Do we hate sin? Or do we only aggressively deal with sin, including our own, only when we get caught… when we get “BUSTED!” How do we bring a message of reconciliation to a world that doesn’t have a relationship with God and deal with the issue of sin? It seems that if we deal with the issue of anybody else’s sin, we are being judgmental and critical. It also seems that dealing with the issue of our own sin has been somewhat put on a lower priority after the issue of raising our self image and having a firm grasp on our position as joint heirs with Christ and having the riches of Christ as our inheritance.
So how do we handle it? First off we know it has to be the way God deals with it and not the way we would deal with it. 1 Corinthians 13 says this, “If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
It is so important to do this Jesus answered the Pharisees query with this in Matthew 22…
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied:” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Paul also teaches in Galatians 5: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
All the Law and every word the Prophets spoke hang on those words. LOVE… What more need be said? Now lest we not be clear on this, we must love as God has shown us by His example. I can hear the little voice inside all of us saying, “Sure, but I am not God.” Yep, but God doesn’t ask us to be like Him, He knows we are on a journey of Sanctification. It is a process that will not end on Earth.
Just like Paul says in Romans 7: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
I believe we have gotten soft as Christians these days in dealing with sin. Am I advocating an Inquisition and a laying down of the Law and intolerance and judgmental ism, etc.? Nope, not at all. But we need to understand that just as a loving Father will discipline his child to stop his child from doing something that will hurt him, we must see a sinful world around us, sin in my own life, sin in our families, sin in our churches, and stop saying “well kids will be kids, they’ll learn someday…” The answer is not more self help programs, feel good sermon messages, and medication. It’s about aggressively engaging the journey of sanctification we all need to be on and IN LOVE… let me say it again IN LOVE, loving our neighbors enough to see them set free from as Paul said in Romans, “this body of death.” Set free from that which hinders us from becoming more like Christ.