By Scott Shifferd, Jr
Grace does teach us. Paul wrote to Titus stating,
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age," (Titus 2:11-12).
Grace teaches us to reject evil and secular desires. Grace has a verb form used 23 times in the New Testament. In Colossians 2:13, the act of grace is translated "forgiveness" for all of our trespasses, and that forgiving grace is to be given to one anther (Col. 3:13). Yet, that forgiving grace teaches us even more about facing temptations and denying ungodliness.
What does Jesus' forgiveness teach us about sin? Christ has saved us from sin for more than forgiving us, but also to save us from being enslaved to sin. God's forgiveness teaches us not to continue in the sin of which we were released. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!" (Rom. 6:1-2a). If we continue in sin, then have we allowed God's grace to teach us?
The Christian must see God's grace as more than salvation from past sins, but also a deliverance from coming temptations. Christ forgave us from past sins to keep us from future sins. Christians must see the extent of personal sins, and the loving grace that forgave a few sins is as great as many sins (Luke 7:40-43, cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-15).
Jesus died so that His followers are moved more by Christ's love and forgiving grace than by selfish and fleshly desires that enslave so many. The many, who are enslaved to sin, obey such evil because sin is allowed to reign in the moral body (Rom. 6:12). Yet, the mind set on Christ is taught by grace and compelled by love to overcome all compulsions to sin (Rom. 8:5-7).
By Scott Shifferd, Jr
Paul told the Corinthian congregation to “be in subjection to such and to everyone who works together and labors” (1 Cor. 16:15-16). In 55-57 AD, the churches in Rome and Corinth do not appear to have elders yet. Their leadership appears to be a leadership, who served. This reveals what kind of leaders that Christians must seek in elders. Church leaders are also described as “those who spoke to you the Word of God” (Heb. 13:7). Christians are instructed to yield to that leadership (Heb. 13:17).
For sincere Christians, leaders who lead by example and service are desired and not hard to follow. Jesus said to His disciples,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Nations lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
Christian leaders are not to be an authority lording over the congregation by making demands and restrictions for others, but rather Christ’s servants lead by service, example, doctrine, admonition, and encouragement (Luke 22:24-30). Likewise, elders are to lead by example in their oversight shepherding the flock (1 Pet. 5:1-3, cf. 1 Tim. 3:4-5). Therefore, let us seek to be leaders, and seek and follow leaders who serve.
With such leadership, there is no decision or offense that cannot be settled by individual Christians with example and service of Christian leaders (1 Cor. 6:2-4). Besides submitting to leaders, each Christian is to humbly subordinate to one another and to esteem one another greater than oneself that includes all leaders subordinating such as elders (Eph. 5:21, Phil. 2:3-4).