“And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin?” -Galatians 2:17 MSG
Being justified by faith takes a great deal of faith. You are fully aware that you are not yet perfect and that your story of God’s grace presents issue with people who are weak in the faith. “How can you say that you are not living in sin when your life has been completely changed by sin?” Their doubt in God’s grace poses a challenge to what you know God brought you through, has forgiven you of, and no longer holds over your head. It’s a spiritual attack from the mouths of spiritual babes.
This is something that can either make you lash out in pride or worse, you can doubt your own salvation. The key to being able to withstand the doubts and attacks from those who don’t think your life looks like it should is to understand that they feel they have to earn and maintain their salvation on their own. They have a relationship with the law and are not under the new covenant of Christ. They do not understand grace, they doubt it for themselves, and therefore doubt it for you. You have to be patient with their doubt and be very careful not to let it contaminate your own faith. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that you didn’t understand grace either.
Grace makes people think that it weakens Jesus. There is no apology to the doubter for the clean sweep that grace makes of a complete failure’s life.
Jesus is judged by who He loves, instead of those loves being judged by the love of God. No one wants to see their idea of Christ contaminated by a known sinner, albeit forgiven and sanctified in Christ, so they cast shadows and doubt over His loves and attack their character. They try to separate you from Christ in an attempt to keep Him holy and out of reach.
“You may say the right words and offer up your prayers for forgiveness, but you’re not fooling God,” says the doubter. And they refuse to be ‘fooled’ by your ‘act’ of redemption, too.
“The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.” -Galatians 2:18 MSG
It’s a spiritual battle that you get dragged in to. These are the lies of the enemy of Jesus trying to get you to believe that you must earn your right instead of accepting the free gift. They want to hide you away and keep your eye-witeness account of what Jesus can do from being heard.
They fear that if people know what God can forgive, then it will cause disorder. They don’t trust that God maintains order through grace.
This isn’t necessarily a conscious decision on their part, but it’s a deep fear of failure and pride that leads to doubt that makes them behave the way they do. They don’t see their behavior the way the recipient does. Unchecked, they can be brutal and even cause what appears to be damage to the spreading of the Gospel. This is when you can align your prayers with the one Jesus prayed on the cross, “Forgive them Father. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
They don’t know that when they stand against you and what Jesus has done for you, that they’re standing against Him and what He did for them, too. If they really knew, it would crush them. Maybe one day they, too, will know. Until then:
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.”-1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG