I know that I need the church and the church needs me. We are not called to walk out our faith alone. Paul gave us another picture of our mutual need for one another in 1 Corinthians 12:12–26. The church is one body with many parts, each part possessing an important role to play. But if we allow hurts and sin to divide the body, it simply won’t function as it should.
I remember telling an old pastor that if I just lived a certain way on the outside, conforming my behavior to the accepted Christian norms of that local church, then no one within the church would ever ask me about my walk with God. They would assume—from what they observed externally—that I was walking in faithful obedience to God. These common external practices shared by the members in my church were all good things. The problem came when, at a certain point, some of the members had twisted the gospel, equating some specific practices with godliness and placing matters of personal preference on the same level as the Word of God. It didn’t seem to matter what was going on in the heart of those who lived in a certain way, they were automatically considered godly as long as they followed the accepted practices.
Season - Godliness - Culture - Legalism - Gospel
This was a difficult season for me, wrestling with and trying to discern what is true godliness and what is living fueled by culture and legalism. I struggled to understand the gospel. I struggled to understand grace. And I struggled to know what is true and what is just man’s opinion. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever love the church again. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to attend church. But there was something—Someone—greater pulling me toward that glorious and broken institution.
In Ephesians 5:22–33, God...
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