Renewing Our Values: "The Return to Costly Grace" – 1 Timothy 1

Costly Grace

Renewing Our Values: "The Return to Costly Grace" – 1 Timothy 1

jets versus patriotsThe Jets won 30-27 against the New England Patriots in overtime a few weeks ago in North Rutherford, NJ, but that wasn’t the end of the clash. Apparently, a man in Jets fan gear was caught on a cell phone video punching a woman in the face during a brawl outside MetLife Stadium after the game. When I saw it, I was simply stunned. Then I listened to blogosphere commentators explain why it may have been justified. I have no words… Let me ask you something: Have any of you ever been SHOCKED by a stranger’s public display? Have you ever seen someone in a bathing suit that made you believe they didn’t understand the whole purpose of clothing? If you spend any time in public these days, you may find yourself shaking your head at what some in our dear country have come to see as acceptable public behavior. Pass quickly through the channels of a TV set on any given night, and you will likely hear words that were once barred from use in mixed company. You don’t have to be a keen observer of culture to notice how far America has moved from the 1939 shocker that rippled outward from “Gone with the Wind” at the box office as Clark Gable’s famous words echoed from the broken antebellum south: “Frankly Scarlett…” (you get the idea…). Any frank look at American life will force you to conclude that our country no longer holds back. From “costume failures” to the most vulgar expressions, the standard for acceptable behavior is changing – and it doesn’t appear it is heading in the direction of restraint in any area. It is becoming swiftly redefined in movies, TV, video games and even in speeches of our public officials.

Truthfully, none of us are shocked anymore. In fact, one of the lost emotive states of the modern American is the “blush”. As the country changes, so the lines are being re-drawn in the American church. We now accept what we would not have recognized in the past. To be candid, in some areas, this is an improvement, for we drew lines in earlier times more tightly than the Bible. We fought too long and too hard over church doctrinal minutiae that now can’t get a hearing. Thankfully, we have grown more sensitive to our public perception as the people who are “against everything”, the original “party of no”! I hear more and more appropriate laughter among God’s people than I used to – and for that I am very thankful. At the same time, with the strong storms of a vulgar culture on the horizon, it seems time for us to look again at what Scripture defines as proper behavior, particularly among those who name Christ as Savior.

For that reason, in our next series of lessons from God’s Word, I want to return to the familiar territory of Paul’s Epistles to struggling younger Pastors and churches of the first century, this time for eight lessons from the first epistle written to Timothy. I am aware that most every believer, after your first years in the faith, has been invited to study these letters perhaps numerous times, so they are by no means unfamiliar, but there is a reason we need to renew our study in these ancient words. With the shift in the winds of the culture, standards appear to be changing inside the churches across our land. We must recognize the changes, and be prepared to guard the teaching of God’s Word, while being a friendly and loving congregation. We don’t want to be a negative group, because that isn’t how God has called us to think, let alone live. We want to be winsome and happy but vigilant and prepared. We don’t live in fear of coming changes, but we do live watchfully, guarding our young and preparing our people.

The letter to Timothy is not an evangelistic one – for Tim knew Jesus. Therefore, our series will be chiefly directed at RENEWING PROPER BEHAVIOR among believers, since that was what Paul was addressing. That means the problems aren’t new, but are rather a resurgence of an old strategy of our enemy. As we progress, we will be examining eight specific problems that believers have faced through the centuries, and apply God’s prescription for both preventative care and serious correction of each. For a quick preview, the eight are as follows:

Study One: Returning to Costly Grace: (1 Tim. 1) a study in which we examine the way that grace has been being misconstrued by pitting lifestyle standards as beyond the scope of God’s desire in us.

Study Two: Renewing Commitment to God’s Sovereignty: (1 Timothy 2:1-8) where we will contrast angry disputations with peaceful prayer.

Study Three: Refocusing on Proper Affirmation: (1 Timothy 2:9-15) which will help us re-examine the wrong emphasis we place on physical appearance over the spiritual reality.

