Authentic Works of Grace
November 1, 2002 - "I don't trust her. She's a phony." So stated a longtime Christian about a newcomer to the household of God.
from Ruth Bell Graham
Strange, I thought to myself. Wouldn't the Father rather have us welcome a phony than put down a genuine new believer—even if that new Christian seems odd or difficult?
A man once visited Scotland Yard's counterfeit money department. "It must take years and years of studying counterfeits," the man said, "in order to know the real."
"Quite the contrary," came the reply. "It takes years and years of studying the real to make sure one can spot a counterfeit. "
It is even more difficult for us imperfect Christians, each at a different stage in our pilgrimage, to spot counterfeits. Money, objects of art, books, paintings, when completed remain static. But Christians grow and change in their spiritual lives, even though that growth may be imperceptible.
The Apostle Paul has given us a simple common denominator: "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit " (1 Corinthians 12:3, RSV). Perhaps the Father watches how we welcome those new believers who fail to pass our standards. Perhaps we are branding as phony an authentic work of God's grace.