Murder as Defined by Jesus: Part 3

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. – Matthew 5:21-26

This scripture reminds me of something Paul the Apostle said in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I think it can be easy for us to look at our service to the Lord and think that we are pleasing to Him, even to the exclusion of loving our Christian brethren and pursuing peace. I think Jesus and Paul say the things they say to help us understand what matters most.

Who are our brethren?

This does not only extend to our brethren of the same Christian sect, though, if we attend a church it does seem like a good idea to be at peace with the people there first and foremost. Nonetheless, if we are a Lutheran, we should strive to be at peace with a Catholic. If we are a Pentecostal, we should strive to be at peace with a Baptist. And so on.

“We all see in part in know in part,” and though we can disagree and have much liberty by the grace of God to gather together and praise Him according to our conscience and the measure of Him we are given to know in Christ, I strongly believe that it is fitting to do so in humility and love of one another–and for the most part we do–as is evidenced by the fact that we allow a variety of Christian sects within our nation.

Yet, at the same time, there is a lot of accusations, slander, and division among us. Though the last thing we need is another denomination or structure, on a personal level, each individual can strive to be at peace with all Christians. Debate secondary issues. Hear one another. Perhaps have your understanding changed and built up by someone with a different perspective. Agree to disagree at times.

We cannot forget that Jesus is Lord and not our denominations or favored secondary doctrines, and our Lord is One that desires peace in His house–a Spiritual house not built with hands but by the Holy Spirit–a house for which Jesus is the cornerstone and the teachings of the Apostles are the foundation–a house that will not be divided nor overrun by this world.

The other houses are not so. We must in some way know that all that we have built in His name is temporary. The only thing that will remain is that we loved one another and were faithful to Jesus. All else will be tried to see what sort it is, and all that is proven to be useful will make its way into His house, even the everlasting and holy city: New Jerusalem.

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. — Revelation 21:27

As for our works being tried, I get this from Paul’s writing to the Corinthians:

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. – 1 Corinthians 2:10-17

We need to remember and expect to face things that we got wrong. However, we also know that we are dealing with an extremely merciful and gracious God, so we also expect gracious judgment.

All of this is to say that none of our works are above scrutiny and none of them are more important than peace with our brethren.

If we have a conflict with our Christian brethren, settling the conflict should be our priority before we invest time in anything else. If there is something we need to do to make things right, then we should.

None of us are above the justice of God or repaying what we owe. If we have done wrong to someone, it does not matter how important we think we are because of our Christian service, we are accountable.

Jesus truly weighs things rightly. How easy can it be for people among the faith to view their forms of Christian service so highly that they place that above taking the time to deal with small matters that aren’t so big and important in the eyes of man? How easy can it be for people among the faith to view themselves as so important as to be above the law, so to speak, as one who does not have to right a wrong, restore what they owe, and so forth?

We aren’t that important.

Jesus told those who boasted about being the children of Abraham that He could make children of Abraham out of rocks.

Yet, God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for us. If anyone had a cause against His brethren, it was Him. We have all sinned against God, and not only did He forgive us, He died to do so.

How much more should we value restoring relationships with our brethren?

What value is all of our service if we neglect what Jesus values most—what He died for—to forgive us and make a way for many sons of God to come into fellowship with Himself?

The point of all of our sacrifices and service is not to please ourselves, but to please God—and what pleases God is that we should obey Him and love one another. Doing so often requires sacrificing self in favor of what is best for another, showing mercy, and praising Jesus for what He did and will do for us.

We also sacrifice our pride as we bear the shame of the unbelieving world in hopes that some might repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should strive to get along with all, as much as it is possible without sacrificing the truth as laid out by the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.

The forgiveness of Christ is beautiful and having received it, seeking reconciliation with everyone as much as is possible should be priority for us. We are good at finding reasons not to take the time and effort into rebuilding broken relationships. It can be uncomfortable and difficult. We might rather blame the other person or assume that they don’t want reconciliation. We might think that we are somehow excused because of some other service that we do for the Lord and our brethren.