Study Four: Restoring an Emphasis on Character: (1 Timothy 3:1-7) where we will recognize that true character is more important than pragmatic solution.

Study Five: Recognizing the Value of Servanthood: (1 Timothy 3:8-16) where we will again recall how the vital connection of the body has been designed to function.

Study Six: Realigning Priorities to Guard Truth: (1 Timothy 4:1-16) where we will directly confront theassault on truth and the erosion of resistance to standing for it.

Study Seven: Redefining Standards in Relationships: (1 Timothy 5:1-6:12) where we will look closely at God’s intended behaviors that should mark a believer.

Study Eight: Regaining a Hunger for True Wealth: (1 Timothy 6:3-21) where we will re-evaluate the attraction of temporal gain in light of eternal truth.

If you look over the subjects in the series, they touch issues like behavior and license, anger and confidence, emphasis on physique versus inner beauty, developing leadership with character to take us forward, remembering the sweet aroma of servanthood, building resistance to diseased thinking, learning true care toward others and making clear what real wealth is, and what it is not.

A Place to Begin – Grace Renewed

Let’s start where Paul did – with a concern about the perversion of the basic grace message of the church. To set this up, I want to take you to the words of Pastor Tim Keller that I lifted from the beginning of the sensational biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer written by Eric Metaxas. The quote succinctly explained how Germany, and particularly the German church, was set up to allow the rise of evil with so few words of protest. Kellers quote is a good explanation:

It is impossible to understand Bonehoeffer’s [written work] without becoming acquainted with the shocking capitulation of the German church to Hitler in the 1930s. How could the “church of Luther,” that great teacher of the Gospel have ever come to such a place? The answer is that the true gospel, summed up by Bonhoeffer as costly grace, had been lost. On the one hand, the church had become marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter how you live. Bonhoeffer called this cheap grace. On the other hand, there was legalism, or salvation by law and good works. Legalism meant that God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good, disciplined life. Both of these impulses made it possible for Hitler to come to power…. Germany lost hold of the brilliant balance of the gospel that Luther so persistently expounded – “We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith which is alone.” That is, we are saved, not by anything we do, but by grace. Yet, if we have truly understood and believed the gospel, it will change what we do and how we live… Costly grace changes you from the inside out. Neither law not cheap grace can do that.”

Did you catch what Keller said about grace? That is the message of Paul to the young pastor in 1 Timothy 1, and it is our key principle…

Key Principle: We are saved by grace through faith alone, but true faith (real apprehension of what God says is true) never stands alone. Real faith works. Real faith changes us. Real faith in the heart can be seen in the hands and feet.

Today we need to think about what a “grace through faith” relationship with God is all about. God isn’t asking you to clean up your life to be worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice – because you can’t do that. At the same time, the bigger problem in our time seems to be the number of people that have somehow come to believe that God is up in Heaven simply forgiving everyone of everything, because they think that is “His job”. The Bible doesn’t agree at all. God LOVES you, and that is why He paid for your sin. At the same time, God LOVES you, and that is why He wants your relationship with Him to change your life.

The Context: Relationship

Before we can explore our relationship with God, we have to admit something. We came to Jesus, most of us, because of a relationship we had with someone on earth. Someone we loved and trusted led us to their Savior, and He became our Savior. That was true of Timothy, and the man that led him to Jesus was Paul the Apostle. Look at how Paul’s letter recalls their relationship warmly.

1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, [who is] our hope, 2 To Timothy, [my] true child in [the] faith: Grace, mercy [and] peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Can you hear how the relationship is the basis of the instruction? Before we even attempt to look at the instructions that God tailored for this young and struggling leader of the faith, stop and consider the five relational truths revealed in the opening lines:

First, Paul was an ambassador of Jesus Christ – and that made his words carry authority and weight. This wasn’t an edict of strong opinion, but a letter with the full authority of the Lord of Heaven. That means the words weren’t merely the advice of a fellow traveler, but were the pressing commands of a representative of the Holy One. When a believer immerses himself or herself in the study of the Word, and can wisely bring that word to bear in a situation – they become an ambassador of God to a needy and hurting person.

