Tag Archives: sin

But what about…?

(We are making the move back to CO and the office, school, church, etc.  Please enjoy these posts from the archives.  You are welcome to comment as usual and I will respond on the other side.)

Continuing my response to a pastor…

I hope you don’t mind that I point out something here.  You wrote: “So many Christians in our churches are now adopting a lifestyle that sees them socializing at the local pubs and there seems to be no distinction between the way we live and those who know not the Lord!”  Do you realize that this was exactly the charge the Pharisees made against Jesus?  (Mt. 11:19; Mk 2:16; Lk 15:2)  They hated Him because He didn’t play by their rules.  Instead, He simply followed the leading of His Father.

Now, understand that I do not drink or go to bars.  The only charges we can find in Scripture, though, are to avoid drunkenness and be careful not to entrust yourself to the kind of people who frequent such places.  There is some concern for those who have struggled with alcoholism also.  But is it a sin to go into a pub or bar?  It doesn’t say that in Scripture.  So I would tell people simply to follow Jesus.  There may be a time or a reason for “socializing at the pub”.  He apparently did something enough similar to that to be accused of compromise.  One of my sons works at a secular store with unbelievers.  He is known to be a Christian and has conversations all the time about the Lord.  Occasionally, his work-group will meet for a social time and the meeting place will be a pub-type place.  He prays and seeks the Lord’s will before he goes to these events and he usually is free to go.  If someone saw him there he would look just like the rest of the people, but he doesn’t drink.  He hasn’t really compromised in any way.

I have found that many people will complain about the behavior of those who understand grace because they want to do the same things.  They want the freedom a proper understanding of grace provides.  But they are afraid of what others will think.  They know that they will be judged.  So they look from the outside and criticize.  I would suggest that their own hypocrisy is a serious sin.

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A Wrong Idea about Sin

(We are making the move back to CO and the office, school, church, etc.  Please enjoy these posts from the archives.  You are welcome to comment as usual and I will respond on the other side.)

Response to a pastor continues…

You see, a lot of this comes from a wrong idea about sin.  If we think of sin as being a list of bad things that make God angry, then we will do our best to stay away from the things on the list.  There are several problems with that, but the most obvious is that once the action is on the list our flesh will seek loopholes.  Can I do it just a little bit?  Can I do this thing that is just about like it?  How close can I get before I actually do the thing on the list?  And just how angry will God get anyway?  Will He take away my salvation or arrange some sort of earthly punishment?  Just what will this action really cost me?  That kind of thinking is almost an obsession for many Christians and almost all believers struggle with it in some ways.  And this is why many believers, even serious Christian leaders, suddenly find themselves in deep trouble.  They have played near the line for so long that they have crossed it without being fully aware of it.

Another problem with thinking of sin in that way is that there will always be people who try to keep us from even coming close to the action by adding fences and rules to keep us far away.  If we want to avoid adultery, we shouldn’t watch TV because of the continual sex emphasis.  Never mind that there are many things to watch that don’t compromise sexual purity.  Just having a TV provides the possibility of lust which could lead to acting out on these thoughts and that could lead to adultery.  So, I have known people who claimed to never watch TV, never subscribe to a newspaper (underwear ads, you know), and never allow boys and girls to play together.  (It was fascinating for me to hear how many R rated movies the children of these people had watched in their own homes.  Why?  Because someone had decided that renting a video wasn’t the same as watching TV.  Remember what I said about loopholes?)  Rules upon rules, standards upon standards, will never guarantee right living.  Lust was a problem long before televisions and newspapers – even before short skirts!

 

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Why God Hates Sin

(This blog will be offline for a couple of weeks while I travel.  Please enjoy these posts from the archives.  Feel free to comment or ask questions.  I will be able to respond when I return.)

We need to understand that God sees sin as that which will hurt us.  He doesn’t hate sin because of His purity and holiness.  He is quite pure and holy whether we sin or not.  God hates sin because it hurts the people He loves.  Sin will always hurt us and it may well hurt the people around us.  A sin is an act against the will of God, not against the holiness of God.  If I want to know the will of God, I should go to Him and ask.  There are things He has spoken of in His Word that will always hurt His people.  Adultery, stealing, murder – acting without regard to others in order to satisfy the broken drives of our hearts – these will always be wrong for us.  But what about the other things?  Should I throw my grass clippings over the fence into my neighbor’s field?  My action should be guided by the love Jesus has for my neighbor, love which is reflected in my heart because of my relationship with Him.  Should I allow my 17 year old to work in a secular place?  I would have to ask Jesus about that – and listen for an answer.  Grace teaching means that God has an active interest in our lives and will provide all we need to follow His will.  In other words, He wants to lead us.

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