I want to say thanks to a Christian pastor who is also an artist. But it isn’t just his beautiful pictures that I appreciate it is his willingness to speak truth to darkness and take the ugliness that follows.
John Stuart, (Stushie,) is a Scottish pastor in Tennessee. You can see his art at Presbyterian Bloggers and at one of his own sites Stushie's Art. He has a host of other sites; you can find them by looking at his profile page.
But the subject I was writing about is his sometimes visit to John Shuck’s site. One of the last times he commented he pointed out the darkness that Shuck was leading others into. And one of those commenting there made the usual case that Stushie must be a heretic because he is deciding who will go to heaven and who won’t –so, so much for God’s electing grace was the thought.
But does God’s electing grace mean that those who have been claimed by Jesus Christ will go on practicing sin; not repenting of hurting their Lord? What about Bonhoeffer’s term costly grace? “What does the word of God say?
“But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found sinners, is Christ then a minster of sin? May it never be! For if I should rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the law so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:17-20)
God’s word has plenty of warnings for those who practice such duplicity, but he also has mercy stored up for his children. The believer is daily transformed, being made like Christ. We are not without sin, but the Holy Spirit works in us. We grieve because of our sin and hopefully listen to the admonition of brothers and sisters.
God does give the gift of discernment. Paul used it, “But Saul who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him [Elymas the magician] and said, ‘You who are full of deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you son of all unrighteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:9-10)
And through the Holy Spirit, a gift of comfort is given: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt. 5: 11-12)