Second, Paul held his commission by command of the Lord. He did not feel free to allow his relationships to determine his prescriptions. He didn’t soften truth out of some misconstrued idea of love. He listened to the Lord’s instruction and faithfully accepted the command of the Lord in his life to speak that truth. People need to be able to count on us to hold fast the standard of sound words without wavering, because we are called and commanded by God.

Third, Paul shared a living hope with Timothy – the promise of a great destiny. The troubles of the current days had to be placed in the context of the whole of eternity. The sufferings of the current time, even those that included Paul’s incarceration, were always to be considered with the delights of eternity just over the horizon. Believers need to be constantly re-focused to see beyond today’s troubles and see tomorrow’s promise of eternal life with a wonderful Savior!

Fourth, Paul buried his relationship toward Timothy deeply in his heart. Paul wasn’t just an instructor, a warrior and an ambassador – he was a lover of people. He cared deeply for Timothy. What hindered his ministry, what caused him pain and suffering, also affected his mentor. People need to know we truly love them if they are going to hear hard things from us about their behavior.

Fifth, Paul hungered for Timothy to have a full grasp of God’s favor, mercy and peace. Paul didn’t want to simply “graduate” Tim from a seminar or program – he wanted to see the young man grasp more than the technique of ministry. He longed for Tim to grab and hold tightly the garment of God. He wanted Tim to understand in the deepest part of him the real favor, blessing, mercy and comfort that only God’s personal touch can bring. A teacher may be happy if the students get a good grade – a mentor wants them to get a good life. They want to see their follower end up in the embrace of Jesus.

What a relationship! In the end, a deeply loving ambassador of Jesus who followed his Lord’s commands, looked with anticipation toward sharing a common exciting future and called on Tim to listen to the words that could change his life, if they were heeded! With an opening like that, I am certain Tim gave what followed his full attention!

The Two Grace Problem

As you read over the verses of the first chapter, you get the sense that Paul was trying to unknot a string that was wound together and causing him trouble in the church. Something wasn’t working correctly, and Paul knew that it emanated from a few people who thought they knew how to teach truth – but they were far off the mark. Some were teaching costly grace, and others were using the terminology to create a cheap “knock off” of license wrapped in God words. Take a closer look and it will become clearer. Paul told Tim five important things that made the difference:

First, hold the line:

Real men and women of God don’t want to fight – they are FORCED to defend the truth against attack – because that is what honors God and His Word. Paul mentioned it in 1:3, and then reiterated it in 1:18.

3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines…18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, [my] son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,

To fight, Paul made clear to Tim that he had to remain in place. He told him not to run from the struggle! (1:3a). There was a time when that was obvious, but it is no more! My father spent his entire life on the same job, married to the same woman, living with the same family – that would be an exceptional accomplishment today. Staying power is lost in companies – on jobs – in marriages – in relationships. Now what has been true in the world has become true in the body of Christ. Pastors stay a very short time. Workers stay for only a short time. Commitments must be in smaller and smaller blocks. Ministry seems to be in a constant turmoil of change! We must be leaders that will stay put when things aren’t easy!

At a time when the enemy will plot for a generation, churches think in six week series terms. There has to be a better strategy than the next new seminar and the next publishing house push. The Bible has 1189 chapters, and few believers ever systematically study all of them. Something is wrong, and it ISN’T that God didn’t provide the information. Men and women of God MUST, not as a duty, but as a privilege and delight, bathe our minds in the Word of God.

Second, avoid the distractions:

Real men and women of God recognize fruitless discussion and simply steer people away from it. They judge the value of the time spent by whether it helps people manage their walk with God more in harmony with a Biblical point of view.

