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Grace vs. Confidentiality

Please turn with me in your Bibles to where it talks at length about the sacred doctrine of confidentiality. Do you know that biblical passage?

If you do, please contact me because I don’t see any such teaching in the Scriptures.

Whoa! Wait a minute. We probably need to slow down and ponder this. Let me try to reframe the dramatic announcement I’m making, so that we can begin to process this and wrap our minds around truth that longs

to set us free from worldly thinking.

There is in the church a pervasive misunderstanding widely accepted without question that says Christians, especially paid pastors, desperately need to be shrouded in secrecy. As the teaching goes, no one in the church can reasonably be expected to open up and share their real story unless they are guaranteed that their hearers will promise to keep the lurid parts of the story under wraps.

Real stories about real people who need to be saved by Jesus are stories that the church is loath to tell.

Real stories about paid pastors who desperately need to be saved today, and today, and today are sheer taboo.

What local church can withstand to hear the truth that people in the church – every last one of them no matter how holy they seem – are such despicable sinners that the only possible way for them to be saved is for God to become Human, incarnate Himself on earth, live a perfect life that fulfills the entire Law, and then sacrificially die a death of atonement, and raise Himself up from the dead so as to conquer sin?

How many Christians are amazed by Jesus’ death and resurrection? Are you amazed? Am I amazed?

Or are we calloused?

We sing amazing grace, but we don’t seem to have a clue that grace points to the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection. I confess myself that I need constant help and reminders everyday that Jesus’ death and resurrection fundamentally altered things, all the way to the point that I can totally afford to be non-defensive about the truth of who I am.

I don’t need a doctrine of confidentiality. Nor does anyone else whose sins are covered by the cleansing blood of Jesus.

Have we not noticed that the Bible – inspired by the Spirit of God – blurts out the blatant truth about people’s sins? Noah got drunk. Abraham lied. Abraham lied again on purpose. Jacob cheated his brother. Eve was selfishly deceived. Rebekah tricked her husband with deceitfulness. Sarah was mean to Hagar. King David committed adultery, and that was not the worst thing that he did. Jonah’s sin was defiance. Peter denied the Lord. Paul traipsed around as a murderer who self-justified his actions arrogantly. There is not one biblical character, not one historical Christian, who has anything whatsoever to boast of.

All of us like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).

Why are we not honest enough to acknowledge the full truth? Our graceless, pagan thinking makes us phonies. If we could just be truthful, together out loud, more sinners in the world might be amazed at our authenticity and feel like they fit in with us, as sinners too.

Instead of doing grace, marveling at God’s grace, we are doing confidentiality.

Confidentiality, yes, is needed as an aspect of wisdom. It is not wise to be unguarded like King Hezekiah and show the world the treasures of your bank account (II Kings 20:12-17; Isaiah 39). Nor is it wise to speak unguardedly (Proverbs 13:3). Wisdom calls for discretion (Proverbs 1:4). But discretion is not the same as the confidentiality we have.

Hiding–that’s not Christian. Pretending–that’s not holy. Taking refuge in theatrics so as to pretend that we don’t need the grace of God – is far from biblical.

Grace has no need for confidentiality.

Grace does its best work in broad daylight.

Grace is for sinners who have heard the astounding news that Jesus rose from the dead and thereby conquered Death (I Corinthians 15), so that we don’t have to worry (Hebrews 1-2) or strive in self-preservation to keep others from knowing our need for Christ’s salvation.

At Right On Mission, we believe God’s people can learn to think Christianly about confidentiality and everything else, so that we do not miss out on the Christian life. Come join us. Take a course. Engage in class discussions. Find out what Christian fellowship is like. We are repentant sinners saved by grace.

Grace makes all the difference because no matter who knows what we did, they can’t stop the love of God (Romans 8:38-29) because God is greater than our sin and self-condemnation (Romans 8:1; I John 3:20).

How relieved might you be, and how evangelistic, if you would choose grace and not keep grace a secret?

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