So, until recently, like just a month or two ago, if you had asked me if I was reformed I would probably given you a crazy look and said no. Well, in order to become members at our church we had to take something called Berean Basics. Berean Basics was a class that walks you through the church covenant, mission, distinctives as well as there core values. Well one of there distinctives was being reformed, which is believing in the “5 Solas” which (as posted above) are: Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, scripture alone, glory to God alone. Sitting in that class a light bulb went off in my head. Whoa….I am REFORMED !!!
Today, our pastor preached on Acts 15:36-16:5 walking us through the disagreement and how the counsel of Jerusalem came to the decision that circumcision was not essential for the purpose of salvation and therefore Gentiles did not have to be circumcised to be accepted into the church. They said in Acts 15: 19-21 says, “‘Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.’”
He (our pastor) emphasized how the council said they did not want to “trouble” those who turn to God, but rather requested they abstained from certain things, not because they were essential to salvation, but more out of consideration and sensitivity to the Jews they would be around. Our pastor pointed out the fact that in Galatians (2:1-5) Paul told Titus it was not essential for him to be circumcised for salvation. Then in Acts 16:3 Paul has Timothy circumcised: “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” Our pastor told us how many look at this and say how inconsistent Paul was, but he gave us a different way to view this. Instead of seeing Paul as being inconsistent,see him as being flexible on the nonessential’s of salvation for the sake of the gospel. In this case, Paul had Timothy circumcised, not for the purpose of salvation, but rather to further his testimony among the Jews so that the gospel could be heard without any hindrances.
Paul showed the beautiful balance between legality and freedom and hearing God’s word brought to light in this way has showed me that maybe I’ve had it all wrong for a long time now. We are free in Christ. Yes, there are some things that God would not have us be flexible on, like sexual immorality, and He makes it clear in His word what is essential and non essential in the purpose of our salvation.
So, in the freedom of Christ and being reformed I am learning that there are some things that can not be compromised or overlooked in regards to salvation, but in all other things there is room for flexibility. In this truth, I have freedom and so do my brothers and sisters.