Monday, March 10, 2014

So what about sin?

   In the last post I dealt with the question many receivers of the grace message get asked. Does grace mean you keep on sinning? I really don't like the premise of the question. To me it is not an honest question. How dare I make that statement? Let me explain.

 The reason I believe the question is not honest is because it's more of an accusation than honest curiosity. If one follows the critics of grace teaching you see this charge being brought up frequently. The heart of the matter is that this is in fact a misrepresentation of grace teaching. This misrepresentation is then flaunted out before the entire Body of Christ. Critics afterward proceed to argue against this misrepresentation rather than the actual words of true grace teachers. 

 So, to answer more critics what about sin? What if a believer truly falls into sin? What if a Christian finds themselves in the trappings of a habitual sin? How does a grace teacher respond?  

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  He awoke early in the morning to return to the temple. When He arrived, the people surrounded Him, so He sat down and began to teach them.  While He was teaching, the scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman who was caught in the act of adultery; and they stood her before Jesus.
Pharisees:  Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  Moses says in the law that we are to kill such women by stoning. What do You say about it?
 This was all set up as a test for Jesus; His answers would give them grounds to accuse Him of crimes against Moses’ law. Jesus bent over and wrote something in the dirt with His finger. They persisted in badgering Jesus, so He stood up straight.
Jesus: Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.
 Once again Jesus bent down to the ground and resumed writing with His finger.  The Pharisees who heard Him stood still for a few moments and then began to leave slowly, one by one, beginning with the older men. Eventually only Jesus and the woman remained, and Jesus looked up.
Jesus: Dear woman, where is everyone? Are we alone? Did no one step forward to condemn you?
Woman Caught in Adultery:  Lord, no one has condemned me.
Jesus: Well, I do not condemn you either; all I ask is that you go and from now on avoid the sins that plague you.                                John 8:1-11 voice 

    The first response is the same as The Lord Jesus Christ. We respond without condemnation. Beating the Sheep produces no fruitful change in everyday living. It actually pushes them further away from God and the fellowship with the Saints.

    I recall one time as a young man we had a family dog. It was a pure bred Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Now this dog enjoyed running over to the neighbor's yard on a frequent basis. Once I recall seeing her run off again. So I yelled for her to come home. She immediately ran to me. Once she came to me, expecting love and reward, I scolded her instead. I told her she was gonna get it and continued scolding her for running to the neighbor's yard. While all this was going on my Grandfather looked on. Finally he interjected with some wise words I have never forgotten.  
    He said to me,"Why should she come to you? When she comes you threaten to beat her."
      To be honest, I held my head low in humility. I saw how true his words were. What I had asked her to do she had complied with instantly and yet I still was harsh with her. I learned from that day to this to praise and thank any of my pets when they did what I asked.

     What has this to do with Christians sinning you may wonder? The same advice my Grandfather gave to me should be how we respond to wayward Sheep in the Body.  When Saints of God fall into sin, or even deliberately dive in because of wrong thinking and deception many may not come back because when they do all they get is a "beating". Why should the fallen Saint come back when all they get is harsh words and threats of eternal doom? What do they really get when they come back looking for restoration and wholeness and freedom? 

      We need to be minister's of reconciliation instead of condemnation.  
      Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King.  Romans 8:1 Voice

    We have no more condemnation in the Lord Jesus. Condemnation kills. It causes us to shrink back instead of running to the place of restoration. In fact Paul the Apostle showed us a great truth about helping fallen brothers.

     My spiritual brothers and sisters, if one of our faithful has fallen into a trap and is snared by sin, don’t stand idle and watch his demise. Gently restore him, being careful not to step into your own snare.  Galatians 6:1 Voice

     So the first step we see in dealing with sin is not to bring condemnation to those involved. Now I am NOT teaching that is it no real concern if one falls or dives into a sin. As I have stated already sin will always leave you wanting and wasted. It takes you further than you want to go. It has consequences you can't always foresee. I am though teaching the proper Biblical response to restore a person in sin. 

     So we see the initial response we all need is one of love, restoration and not condemnation. We need to create an atmosphere in our midst where Saints and sinners alike can run to and find the Love and mercy and grace of a loving Savior. Instead of gossiping about "loose Lucy" or "drunk Dave" or some other fallen Saint why not spend the time praying for them? Why not spend some time loving them back to God? We have all been in a place of embarrassment and shame for some action we had committed. Receiving the love from fellow believers and mercy of God is what we truly needed in those desperate times. Let us not forget we've all missed it. We must not judge others by their deeds and ourselves by our intentions. Providing an atmosphere of love will produce lasting fruitful change in the lives of believers. 
      We will continue with some more steps to take in really bring fruitful change in our lives when it comes to dealing with the sin issue. Thanks again for taking the time to read this post. I pray its blessed you and helped you in your walk with the Lord. 


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