Could Rahab Get In the Church?
Posted by James Lynch (+206) 11 years ago
Mark Twain made me think when I read this statement: "Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in." How great is Heaven's favor? An amazing example is found in the life of the harlot/prostitute Rahab. Hebrews 11:31 records, "By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace" (see Joshua chapter 2 and 6 for more on Rahab). Because of her faith in the living God, she escaped death and God's judgement when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Not only that, the account makes clear she went into Canaan with the Israelites and became a part of the chosen people. Incredibly, her name shows up in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1:5! H. Leo Boles wrote that Rahab was mentioned in the genealogy of Christ "because she was brought into the nation of Israel from a depraved and degraded life through her faith in Jehovah" (New Testament Commentaries/Matthew; Gospel Advocate; p 18). Amazingly, Rahab was welcomed into Israel and entered into all the promises God had given His people in the Promised Land. Her name is included in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith along with the likes of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses - all giants of the Hebrew faith! Israel let Rahab in. More important than that, God let Rahab in. God's grace is truly amazing.

Here's a thought-provoking question - would a former prostitute be welcomed into the church where you worship and serve? Could a Rahab get in? I say it carefully, but it is sometimes easier to gain favor and forgiveness from God than it is from some down at church. It is sometimes easier for a person to get into Christ than it is for them to get in the church. I know the Lord adds to His church everyone who places their trust in Christ, repents, and is baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 47). But the brutal truth is some church members are unwilling to get past other people's past, especially if that past is an especially "checkered" past. I understand that every person who repents and turns to Christ should "do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20b; Matthew 3:8). I know it takes time to live down a bad reputation and live up-a good one up. What I am addressing here is the ugly tendency of some in the church who sit in judgment on others and who, by their actions at least, deny the Bible's teaching that God's grace can save even the chief of sinners when they turn to and obey Christ (1 Timothy 1:14-16; Hebrews 8:9).

We sometimes seem surprised at who God is willing to let in, forgetting that He let us in! I'm not sure who wrote the following but I am sure it ought to make us think. It is called SURPRISE: I dreamt death came the other night, And Heaven's Gate swung wide. An angel with a halo bright, Ushered me inside. And there to my astonishment, Stood folks I'd judged and labeled, as "quite unfit," "of little worth," and "spiritually disabled." Indignant words rose to my lips, But never were set free, For every face showed stunned surprise, No one expected ME!

If God has the grace to let the Rahab's in, shouldn't we do the same? Think about it. God bless, have a great week, and keep working in the Word.

In his service,
Jim Lynch, Evangelist
Miles City Church of Christ
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 11 years ago
Sure, Rahab would be welcome at my church, along with her gay cousin and lesbian sister.
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Posted by James Lynch (+206) 11 years ago
Same here, but remember, Rahab repented of her "lifestyle".
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Posted by Kacey (+3159) 11 years ago
There are many people in church who feel it is their job to be sure and let people know where they "went wrong". There are also churches that are willing to let gay people in as members. But they are still treated differently.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1905) 11 years ago
"God's grace is truly amazing."

You're right, Jim. That is why I am convinced the real God would let anyone into His Church, including gay folks, without conditions. That's also the reason he'd let hypocrite like you and me in, too. We're no better.
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Posted by Robert L. Reyff (+34) 11 years ago
Depends upon the Church. I am sure that all, or most, would allow her in. The question then becomes, what is their, the Church, motivation?
Some go for show and some believe that good works are their ticket. So many do not even have any idea about why or what for; they should allow anyone in. Then there are the one's, Church, that only allow members in. God had a definite plan, so, what is it?
Reyff
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
I have to give credit here for being consistently in consistent. Wasn't that long ago we were told that those who repented and trusted Christ (which Rahab did) were already in the church.

Your study of hamartiology could use some help. I'd recommend you read Walther's Law and Gospel.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (11/25/2010)]
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Posted by Stone (+1596) 11 years ago
Mark Twain is just a man so I do not listen to what he says.
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Posted by Cynthia A. (+197) 11 years ago
if you are going to a church were people think they need to tell others where they went wrong, I encourage you to go to a different one. God's grace and favor and LOVE above all else are a beautiful beautiful thing ~ and his people are CALLED to walk in love ~ it is hard and a challenge at time, but it is a beautiful thing as is His mercy when we mess up and miss it.

Nice change for MC threads.

Blessings of peace grace and wisdom this Season.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2732) 11 years ago
I have to admit that I find such questions futile.

The problem with relying on the Bible (or the Koran or any other religious text) is that they cast God in man's image. It only stands to reason that the Creator of the universe (and probably more, who knows) is so great that it is probably beyond the ability of man's mind to even begin to comprehend him/her/it - the idea that man can capture such greatness in words - even with God's help - is not just arrogant, but laughably so.

That said, I do believe that Christ was the child of God - just as we are all children of God. What makes me want to follow Christ's example is that I believe he had a far better understanding of God than anyone before or since. Unfortunately, I think humankkind's limitations in general keep us from comprehending Christ's messages. We keep screwing them up.

And that's why I think Christ's greatest and most inspiring words to ALL of us were the very last he spoke:

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."
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Posted by James Lynch (+206) 11 years ago
Very well put Steve,

It is true we will never fully understand God and His fullness. However we can know Him but only through knowing Jesus and that is a lifelong process of learning who He is and what He expects of man whom He created in His imiage...(not Him in our imiage)...

Then it becomes our obligation to be obedient to that form of teaching Paulspoke about in Romans in which we must stand and be judged accordingly on the day of judgment.

One will stand alone on that day and no man will be able to justify himself without the mercy and grace offered ONLY in Christ who paid the price for my sins...

Thankfully, He included me,...God bless you my friend and I hope all is well in your new adventures...

Also, on another note of this thread: unfortunatly there are many who would judge others and do so regularly without justification. But one is only acceptable to God if one is willing to conform to His acceptable pattern for life in order that one can be justified through Christ. Murcy and grace does not give license to continue to live a life of unrepentance. The Lord anf His true church accepts all who are obedient to the Gospel and willing to make the changes in life that show fruits worthy of repentance. By their fruits you shall know them.

Jim

[This message has been edited by James Lynch (11/25/2010)]
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17343) 11 years ago
They tried to make me go to Rahab
I said, "no! no! no!"
Yes I've been black but when I come back
You'll know know kow
I ain't got the time
and if my daddy thinks I'm fine
He's tried to make me go to Rahab
I won't go, go go!
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 11 years ago
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