Jesus can heal all things if He wills it, and it does seem as though He wills peace for those who are called by His Name. We should do our upmost to seek that out. If not, we might find ourselves delivered into troublesome times, and we “will not come out until thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.”

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.

17 thoughts on “Murder as Defined by Jesus: Part 3

  1. Amanda, you really believe that the Jesus the Roman Catholic prays to is the same as the Jesus the apostles preached? You really believe that the Jesus the Jehovah Witnesses prays to is the same as the Jesus the apostles preached? You really believe the Jesus the Mormons pray to is the same Jesus the apostles preached? You really believe that the Jesus of the Arminian churches – those who teach that salvation is conditioned upon mans free will is the same Jesus the apostles preached? You really believe that the Jesus the Arminians teach (liberal Protestant churches) is the same as the sovereign grace churches (reformed)?

    You really think that people can believe whatever they want about the person and work of Jesus Christ the Messiah and be a true Christian? You really believe that people can believe anything they want about the person and work of the Father and be a true Christian? You really believe that people can believe whatever they want about the person and work of the Holy Spirit and be a true Christian?

    What if someone doesn’t believe in the trinity? Wouldn’t that be a different Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit than what the apostles taught?

    My point is this: people (including you and me) can’t believe whatever they want about the true and living God and be considered a true Christian. The apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatian church, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬. The one and only true Gospel message (there is no other) is so vital to the church that if it’s not according to the original message brought down by the prophets, Messiah and His apostles than it’s another gospel and it is false and it can only produce bad fruit. The massage is so vital that Paul curses himself if he should change the message.

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    1. Those systems will not stand the judgment of God, no. Same with all Christian cults that act as if they have the truth and no others, making themselves mini gods. However, many individuals receive the grace of God through faith in Jesus, yes. I do stand by that. How is Victor?

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      1. You say the Roman Catholic, Mormon, JW, Christian cults, etc systems cannot stand the judgement of God. This sounds like you are being superior, that you have the truth and they don’t. This makes it sound like you are condemning “Christian cults” for acting like they have the truth while you are doing the same by condemning Roman Catholics, Mormons, JW’s Christian cults etc.

        Can’t you see that you are using a double standard. You are saying it’s not ok for the Christian cults to use their knowledge to condemn others while at the same time you are doing the same thing. You have one standard for you and another standard for others.

        So you agree with me that you cannot believe anything you want about Jesus, am I correct?

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    2. Let’s try this again. When I saw your mention of Armenians, I thought you were coming in on the discussion I was having with someone else on a similar post regarding predestination as it relates to the gospel and therefore related to who is a real Christian or not.

      I agree that people cannot believe whatever they want about God.. According to the understanding Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 3, we should be careful about what we build, knowing that it will all be tried by fire and all that is not true is burned up. To that end, I believe that a lot of our current Christian sects are going to burn up, or at least, certain parts of them. However, if they believe in Jesus, they are saved. There does come a point however when we might say that they do not really believe in Jesus and we all draw that line according to our denominations. This leads to the accusations, slander, so forth.

      Where is the just line of judgment, letting us know who is a real Christian or not? I think about when Paul the Apostle came to the Corinthians. He came preaching nothing but Christ and Him crucified because they were an immature church full of contention. I also think about when Paul the Apostle said that those who say that Jesus did not come in the flesh are antichrist. This seems to be the most gracious line we can draw.

      I believe that we should say that if someone believes that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and now lives, they are Christian. Yet, how we build on that matters. Much has been built that is not true. In-fact, from my perspective, every Christian denomination has something wrong. So, if I condemn one in my heart, I must condemn another. Or, I can go the gracious route and say that if you believe in this basic truth, you are a Christian. I would do so to make sure that I do not “offend one of the little ones who believe on Jesus” or be found “drunken and smiting my fellow servants” when Jesus returns.

      Yet, once a Christian, this means much. We have to live as Christians, and I believe that if we are truly called of God we will be faithful to Him. He will cause us to because He cannot lose anyone who really belongs to Him. However, I cannot always know who this will be, so I err on the side of grace, trusting in the Lord to deal with it because I also want grace.

