Recently I have been watching the church lean toward what many believe is a more loving approach toward reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some Christians are telling others their sin is okay.
Pick any sin. My thinking remains the same.
Some Christians are saying things like,
- God is love. (This is true.)
- I don’t want to offend anyone. (Neither do I.)
However, this way of thinking is causing some to accommodate sin in the church.
By this I mean we are letting it live, embracing it, not addressing it…and certainly not calling it the s-word. (sin)
Please hear the following distinction.
Anyone on earth is welcome in any Bible-believing church (I hope).
But when they attend, may they be surrounded by authentic relationship (I hope) and meaningful conversation (I hope) with others who have also been offended by the gospel. You and I are not the offenders when we share Jesus with great love. The gospel message tells each of us we are incredibly sinful from birth but praise God, there is a solution.
A Savior died for it all.
Jesus died for it all so we don’t have to be slave to it any longer.
Yet we dare to enable people by telling them their sin is okay and keeping them enslaved.
That approach is not very loving.
Instead, I wish we would remember:
- It is good when something is called a sin because sin has a solution.
- When we tell someone their sin is okay, we also infer they don’t need a Savior.
A person who does not grapple with their sin (however painful the process may be) never enters into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
So church, what some are calling a more loving approach to people may not be so loving after all.
In fact, we may be making things worse than they already are.
Some may take the two items just listed above and feel justified in speaking strongly to all manner of sin issues in people’s lives. That would be a misapplication of my thoughts and of the gospel.
God is love, after all. Yes, it is true.
I have been challenged by a principle shared by Rosario Butterfield. Our words cannot be stronger than our relationships. By this, I understand she means:
We don’t have the right to speak strongly about personal issues to someone we don’t know just as strongly.
Otherwise, I suppose, we are a noisy gong or a clanging symbol because love is missing in our message (1 Corinthians 13:1).
This then throws me back to a prior paragraph, that if someone attends my church – and meets me – they should find, “authentic relationship (I hope) and meaningful conversation (I hope) with[another] who [has] been offended by the gospel.”
How are we doing church? The starting place is with ourselves.
Really. Take a good, hard, look. Don’t quit reading now.
I have heard Rosaria tweak the common phrase, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin.” She adds specificity by by re-phrasing this generality as, “Love the sinner. Hate your own sin.” You see, with the first statement (Love the sinner. Hate the sin.)
- I don’t have to address my own life at all.
- Perhaps even worse, I get to hate one sin over another.
- Worse yet, I get to really hate someone’s sin more than my own.
How good that can feel. How superior that can make me feel. Such a posture spirals me right into a whole new sin, PRIDE.
There is no room in Christendom for stratifying the sinful nature we each inherit. Each of us is on level ground at the foot of the cross with everyone else on the globe. None of us need a Savior less than someone else.
Let’s look in the mirror.
Let’s slay what sin lurks in us. Confess it. Be freed from it. Bathe in forgiveness.
And let’s not stand in the way of anyone else benefiting from the same process.
Picture Explanation: From our family to yours, we are thankful for the refining fire of our Savior’s forgiveness that gives us great hope, a way out, and provides the only path to victorious living.
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