4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than [furthering] the administration of God which is by faith.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Stay away from the speculative nibbling at the edge of Scripture. Feed your mind on the Word, and not the windless fantasy that purports to teach its lessons. If what you are reading and listening to is not the Scripture, never refrain from dropping your guard! Be careful to continually set parameters on the teaching and ideas you consume. (1:3b-4). These are times with a lot of strange teaching. People who have little knowledge of God’s Word have confident opinions – like the loud old west “snake oil” salesman. They avoid the tough words of surrender to Christ, but enjoin you to enjoy more, and indulge more.

They could convince you the conviction symptoms you felt weren’t serious. The same is happening in the church today! Here is the truth! You can know if your heart is in trouble:

• When the things of God do not stir you
• When the glories of heaven do not interest you
• When the horrors of hell do not concern you
• When the peril of the lost doesn’t move you
• When the Word of God does not attract you
• When the idea of prayer does not draw you
• When the worship of God does not delight you
• When you do not see daily life as a way to perform the will of God… you are having a heart attack.

It is time to change direction. It is time to re-open to wholesome teaching and clarity building words. It is time to look seriously at the Word and grasp anew the SIMPLE PRIORITIES of what God said.

The sad fact is that when we stop making the Main thing the Main thing, any church is bound to wander into some form of legalism or mysticism that bypasses God’s real message – intimacy that leads to loving obedience.

For some reason Christians seem to be drawn in by:

Trendy but shallow teachings that are based on pop psychology and feel-goodism.

Flashy ministries that focus on constant signs and wonders … with lots of emotionalism, mysticism, and appeals for money-ism.

Harsh voices of forceful leaders with doctrines full of rules and regulations about how to dress and talk and even think … but the next step is to decide that EVERYONE has to subscribe to their particular slant. And if they don’t … well, they’re just plain WRONG. Worse yet, they are not “worthy.” Maybe they’re not even saved. And we certainly can’t fellowship with them until the others come around and see the light.

I once spoke in a church that taught that if your children weren’t home schooled you were living a compromised lifestyle and should seek the Lord as to whether you were saved or not.

Legalism takes a lot of different forms. But it always has these characteristics:

• Legalism takes what is accessible and makes it unreachable.
• It takes a blessing and makes it a burden.
• It takes what is simple and makes it too complex for the average guy to grasp!

I laugh at this example, but this story perfectly illustrates it:

One man wrote: “I saw a pamphlet recently about simple steps to better health. Chapter 1 said: DRINK MORE WATER. I was thinking, “Hey, how hard could THAT be?” Well, I found out how hard it could be… Then they offered a few rules for water drinking:

• Never drink Tap Water — the Chlorine will give you Cancer, the Fluoride will give you Arthritis, and the Aluminum will give you Alzheimer’s
• Never drink Bottled Water — the plastic bottle contaminates it, and bacteria grows when it sits around
• Don’t drink Filtered Water – it isn’t filtered enough and Distilled Water is filtered too much to carry in it what you need.
o The only water you SHOULD drink is water from an Alkaline Filter with a PH above 7. It must go through a second Electrolysis Filter, creating a rich, dense, hexagonal molecular structure. (You can install this filter for a mere $200, or buy it in Glass Bottles at your nearest Health Food Store.) You need to drink 2 gallons of this magic concoction every day — but only at room temperature, and NOT with your meals.

Well, reading all that made me so thirsty I went outside and guzzled water out of my garden hose – and boy did that taste perfect!”

Third, focus on the proper goals:

Real men and women of God get the point of the teaching of the Word. The goals are clear. We are seeking to produce people who live a life of unselfish actions with pure motives, moral clarity and an authentic Biblical world view.

5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith… 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

• If we don’t give opportunity to serve in the body of Christ and in the community, we will become unbalanced Christians – and these invariably become critical and opinionated slothful believers.

• If we don’t keep proper light on MOTIVATION, we can get a room of people who come her to find mates, gain customers or look for someone to dump their responsibilities upon.

