Here’s the setup on this discussion:
Those of us who authentically walk “The Way” of Christ carry burdens for those the church tends to abandon as “lost sheep.” “Failed believers.” We often cross paths with messy people who either don’t feel welcome at church, or have been formally dis-fellowshipped. Most often they’ve experienced some warped implementation of the instruction we find in Ephesians 5.
There really are only two types of people: Those who regard God with some kind of “Fear” – a genuinely personal acknowledgement that He exists. And those who deliberately ignore and deny His supremacy.
For further reading on this explore the account of when the Arc of the Covenant fell into Philistine hands. (See 1 Samuel 6-8.) Despite overt signals that God was supreme, the Philistines operated to separate themselves from God.
Earthly Pirates – Philistines – that do what they want and deliberately avoid God. Versus those who are “Spiritually Poor.” The ones who hate their weakness and beat their breast in repentance. (Consider the first two or three Beatitudes in Matthew 5.)
” (He)… stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Luke 18:14
So, about those poor ones who struggle with problems and never overcome them? Examples: An alcoholic sure, addicts. But there are secret sins that *EVERYONE* fails to overcome. There is no difference before God.
Ultimately, having my name written in the Book of Life is all that matters, Jesus will mercifully intercede on my behalf from the Throne of Judgement.
What about those who don’t enjoy that confidence. Who struggle along, wanting to be “Sober”** and who fail daily. The church kicks us out, or we’re ostracized to such an extent the reception is too cold to bear.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.”
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15:11-32
The Lord will say “you fought the good fight, you kept the faith, you ran the race I designed for you.” “Welcome.” Despite being alone in this world, He never left you.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. Mt. 20:16
**I put the word “Sober” in quotes purposefully to make mention of a very simple understanding.
Moments of Spiritual Sobriety out weigh days and weeks of corporeal wastedness.
Otherwise, truly, the dominant belief must be Calvinist.
The point is:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
A reference resource: https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-church-discipline/
“The Bible provides no exhaustive list of which sins should lead to excommunication. But thinking theologically, we might say that a church should move toward public discipline only when a sin is simultaneously unrepentant, outward, and significant.” Crossway.org.
We agree. Pirates and Philistines are simultaneously unrepentant, overtly Godless and significantly: operate to influence others similarly.