Ethics and Consequences, Part 1
If the New Testament gives clear guidance on anything, it is on what "laws" the N.T. church was still under, and how the church should deal with ethical violations among those who called themselves brothers or sisters. (See my post from June 10th and also my post from August 9th.) We are called to hold each other to high standards of behavior, that we might together experience His Kingdom in all its abundance. When we drop the ball on that, there are consequences . . . both the natural consequences of the actions themselves, and the consequences of dishonor to our Lord and to the church community, and then any consequences that scripture spurs us to impose on the one who violated our standards.
How well do we apply all those passages? Do we apply them consistently? Do we have a consistent ethic that can stand the scrutiny both of the devout brother or sister and of outside observers? Do we teach that ethic and encourage each other in that ethic in useful and loving ways, that give greater ability to live out that ethic? Do we model it well? And do we tell the truth about the ways each of us struggles to live it out, or do we hide those ways as well as we can, less we be seen for who we really are, or less the ethic itself be seen as unworkable? And the passages that call for confrontation and for consequences or for exclusion from fellowship . . . do we apply them consistently? Do we teach them consistently? Do we model them well?
How well does our ethic and how well does our church discipline lead us to a full obedience of all that Jesus taught, individually and together as a church community?
What will Jesus have to say to me personally about my role in that? Am I walking with my brothers and sisters in love and in obedience and in a way that encourages us all toward His Kingdom lived out fully?
And what is your responsibility in all that? Are you allowed to leave it to "ministers" who are more qualified than you? Or are you called to speak the truth in love and to love in truth?
The culture of the CHURCH is the responsibility of each one of us, and we will be held accountable for our individual roles in that. We are indeed a BODY, and are bound together both in our ability to discern TRUTH and in our ability to walk it out. May none of us miss out on the joy of obedience!