“On Your Mark”
Uncompromising Love (Chapter 8 Verses 31-33)
The severity of the command is alarming, especially to our day of spoiled Christians, very few of which would ever take such a rebuke as this. You know, the proud, fiery spirit of the day, so puffed up and conceited there is no dealing with them whatsoever. They will not take a reproof, and admonition even given for their benefit. If everything is not in accordance with their own minds, they will contemptuously throw off the Church, its ordinances, they will turn their backs on Christ, rather than submit to any authority. It is the spirit of the world. But what a warning is this to us all here, to guard our misguided love and good intentions, our very best actions. Is it possible we could be agreeing with Satan instead of the Lord Jesus? It is always safest for our minds to be regulated, our thinking to be transformed and renewed constantly by the word of God (Romans 13.1-3).
But notice too, just when this attack comes? Just after Peter’s great confession, revealed of course to him by the Father (Matthew 16.16-17). He did not work it out by himself. The most dangerous time in our Christian experience, is just after a great victory, some significant service, or spiritual progress. We are flying high, cock-a-hoop with ourselves, and in comes the enemy. Watch and pray (Matthew 26.41)! A rock? Peter? No way. It is Peter’s confession that is the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. The Bible gives no rose-tinted picture of Peter or anyone else. Peter the infallible Pope? We think not! Peter the disciple and apostle, a chosen sinner like all other sinners, in need of a Saviour every hour, every day, all his life-long. But notice the most important thing of all. Christ does not reject Peter, cast him off because of his failures. What comfort, what grace, what unfailing, and unconditional love (John 6.37). Do grasp the important implications of the Lord’s words and actions here, he orders Peter out of his sight because of his position, his thinking with regards to the things of God (v33). Now does not that highlight for us the important New Testament principles of Biblical separation (Romans 16.17-18; 2John 10-11). Surely if people albeit professing Christians, if their thinking is not aligned to Christ’s, if they persistently and belligerently refuse to be corrected, and to walk in the light (1John 1.5ff), can we have any more truck with them than Jesus is willing to do here? There is too much at stake (2Corinthians 6.14).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)