Where am I going with ‘From Golgotha to Calvary?’
Biblically Golgotha and Calvary are the same. So, what’s my point? The Cross calls Christians to go everywhere, to all the nations as in Matthew 24: 14.
Nevertheless, most Christians are with one foot in the stirrup and the other on the ground, stuck in their ruts. Last Wednesday at bible study, the pastor simplifies a fundamental principle of Christianity: “To live a spirit-filled life, detach yourself, get rid of all your obstacles.” The pastor advocates and accentuates: “Flock solely with the ”good” (Christians) and disengage from the ”bad and ugly” (non-Christians). Don’t let the bad and ugly poison your mind!
What about Jesus? Didn’t he dwell among sinners? Jesus walked, talked, and shared meals with the best and worst. Should we not become Christ-like? Are we better than Jesus, holier-than-thou? Aren’t we all sinners? Who is perfect? Pastors?
Of course, there is a place and time for everything. Pastors often do need to slap their congregants on the wrist. A good shepherd routes his flock away from wolves, especially wolves in sheep clothing. People crave counsel. Some shepherds go the extra mile. They are fervently zealous, walking on thin ice, possibly out of balance.
God knows! Most pastors know their parishioners. And, what goes on between pastor and parishioner is sacred within the realm of God.
Please misunderstand! Neither do I want to help nor hinder, intervene nor interfere in the affairs between pastor and parishioner.
Serendipitously, that same week I zoomed onto another bible study. The study focused on Apostle Paul, who rebuked and, then, excommunicated the sex offender, a churchgoer who was sleeping with his stepmother in 1 Corinthians 5: 1-13. In this divine and juicy scripture, Paul urged the Corinthians to:
13 “… decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.”
In Paul’s second letter to the same congregants in Corinth, the Apostle Paul refines his position in 2 Corinthians 2: “My counsel is to pour out the love.”
5-8 Now, regarding the one who started all this—the person in question who caused all this pain—I want you to know that I am not the one injured in this as much as, with a few exceptions, all of you. So, I don’t want to come down too hard. What the majority of you agreed to as punishment is punishment enough. Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love.
9-11 The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church. So, if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don’t think I’m carrying around a list of personal grudges. The fact is that I’m joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!
Does the second letter to the church in Corinth contradict the first letter?
9-11 The focus of my [first] letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church.
Teach responsibility in Christ.
Inspire churchgoers to walk beyond Golgotha to face the obstacles to help expand the Kingdom.
Permit God to bless the challenger and challenged.
Assure the challenger that God remains sovereign and offers a degree of immunity against ‘obstacles.’
Convince the Christian not to fear any obstacles. Christians are His witnesses.
Encourage the challenger and challenged to learn from each other and to come closer to Christ.
I love the Word. It lives. God’s Word speaks to the appropriate people, for the right reasons, at the right time.
With Every Good Wish to You, I am,
Abraham A. van Kempen
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