I was challenged recently by a contractor who happened to notice the end-times timeline on the wall as he walked through the church building. He spent a considerable amount of time attempting to persuade me that not only can we not possibly know what God has planned, but that those of us who spend time studying eschatology (future things) lose touch with meeting the needs of the people that Jesus came to save in the first place. He likened it to those who are so concerned with their own personal holiness that they build tower walls to separate themselves from the world and have no impact on it. It was a lively debate and I certainly hope we weren’t paying him hourly…. But it did remind me of something in Pastor Grout’s recent blogs that said that we shouldn’t be too quick to brush off criticism without first seeing if any of it is merited.
Am I so preoccupied with being right about doctrine, including eschatology, that I’m not involved in doing good things in people’s lives? Or am I so concerned about remaining unstained by the world that I have no contact with the world for whom Christ died? The answer for me, and I contend for all of us, is “NO!” Even if we really are completely disconnected from doing good and from loving people, it’s NOT because we are too highly focused on doctrine and/or holiness. It might be that our lives are too crowded. It might be timidity. It might be laziness, or selfishness, or ______. But it’s not holiness and it’s not “looking for the blessed hope” that keeps the “Good News” bottled up inside of us!
Let’s look at a familiar text:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. Titus 2:11-14 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Looks to me, that If I’m living the way God intended, God’s grace not only saves me, but it trains me to live a more holy life, it encourages me to look forward to His coming and will make me zealous for good works!!
Beloved, with the Holy Spirit living in us, not only can we walk and chew gum at the same time – we are supposed to!