      I do not want to pass judgments that I will be judged by. For example, I might say that if someone believes in the rapture they believe in a false God. Or, I might say that if someone believes in eternal conscious torment, they believe in a false God. Or, I might say that if someone does not believe that God predetermines who will be saved, they believe in a false God. When getting into the Trinity, that’s touchy. I think that is important, but I do not condemn Oneness Pentecostals because they misunderstand the teaching.

      Some draw the line in other ways. Some say that if you don’t keep the Sabbath on Saturday, you believe in a false God. Some say that if you do not speak in tongues, you did not receive Jesus and you are not saved. Some say that if you use music in your worship, you are of Satan and therefore not worshiping the true God.

      You see, it goes on and on. Where to draw that line?

      The Book of Mormon is not of God. However, could some Mormons pray to Jesus and find mercy? I don’t know. I mostly try to deal with issue that pertain to the Bible. Where is the standard there? I can’t personally draw that line any place else justly except to say that Jesus is the Son of God who was killed, died for your sins, and now lives. Yet, if we believe in Jesus, we will want to get to know Him, and we will build upon that as we take what He and the Apostles taught seriously. The Day of the Lord will reveal all that we built, and I do believe that many souls will be saved of all Christian groups, though the teachings of the groups and the groups themselves do not stand in the judgment.

      Does this make sense?

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      1. I don’t think Paul is talking about building on the foundation He is talking about getting the foundation correct; which is the Gospel of God or Jesus Christ

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      2. Agreed. I believe Paul states the foundation is Christ and Him crucified. I know you see that as tied to predestination. I don’t.

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  2. Amanda,

    Please explain to me by what authority can you say that these systems won’t stand the judgement ?

    I use sola Scriptura (only scripture) to define the Gospel and I can only use Scripture when defining what a Christian is. The Gospel defines what a Christian believes.

    Everyone claims to be a Cristian. The only way to know who a real Christian is is by what they believe about who (Jehovah) they believe in (Jehovah). Jesus said don’t believe them (the false teachers/prophets) when they say, “Here is the Christ” or “there is the Christ”.

    Anyone teaching a false Jesus is to be accursed (Gal 1:6-10). Believing another gospel message concerning the person and work of Messiah is so vital (this is NOT a secondary issue) that even the apostle Paul condemns himself if he were to change his gospel message.

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    1. I’m getting my comment discussions crossed. I thought you were coming in on a conversation in the Part 2 post. Sorry I must be confusing. I’ll get back to you. We might agree more than not.

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    2. Do you have the Holy Spirit, Paul? You mention fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, meekness, etc. I see fruit in many Christians of all sorts. As for my authority, it is of the Holy Spirit, wrought through several years of life experience, and informed by scripture. He came to me in a powerful way 5 years ago and it has been a learning experience since. I used to be concerned about fake Christians and I argued over doctrine a lot once my understanding of doctrine was opened. By this, I know that every Christian sect has issues and all structures are in some way exalted too highly, therefore, they must be “removed out of their place.” I won’t remove them, but the Last Days will take them. I am doing a work on the 7 Churches and I have been given the authority to do so by the Lord. He granted this when I received the Holy Spirit in power, but I had to go through some things first to prepare for it. It’s okay if you don’t believe this. I would not have. You asked, so I answered.

      Then I was shown that there is something that matters more–that we should put Jesus first–and in so doing, our brethren. I believe the Lord allowed things to unravel in this way so that I could learn this lesson — so I could go from being overly zealous and accusatory to gracious and one who would defend the grace of God–not to turn it into lasciviousness as Paul warns of, but to make room for immature Christians to grow without a mountain of judgment looming over them, and all denominations have their mountain of judgment.

