Point of View: There is no room for guile among believers
by LARRY STRACENER
Special to Florida Baptist Witness

Article Date: Jun 23, 2014

Jesus saw Nathaniel, His newest disciple to be, approaching with his brother, Philip, and said of him:

 
“Behold, a true Israelite; in whom is no guile.” John 1:47
 
Peter, who denied Jesus three times, was also paid this same high praise in his eulogy to Jesus:
 
“… neither was guile found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:22
 
Jesus ascribed no such virtue to any other disciple.  To have defined Nathaniel as such was indeed high praise.  For Peter to have attributed this same virtue to Jesus was unique, to say the least, as we consider Peter’s own guile—his deceit—in denying Jesus.
 
For guile is rendered deceit or false in other Bible translations.  Few men or women in my life’s experience have been without guile in some measure, including, sad to say, this writer.
 
Church used to be “what you see is what you get.”  Is this still true?  Too often we preach a soft, casual gospel, one which lacks discipline (note “disciple”) and a commitment to “take up your cross and follow me.”
 
This is guile and deceit, plain and simple.  And if the brethren are offended by it, so be it.
 
A false gospel has no place in the process of confession, conversion and commitment to Christian living.  It is a “gospel” with truth left out of it and, therefore, a total absence of Divine promise.
 
We must become a people who are not afraid to present the whole Gospel.  This must emanate from our leadership and infuse the people of God with a renewed sense of purpose and witness.
 
Larry Stracener is a 50-year member of First Baptist Church of Winter Park. He is the son of the late Dr. W.G. Stracener, a pastor and past editor of the Witness.

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