When I first got saved, it was 1991 in Heratige baptist church, Lebanon Missouri (It was actually the second time I prayed the sinners prayer, the first time being in västervångskyrkan, Malmö, but this time I actually understood it and had conviction of sin.) I was transformed by the power of His blood, I was a new man and I let everybody know, I preached at anyone who came within a mile and in my line of sight. I told them frankly that they where on the way to hel and that they needed to turn or burn! I was full of the truth of God and had no intention of toning it down, taking it easy or growing up!
That all changed spring 1992 when I was cornered by a girl hanging out at our favorite cafe Shake and bake in Malmö. She said so if I am a sinner as I have heard you say, if I die tonight will I go to Hell? Without missing a beat I said, Yes! And went on to explain that jesus had died so that she could have eternal life. She left me saddened by my words and I could not for my life guess what would happen next.
A week later I found out that she had killed herself that same night, she was a good friend of my ex-girlfriend (I didn’t know this either at the time I had spoken to her.) I could’t help but to think that OI could have worded my response differently, I could have shown her the unending Love of God in a better light, I could have been Jesus reaching out to her from the cross and proving that she was indeed both loved and wanted!
After that I did tone down, so much that I lost track of the truth and became all grace, God would forgive everybody and I started to believe like everyone else seems to in Sweden that heaven is for everyone no matter what. It was all about the love and tolerance, human rights became my new religion and soon I had lost my Christian lifestyle completely. I worked with organisations like the Red Cross, AWOD and the Guardian Angels. In the Angels I found the cure for my ailing conciense and I fought crime, drugs, violence, racism and bigottry vehemently. I became a Senior coordinater and one out of five black-belts in the GA martial art Kyodokan. I travelled the world and lived like a monk (in some sense we where monks, we had no pay, slept on hard floors and gave our lives to fighting evil). But how do you fight evil in a humanistic society, where the target is ever changing, what was evil yesterday is not necessarily evil today, it all depends on what trend society is following at the moment.
Then God happened! I was on the way to New York sitting in my GA uniform getting ready to take over the training of the New York chapter and teach them the newly upgraded training manual. Suddenly I felt like scales fell of my eyes and I could see a birds eye view of my life, I was involved with an occult movement (aside of my GA affiliation) where everyone where performing rituals and spells to gain health, jobs, money, love and happiness. But the sad fact was that not anyone of us had any of the things we where praying for, further more the only time I had encountered true freedom and happiness was in church. I was destroyed confused and scared, would God want me now that I had wandered so far from Him?
I wandered the streets of New York randomly and stumbled in to a bible bookshop, I found a study bible on sale with a picture of a knight holding a sword on the front, I liked the imagery and luckily it cost exactly what I had in my pocket so I bought it. I flipped up a thumb verse and landed in Luke 15:11-24. I started crying as God ministered His eternal grace to me and I came back to God, fully restored and sanctified. I started preaching truth again!
I could never reconciliate the truth of God with the grace of God, I knew the answer was Jesus (It always is) but I couldn’t see it.
In the spring 2001 Warren Downey preached on the subject. He said most young Christians start out with 100% truth as they tend to forget the grace God has extended them, as we get older in the faith and we fail more frequently we start preaching grace more and more because we ourselves do not measure up to the standard God has set. The more we sin, the more we tone down the truth so that we will be more acceptable in the light of our own words. We often mistake this for humility. Where in sad fact it is often watering down of the gospel to ease our own concience.
Jeus is the answer! Jesus was 100% truth and 100% grace. Like with the adulterous woman. ([bible]John 8:3-16[/bible]) Jesus chooses not to condemn the woman, not because He had sinned Himself but because His mission was to reconcile the world with God, therefore showing 100% grace towards the woman. Then he sais “Go and sin no more!” BEING 100% TRUTH!
We need to be like Jesus, all forgiving and all loving, showing mercy and empathy towards a lost and confused world. And at the same time we need to be uncompromizing in our adherence and devotion to the truth of God. We need to be razor sharp and steadfast in a world wich condemns our passion for holiness as narrow minded and intolerant.