      I do not judge individual. I do judge Christian teachings, but with grace on things that I believe to be secondary lest I find myself judged by the same overly harsh judgement. To that end, I believe that Paul made that line clear in how he dealt with the immature Corinthians. I think a lot of modern Christendom is as they. Instead of, “I am for Apollos” it is “I am for the Baptists, I am for the Pentecostals, I am for the Catholics” and so on. Instead, we should say that we are for Jesus, and we all “see in part and know in part,”

      If we truly love Jesus and put Him first, He will reveal who He is according to His perfect timing and will by the Holy Spirit. I do believe that our denominational loyalty can hinder us a great deal, but the love of God covers a multitude of errors. We are all in differing stages of growth and I do not want to offend the faith of anyone who claims Jesus as Lord. However, I also will not back down from doctrines I believe to be true or in error, unless I am proven wrong and the Spirit reveals this to me. I also will not encourage worldly living. The knowledge that matters most to me is that of Jesus Christ, renewing me and making me more like Him. There are many false Christs and false prophets. Ravening wolves. Devouring and accusing. Yes. Leading people into accepting sin, misusing grace. There are many problems, but we did not inherit the church as in the time of the Apostles. We live in a time that is far removed and how to deal with it all requires the Holy Spirit’s lead.

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  3. You stated that you do not know where the line is when judging the false Christian. You have already made a line for yourself because you judge the Mormon to be lost. What gives you the right to judge them as lost? You have used this same line of reasoning to judge the Roman Catholic and the JW and the Christian cults. I don’t know what cults you are referring to, but non the less you have a standard (line) by which you judge. How did you arrive at this standard? What authority are you utilizing to judge someone lost?

    I will answer you with Scripture which is the only and highest standard by which the true church of God can judge someone to be lost. The authority and standard by which I use is Scripture. The Scriptures contain the full revelation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures contain the full Gospel message for it is the power of God to everyone who believes. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.””
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Scripture is clear. I will list only three passages for times sake in order not to drag things on. These should do in order to help answer your question as to where Scripture draws the line.

    ““Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:15-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Jesus is saying that the healthy tree is the true prophet who teaches the one and only true Gospel. When the true Gospel is preached it has its full affect upon the elect of God and it bears good fruit better known as true believers. On the other hand the diseased tree is the false prophet and he teaches a false gospel. The false gospel cannot bear good fruit. In other words, the false message cannot produce a true believer! Jesus is saying that lies mixed in with some truth is a false gospel being preached by the false prophet and since it bears bad fruit it is to be cut down and thrown into the fire. The only way to identify a false teacher is by the message he preaches. All true believers recognize the false gospel message because it doesn’t line up with the doctrine of the apostles.

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
    ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Here we see that Peter warns the church that false prophets will always be among the church and they will bring in destructive heresies. These heresies bring quick judgement. False teachers cannot teach whatever they want about the Gospel. It must be according to truth, according to the doctrine of the prophets, Jesus and His apostles. Anything other than the true Gospel is a false gospel, producing false doctrine better known as heresy. If the church cannot identify heresy than it doesn’t have the Gospel! The true church of Jesus Christ can define the Gospel and it defends this same Gospel with their lives.

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
    ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭1:6-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    “Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.”
    ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Paul defends and argues that “the truth of the Gospel must be preserved for the church! If the Gospel is compromised in any way it becomes a “different gospel” or a “distorted gospel of Christ.” If Paul or an angel of light should preach a gospel contrary to the original message preached, then he/she is accursed! Paul even rebuked Peter the apostle for compromising the Gospel message (Gal 2:11-14).

    Anyone who teaches a false gospel let him be accursed!

    With all this said Amanda, can we agree together that Scripture alone is the true churches only and sole authority by which a false teacher who is teaching a false gospel can be identified? Man’s thoughts and experiences cannot identify the false teacher or false gospel. Can we agree on this last statement?

    Paul

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      1. I also did not judge Mormons to be lost. I stated that their book is not to be trusted in. Read more carefully, please. I said that perhaps they pray to Jesus and find mercy. I cannot judge it. I also stated that I have had trouble drawing the line, and I draw it where Paul the apostle does: Christ and Him crucified. Simple. Gracious. Done. God will do the rest.