• If we don’t emphasize moral clarity, we will get a room full of people who have a SUNDAY GOD that doesn’t affect their MONDAY CHOICES.

• If we hobby-horse on a favorite subject and don’t teach the whole Word of God – our world view will be a warped one that our little group all believes – in spite of the fact that it doesn’t reflect what God’s Word truly teaches.

Paul wanted Tim to recognize the goal of the true teaching of God’s church. Don’t skip it – learn it from 1 Timothy 1:5 – it will help you spot counterfeiters.

Ask the first question: Does the teaching cause me to live out unselfish actions from pure motives? We want deliberately to produce WORKING CHRISTIANS, not just theoretical theologians. The world has seen too many who can postulate and theologize, and too few who are making an impact.

In central Italy there stands a church at Assisi that is unlike any other I have ever been to. It is a church building WITHIN a church building. The small chapel that was entirely enclosed later within a larger church recalls what Francis of Assisi (born just before 1200) did to kick off what became a world wide movement of the Franciscans. He believed God told him to “rebuild His church” – so he sold his horse to get some supplies and picked up a stone and began rebuilding a wall. He decided that if the message of the Gospel meant anything to him, he should take an old and broken down chapel and rebuild it. He thought God saved him so that he should DO something… something for others.

The Gospel isn’t just about the salvation WE GET, it is about the changed life WE HAVE, and the loving acts WE DO because of the change HE MADE! In an effort to steer people away from a works salvation, we sometimes forget that the TRUTH IS SUPPOSED TO CHANGE OUR WORKS!

Ask a second question when you engage Bible instruction: Is the goal is to produce disciples that understand MORAL CLARITY in an age where wrong is increasingly called right? Proper instruction of God’s Word must unapologetically define moral boundaries by what the Bible teaches – not what the crowd wants God to teach.

A third question should also be applied: Is the goal of the instruction to produce believers with a Biblical world view? The term “sincere faith” means a straightforward look at what God says is true (1:5).

There was a world famous animal trainer who gave command performances with his wild beasts. He used lions, tigers, elephants, horses and other animals in his acts. One of his favorite was his pet boa constrictor. He had raised this creature from a little thing and used it for over 25 years. It grew to be 35 feet long. All this time he had fed it and cared for it on a daily basis. In this act he would have the snake wind itself around him and it was strong enough to crush his body but every time it would release him at the last moment which brought cheers from the crowd. It happened one day that this act was being performed when the snake all of sudden took on its true nature and started squeezing the trainer and did not let loose as the crowd saw this man die. He screamed but it was too late for help. This story tells us something of an evil nature may seem harmless at first but in the end cause death.

The Bible makes clear that you have an enemy, and God has not been unclear about how he works in your life:

• First, he baits a hook with a temptation to dangle before you. He knows what is appealing to you, so he uses whatever he can to best to capture your attention. His goal is to destroy any effect you will have with Jesus working through you.

• Second, he works the images and desires our undisciplined mind has allowed to rattle around inside us. He pits our flesh’s strength against the shadowy world of the spirit. He makes NOW more important than THEN. He make WANT more important than HAVE.

• Finally, we forget our blessed life. We forget our good God. All we can see is that we WANT. We jump up on the throne of our lives and begin to give instruction. What we fail to see in that moment is how much our voice sounds exactly like the tempter that coaxed us to the chair.

Without an eye on the proper goals – we will spend our energies on the WRONG ONES.

Fourth, we must learn to recognize the counterfeits:

Paul didn’t just outline true goals, he helped Timothy to identify traits of the fake, and recognize problems that come with wrong focus. Some people will call the fellowship into frivolous discussions (1:6) and act like they have authority, but be thoroughly confident incompetents (1:7). There have always been sincere teachers of the Word that didn’t know what they were talking about. The teaching of God’s Word is not merely teaching from God’s Word. It is the careful explanation and proper application in life of what the text says, not what we think punctuated by verses. Look at the way Paul identified the problem:

8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted…20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

Take it apart, and what Paul said was this: The Word of God isn’t the problem – the application is what is tricky. If we use the Word to allow things that God has said are wrong, we aren’t using the Word properly at all.

Believers have to restore right thinking (1:8-10). We must understand that the law has PRINCIPLE value in our lives, even if we aren’t bound to keep those things written to others (1:8). The law helps us judge right from wrong and good from evil (1:9). Without the standard of the Word, “good” might be a flexible term defined by our preferences or polls. We are to think rightly in the area of a core message as well, and get back to the Gospel as the main thing we share (1:10f).

o If you want to press for a Bible that disrespects parents and trashes God’s view of the family – you don’t want the Bible God wrote.

o If you want a Bible that doesn’t care about the killing of babies in the womb – you don’t want the one God composed.

o If you want a Bible that doesn’t define the terms of marriage as one man and one woman – you don’t want the one the church has preached through the ages.

By the way, I am not hobby-horsing about gay marriage. If a large group of Americans starts preaching that God is OK with lying, I will equally climb on their back. Let’s get serious. The Bible doesn’t say what they want it to say – and that isn’t my problem.

I don’t want to sound unkind – but kindness in this debate has gotten us NOTHING BUT CONTINUALLY BACKING UP until our chaplains can’t even preach the truth of the Bible in a chapel service without peril. This has gone far enough. If they want to dismiss the Bible, that is one thing – but they need to stop swearing honesty on a Bible they are now trying to re-write in front of a Biblically illiterate generation’s eyes. It defines marriage and it defines proper sexual expression. It isn’t mistranslated. It isn’t unclear. It is just inconvenient if you don’t agree with what it says.

o If you want a Bible that doesn’t smack down the idea of kidnapping, lying and cheating – you need to print a different version than the one we have had our whole lives.

God isn’t waiting for Americans to vote or agree – He is awaiting Americans that wish to open their heart to the Creator’s words as He wrote them. His universe – His rules. All the other versions being touted are cheap knock offs of the truth. God knows what He thinks, and He didn’t make it so complicated to understand.

Fifth. we must truly recall the wonder of the Gospel:

The church cannot live for a moment without its chief message – the Gospel! Look at how Paul said it:

1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are [found] in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost [of all]. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, [be] honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

We have to realize how good God has been to us – and share it every day! (1:12-17). Paul never lost the wonder that God could and did redeem someone like him. He viewed himself as the supreme example of God’s saving grace. Paul knew that we are saved by God’s mercy, not our merit; by Christ’s dying not our doing; by trusting and not trying! We have been saved by Grace. The end of the passage offers is a picture of the pattern of grace – “Jesus put me into service” (1:12); the power of grace – “I was shown mercy” (1:13); the perfection of Grace – “more abundant” (1:14); the purpose of Grace – “to save sinners…I am the foremost!” (1:15-16); the praise from Grace – “be honor and glory!” (1:17).

The Bible records the conversions of the demoniac at Gadara, the despised tax collector and traitor to his people Matthew, blind Bartimaeus, an adulterous Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus, the Roman centurion at the Crucifixion, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunuch, the Philippian jailer, and Lydia, among others. But of all the conversions ever recorded none was more remarkable than that of Saul of Tarsus. This bitter enemy of the cause of Christ, in his own words the foremost of all sinners, became the greatest evangelist & theologian the world has ever seen. Acts 9, 22, 26, Galatians 1-2, Philippians 3, and 1 Timothy 1 all describe aspects of his conversion.

One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart. She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. But, the change in her was evident. As time went on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor’s son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans. This is when the problems began. You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor’s son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past. As she began to cry the pastor’s son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak and his statement was this: “My fiancee’s past is not what is on trial here. What you are questioning is the ability of the Blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?” The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are saved by grace through faith alone, but true faith (real apprehension of what God says is true) never stands alone. Real faith works. Real faith changes us. Real faith in the heart can be seen in the hands and feet.