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Summary: Where is the grace in ecclesiastical separation?

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Truth Trumps All

Recently, someone I care deeply about asked me about the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation because she was concerned that no grace was being shown in that doctrine. Of course, the first passage that comes to mind is,

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (KJV)

Admittedly, I doubt that it is possible to get even two Christians together that agree down to every jot and tittle let alone a Church or group of Churches. There is far too much of the world, flesh, and devil in the Church today to get that much agreement. We have allowed tradition to become the primary thing in too many churches. We have adopted the poor theology of “nonessential doctrines” and the pithy saying of “In essentials unity; in nonessentials liberty; and in all things love” which on the surface seems very noble but have led to many ignoble and ungodly associations.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV)

If there is anyone that understands his/her need of grace and mercy more than I it would be a surprise. I claim the title “Assistant Chief of Sinners” only because Paul said he was Chief so that position is taken. Yet, I could have never received that grace if I had not believed the truth about me being a sinner and Christ being the only Savior. Grace and truth came hand in hand with Christ.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (KJV)

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)

While God offers, grace, mercy, love and a host of other things to every person on the planet if they reject this truth about Jesus Christ they receive none of those things. Rejecting the truth here means Hell later.

How important is truth? Let’s call the roll, as one Brother put it.

1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (KJV)

Eph 5:9-10

9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (KJV)

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (KJV)

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV)

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (KJV)

John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (KJV)

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV)

I think it is very clear that truth is vastly important and I have not exhausted that passages that prove this point. Just as James says that faith must express itself in works in order for its life to be seen truth also expresses itself in doctrines. For those not familiar with the term, doctrines are instructions, teachings, etc. Sometimes they are called rules, disciplines.

2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (KJV)

2 Tim 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (KJV)

Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (KJV)

In the Old Testament, doctrines were usually called laws but the word torah can also used as a precept or teaching. While we are free from the sacrificial and dietary laws we still study the moral and other precepts of the Old Testament making the appropriate application of them to our lives. This why Paul says that all scripture is profitable. By studying that parts that we are made free from we can better understand the grace and truth we experience from the Cross.

These doctrines are important for our own personal wellbeing but also for the wellbeing of the local assembly called the Church. They keep a Church strong and also are designed to keep us out of wrong associations.

1 Cor 5:7-13

7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

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