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      2. Mormon doctrine demonstrates their lack of knowledge of the righteousness God and reveals they are seeking to establish their own righteousness. The condition is very similar to the unsaved Israelites that the Apostle Paul was grieved over which caused Him to pray to God for their salvation. Romans 10:1-4

        One key point that proves they have a different Jesus is their claim He is the brother of Satan; so it is safe to say they are unregenerate and need prayer. I’m Glad I wasn’t left by God to remain ignorant of the Gospel after spending 10 months briefly captured within their system of ignorance of the truth that salvation is conditioned on Christ’s work and imputed righteousness alone without any effort from whom He chooses to mercy.

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      3. Fist off I know what you said about Mormons I’m not misquoting you it’s just that I hadn’t read your reply because it came in while I was writing my next response. You should really wait for me to respond prior to you just firing off at the hip. Comments should be done in order so as not to be confused and all over the place like you did in the beginning when you fired off one of your comments to me when it was really for someone else. Slow down and use your logic to track with me. Understand my well thought out argument before you answer. I take the time to listen to you and it’s ok if I don’t agree with your reasoning at least I will do everything within my mind to understand your thinking.

        So please slow down and allow me to comment then you after I read your last comment.

        The Gospel is defined within all the pages of Scripture. It’s the message of the Good news taught and preached by the prophets, Jesus, and his apostles as contained within the pages of the Canon of Scripture.

        When defending the Gospel against heresies it only needs to refer to the Gospel, not every passage needs to define the Gospel. The Gospel message was well defined and defended by Jesus and His apostles against ALL heresies and lies! These texts that I have provided are enough to reason that there will always be false teachers preaching a false message and lies wides in with the truth is a false message. Amanda, I’m disappointed in your response for you are a much better thinker and your reasoning is superior than what you are jabbing back with.

        Which Christ is Paul referring to Amanda? And what atoning work was accomplished as referring to His crucifixion Amanda?

        So when you judge like the apostle Paul it better be the right Jesus and it better be the right crucifixion! You better not mess these two up Amanda because if you do the Apostle Paul says you are accursed and lost!

        You see Amanda the Apostles were preaching a very specific message concerning Christ and His crucifixion. And anyone who was found teaching false things about Christ and His crucifixion was labeled a heretic or false prophet/teacher

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      4. I did not expect you to send more than one comment at a time. I fully admit to handling this poorly as far as taking time and organization goes. I am in a bit of a hurry and I have to leave for a trip tomorrow. I also do not get a lot of comments. I’m not used to these discussions, though I do welcome them. Well, this is not a discussion so much as a barrage of insult, condescension, and accusation.

        So you believe that the gospel stands against all false teachings? No room for disagreement or grace for the misled? I am confident in my doctrinal stances, but I still do not want to be judged by that judgement so I will not push that. I agree that in the end, there will be no false things in the Kingdom of God and we should work towards that end. I do stand against false teachings but I do not want to accuse Christians of not being Christians because they have a false teaching. If I had to judge between someone who had a secondary issue wrong but was patient with their brethren and one who had the teaching right but was condemning of others, I would say that the second has the greatest error.

        “Which Christ is Paul referring to Amanda? And what atoning work was accomplished as referring to His crucifixion Amanda?”

        Are you being hypothetical? We know it is Jesus Christ: the Son of God. His blood saves us from our sins. He rose from the dead, sent the Holy Spirit. The Spirit writes the knowledge of the Lord in our hearts, bringing us into His Kingdom. This is the grace of God towards us. How can I judge the wrong crucifixion? I do not judge like the Apostle Paul, I use the judgments he already made in his approach to the Corinthians, as I stated.

        I am not accursed nor lost, and you best not accuse people wrongly, lest you find yourself accursed and lost! “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the world of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

        I do not teach false things about Christ. Not knowingly. I am open to correction as we all should be. I do show patience for those duped by them, trusting in the blood of the Lamb for them and the Spirit to lead to all truths as He wills it. I make no apologies for defending the mercy and grace of God for those who trust in Jesus, even if they have misconceptions about who He is. Paul said that we all see God as through a glass darkly. Jesus said much about smiting our fellow servants and casting stumbling blocks before the babes who believe. You know, for all of your careful reading, you do not actually address anything I say. You just make personal jabs, which is typical of those who have no solid argument. Which you do not.

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