Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Do I Pursue Peace?

Hebrews 12:14 jumped off the page the other day at me.  I have read this verse many times before and I have often quoted this verse about holiness but the first part was what hooked me.  The verse reads in the NASB:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

I will admit that I do not like arguments.  My wife and I struggle with this because she wants to argue and I don’t.  I don’t enjoy getting upset at someone or yelling at someone.  She was reading a book the other day on marriage and it said that a married couple should argue now and then to clear the air of ill feelings and thoughts.  The lack of arguing can lead to bitterness and not to peace.

When it comes to theological debates,  I have never been much one to want to debate.  I can relax with a Calvinist brother who loves the Lord and is seeking His face as I can around an Arminian.  I don’t stay on edge waiting to debate another true brother.  It’s just not my personality.  I may disagree with a brother over an issue around Arminianism and Calvinism but I am the type of guy to let it go.  After all, Proverbs 17:28 (NASB) says,

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;
When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

But is silence pursuing peace?  At times, I can still walk away angry at a person for their views that differ with mine.  I am not pursuing peace with that person.  I am allowing bitterness to begin to creep in (Hebrews 12:15).

How do we pursue peace with others?

1.  Talk out our differences but do so in love.  My wife and I don’t argue but a good talk now and then about our differences is good.  I am by no means a perfect husband nor is she a perfect wife but we must extend grace toward each other and our sins.  I want to be at peace with my wife so that my prayers are not hindered (1 Peter 3:7).  Bitterness hinders our prayer lives!  When people discuss their differences in a spirit of love and friendship and not a divisive spirit, much can be learned and accomplished.  I pray that this type of debate would happen more in the Church over non-salvation issues such as Arminianism and Calvinism or spiritual gifts.  Let us talk (and even passionately hold to our views) but love the other person in the process.

2.  Look for avenues of peace with others.  There is much that I agree with with my Calvinist brothers and sisters.  While I disagree with them over various issues, I believe that they are truly saved and love Jesus just as I do.  Heaven will be filled with people from both camps.  Perhaps we were both wrong.  Either way, I want to avoid making the things I disagree with a person over the main issue.  There is much I love about my Calvinist brethren and I pray that they would love things about me.  I want to pursue peace and not war with those whom I disagree.

3.  Pray for the other person.  I have e-mailed people who write hateful things to me before over Arminianism as to whether they actually pray for me.  I have never received a reply.  I suppose they don’t.  But if my theology is so bad that I am not a Christian, should they not just send me a hateful e-mail but also pray for me?  Do you pray for your enemies as Jesus taught us (Matthew 5:43-44)?  We must leave judgment to God alone regarding our enemies (2 Thessalonians 1:6).  Do you pray for those whom you disagree even theologically?  For example, do you pray for Joel Osteen?

4.  Focus on peace and not war.  Our battle, for the child of God, is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12).  Our enemies are demonic and not disciples of Jesus whom we disagree with over the rapture of the Church.  Too often we make war against our fellows soldiers of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).  We don’t pursue peace with our brethren but instead we look for ways to make war.  We sit and watch them and listen to their sermons and once they say something we disagree with, we spring our traps and jump on them.  But this should not be the case.  We should be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19 NASB).  We should be careful to not bless God and curse others (James 3:9-10).

5.  Allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.  If the person you struggle with regarding peace is a disciple of Jesus, leave room for the Holy Spirit to do His work in their lives.  We are not the Holy Spirit.  We are not called to be the Holy Spirit.  His work is to make us more like Jesus in all we say or do.  This is a progressive work.  None of us are perfect (James 3:2).  We all need God’s grace to be saved and to stay saved.  The Holy Spirit helps us by convicting us of sin but thankfully He does this one sin at a time.  If He revealed all our sins at the moment of salvation, we would crumple in defeat and would be so downcast that we would likely give up.  The Spirit comes and He gently deals with our sins and He is able to help us to defeat sin in our lives.  His work is conviction (John 16:8-11) and He does an excellent job at doing this in the life of the true disciple of Jesus.  But we must allow the Holy Spirit to do His work not just in us but other disciples as well.  Leave room for the Spirit to act and don’t assume you are His agent for sanctification.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/20/2013 at 10:00 AM

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