Recently, I went through the painful process of leaving a church that believed turning from sins was necessary for salvation. As an immature believer, I didn’t identify right away what was wrong with their doctrine and faithfully followed their teaching. With time, I became more and more troubled. I was unsure whether I had turned from enough of my sins until one day, the Lord showed me the truth and brought Free Grace doctrine into my life. Understanding that turning from sins is part of discipleship, not salvation, marked a beautiful change in my relationship with Him and helped me to see many things about Christ in a different light (Eph 2:8-9), one of which was the purpose of fellowship with other believers in the Body of Christ.
Once I learned to reconcile passages that had been confusing to me with the simple promise of eternal life through faith in Christ alone, I started to share my faith with people in my congregation. At first, I was quite optimistic and thought that due to the absence of free grace books and materials in Spanish (I live in Spain), they were just confused and needed truth. However, each time I shared the message of God’s free grace, I encountered the same specific mindset that was hard to overcome (“But their minds were blinded...”, 2 Cor 3:14).
Many times I felt discouraged after such conversations. It significantly impacted my faith and my resilience to doubts. Of course, each time I went back to the Lord, but it was after talking to my beloved free grace brethren that I felt totally “clean” and that my faith became “pure” again: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. No additives. (1 John 3:3)
“that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love”.Ephesians 4:14-16
Every time my boldness in the Lord was shaken by limited and twisted human thinking, my Free Grace brethren brought me back to the Word, “speaking the truth,” comforting and filling me with hope and reminding me of the coming rewards in Christ. They were restoring in me the truth which can be so easily distorted while we are walking in the world. But, this required us to be “knit together,” staying in contact, finding time for fellowship in the midst of our busy lives, the courage to open our hearts to each other, and watchfulness to notice each other’s spiritual needs.
“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren”. Luke 22:32
Fellowship with other believers helps us to stand in the faith. We read in Acts that the first Christians were always together (Acts 2:42). As their environment was much more hostile than ours nowadays, staying together helped them to hold tight to the faith. This is why Jesus commanded His disciples to love each other, since any slight disagreement might lead to a break in fellowship and weaken His body on earth (John 13:34; 1 Cor 1:10; Phil 1:27).
Every day that we are in contact with the world, we get impacted by it and by the message it spreads, especially when we proclaim the truth. We need to be sure that we are rooted in the truth since the enemy’s efforts are directed towards snatching that truth from us and confusing our minds (2 Cor 11:3). The body of Christ helps us to defend the truth boldly, which requires brotherly support. This was true even for the Apostle Paul himself (Eph 6:18-20).
We are also commanded to feed one another for the edification of Christ's body.
“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.’”Luke 12:42-43
In this parable, the Lord is talking about how mature believers (or leaders) should support Christians who are younger in the faith by delivering to them the spiritual food needed for growth, which is the Word. As members of His Body, we are surrounded by believers who are more or less mature in Christ than us. We can feed ourselves through fellowship with more mature believers and feed less mature believers with the spiritual knowledge that we already have. In such a way, we can take an active part in the ongoing edification of Christ’s body, one of the most wonderful plans of God. The stronger we are in the Lord, the more efficient we will be in delivering His message to the world, and the more fruit we will bring to Him as the Gardener.
Stay connected to your free-grace brethren. Share verses, songs, and experiences you go through. Pray for each other. Don’t miss the opportunity to strengthen someone in his Christian walk or to support someone who has failed.
“Two are better than one,Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
These efforts guarantee rich rewards in eternity and allow us to abundantly experience the life He gave us here and now.