Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's Let a Man Mature

Romans 15:1 KJV
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

John R Rice wrote in his book on Acts that the Apostle was wrong to go to Jerusalem and compromise with the Judaizers by performing a vow in the Temple. Rice believed that Paul's love for the Jews clouded his judgment and led him into the trap that caused his arrest and imprisonment.[1]

But Paul's actions in Jerusalem are completely consistent with the message of Romans chapter fifteen. Paul believed that, though he was sure the position of the Judaizers was wrong, they were his brothers and sisters in the Lord and he must bear their infirmities in the sense of accepting them as brethren and putting up with their error until they had matured enough to receive his truth. He obviously did not mean this to mean that the truths concerning Christian liberties should not be taught because he did teach them. But he allowed for the immaturity of these Jewish believers and yielded what he knew to be his liberty for their benefit.

Did it cost him? Yes it did. It cost him his freedom. Eventually it cost him his life. But that did not change his conviction.

A Baptist always lets a man mature in faith as God leads. [2]

[1] John R Rice, Filled With the Spirit, pages 450-451, 456-457
[2] I look back at my growing years as a Christian and am thankful for the patience of those God placed before me as my pastors. There were times when my lack of separation must have been the source of many prayers between my pastor and the Lord. Years later my zeal was way ahead of my maturity and I preached messages and said things that must have given my pastor heartburn. Never do I remember feeling like I was anything other than loved and trusted and a blessing to those men. Though looking back I am sure that it cost them to let the Lord deal with me in His time, I am thankful that they did. 

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