Who Wants to End Up Like Ted Haggard?

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The word grace originates from the Greek χαρις or charis. It is used 131 times in 122 verses of the New Testament.

Though Jesus himself was never quoted using the word grace, He did, however, demonstrate its application throughout every moment of His earthly ministry. He determined that He would choose ill-equipped men, entrusting them to deliver this message of salvation and ensure its perpetuity.

I dare say that not one of the original 12 would ever be hired on any church staff in our modern church era.

At one point or another, every single one of them turned their back on Jesus. Peter even denied ever knowing Him. Paul confessed to having some sort of “thorn in his flesh.” Jesus did not throw them away. He restored. This is what grace is. This is what grace does.

Grace is a verb. It is an action. It is the vehicle that transports salvation, forgiveness, mercy and every gift of God to every circumstance and situation in the believer’s life.

Grace is confrontational. To quote my friend Michael Cheshire, “Grace has bad breath.” When we walk in and exercise grace toward one another, we walk so close to our brothers in Christ that we feel their breath upon the nape of our neck.

Grace is advocacy. When we walk in grace, we become like Jesus (the advocate of the sinful and hurting heart).

We all agree that our God is holy. He hates sin; however, He loves the one who sins. He came to redeem us from our sin. God is love. God is good.

We know that sin attempts to separate us from the One who loves us most.

Does the modern church truly understand God’s forgiveness? It appears that we love the concept of forgiveness of sin until someone actually sins. It seems that our understanding of redemption does not match in practical application.

We use phrases like, “Well, that disqualifies them from ministry,” as if to say that there is some type of loophole in the contractual obligation set forth by the Father when the blood of the Son was shed.

If the gospel does not apply to the fallen or the broken, who does it apply to? How does grace apply to us when we sin? Where sin abides, does grace much more abide?  

There is a deeply rooted weed in our theology that seems to trip us all up. When we read our Bibles, most of us do the same thing. We read a bit of the Old Testament along with the New Testament and interchange the principles. This is erroneous at best.

The reason that the book of Hebrews was written was because there were many Jews who were doing just that. They would incorporate the concepts of Old Testament law and amalgamate them to the New Testament teachings of grace. This very idea has created controversy in the church. Did the Law fail? Did our Savior completely fulfill the Law?

I am by no means attempting to minimize the Old Testament. It has its place. The word Testament itself comes from the Hebrew word (בְּרִית) Beriyth. Literally translated, it means “to cut until blood flows.” The Old Beriyth was based upon works righteousness. As a result of Adam’s sin, we were separated from the presence of God. Man tried to cover his sin with leaves, and God demanded that blood had to be shed to cover man’s nakedness. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no covering for sin.”

When Jesus, the perfect lamb came, He did not just cover our sin. His blood set forth the New Beriyth, which eradicated sin. As far as heaven is concerned, it never happened.

How can we be disqualified for something that the judge of the universe declares never happened? Are we limiting the power of the eternal in exchange for temporal memory? Are there cases where truly repentant individuals cannot be forgiven and restored to their calling?

Dr. Mark Rutland's

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