is nothing keeping them from repeating their sinful behavior. These are the people who have not experienced the transformation power of grace. They fight about terminology, cause divisions, assassinate characters, live in suspicion, and cause fights. People who thrive on debates are corrupt and stripped of Truth (see the above verse for how I came to this conclusion.)
Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. -1 Timothy 6:11-12
Bend your ears toward love. Listen for the message that brings salvation, not condemnation. Decide to know nothing but Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV