by Tony Stone
There’s temptations of every sort to our left and right. There’s a real sense of urgency to examine how we guard each other as Christians from those temptations. We have a tendency to err when it comes to accountability. I’m not tackling every possible aspect, but two of the common ways that we err.
One way we err is on the side of giving our brother 100 miles of space (essentially abandoning him) under the premise that this is the 21st century and we need our space. Another way that we err is on the side of smothering and essentially trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit in a moment by moment reminder of sin and it’s danger. Both errors flow out of unbelief- one is an unbelief that God has included fellowship in the process of sanctification and perseverance, and the other is unbelief that God ultimately is the one who keeps us.
God includes community
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
God is the one who keeps us
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30
I use this text because it’s a clear text that shows us that God is the one who completes the work in us. There’s others. In the passage, it’s clear that in Paul’s mind, he doesn’t think that a community (or myself) is the one who predestines, justifies or glorifies. He’s communicating how all of our salvation is brought about by God Himself. Everything. That includes my sanctification. God is doing it all. He secures our entry into heaven. Unbelief in this will make you a control freak, trying to produce sanctification in the life of yourself and others. It will never work.
God has called us to serve each other with these two realities in mind. Let’s remind each other of the gospel daily because God is working out His will for our conformity and glorification (Phillipians 2:13)!