Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Losing our Religion: Stone Throwers or Love bearers?

having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:5 NKJV 

 We've been in an ongoing study concerning the religious traditions of men. We are seeing the benefit of relinquishing religion and embracing God's goodness and His truth, God's Word. Staying with the Word brings freedom, life, and wholeness. Traditional concepts of men just lead to confusion and striving. 

 If you've been a long time reader/subscriber to this Good News of Grace blog site you know we've dealt with the sin issue extensively. We've seen how God has dealt with the sin issue. When we get to know our Father more and more we can see things from His perspective better and better.

 In this study of losing our religion, we've seen God is always good. We have seen Grace is greater than shame. Today, as you may guess, I sense the need to once again address the right response to the question of sin.

 Recently, a famous Christian singer came into controversy. She didn't respond to some question about what is or isn't sin in a manner that was satisfactory to some. In the midst of the controversy, what I took note of was not the issue of her response but rather how the Church responded to her. How the Body of Christ treated her. 

Stones at the ready?

 Let me first say this. When addressing the secular world, what words are they going to hear and take heed to? That their "favorite" behavior is wrong? Going back in my lifetime, seeing the world around me, behavior choices like using profanity, engaging in sexual immorality, drunkenness etc were not taboo to the average unsaved person. This was just living. Not using expletives to describe every situation, waiting until marriage, not getting drunk seemed like an old-fashioned, boring, missing out on the fun, way to live.

 So, standing in a secular audience and bringing the love of God to them, what would capture their hearts more? Telling them that this behavior is a sin? Telling them how wrong they are? Or just sharing how loved and valuable they are to God? That He isn't mad at them and He has a free gift awaiting them? Obviously, sharing God's love is the key, not pointing out what all is sinful in their lives.

 Pointing out the sins and flaws of the lost sends the wrong message. It clouds the message of the Cross that says come freely. It pollutes the Gospel with the idea of Grace plus good works. It conveys the concept that before one can come to God and receive new life in Christ, they must clean up their act. They need to deal with their sin and then God will receive them. If we could clean up ourselves why did Jesus die for us? This is the lie of religion that we must be found worthy of His Grace and good enough to receive His free gift. 

 Is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ supposed to be stone throwers or love bearers? Are we to have stones at the ready when one of our own doesn't respond the way some think they should? Is it our job to point out the evil in this World? What I mean are we supposed to just roam the streets and proclaim to all how much of a sinner they are?

Superstitious Christians

superstition is not just throwing salt or carrying a rabbit's foot. A different type of superstition exists among Christians. Some so focus on the commandments, the passages speaking of behavior, and the Law that they respond to them in a superstitious manner. 

Allow me to elaborate before you think I'm off base. I am referring to looking at the Word as the letter and not the Spirit. I am referring to folk living in fear of breaking a statute, a command. In other words, one sees someone stumble, they can't respond in mercy but only in a harsh judgment. Why? They are so entrenched in the letter and not the Spirit. 

 Jesus was brought a woman caught in sin. Yet what was His response? Stone her? No, He gave her the gift of no condemnation. He did acknowledge this was a sin but He gave her the key to overcome. 

 Some are so superstitious of His commands, fearing if they missed it one little bit. Why is this? The root of this fearful approach is because they don't know Grace. They haven't experienced His love in His fullness. They are unsure and uncertain about their own security and assurance in Christ.

 Therefore, these are known more for what they are against than what they are for. Grace and mercy and the love of the Father say I love people a whole lot more than I hate their sins. The religious superstitious mantra is the opposite. They hate the sins of people more than they love them. 

 Hate the sin but love the person? Yes, that is biblical. That is the Gospel. The reason some hate that phrase is that in reality, the message claimed to love the person but instead focused so much more on the hate of the sin. Hate sin? Yes, for sin is evil. Sin destroys, it kills, it robs. Jesus did something about it though. He died for us all. Now it's about receiving a free gift and then that sin stuff won't appeal to us, to our new heart.

  Back to the situation of the Christian singer. Some were angry that the person didn't answer clearly that the behavior in question was a sin. This leads me to point out Jesus and the Apostles. When Paul preached to the idolatrous Gentiles, why didn't he go on a long rant about how sinful they were? When Peter came into the Gentiles house, did he detail how sinful they were before ministering to them? No, they shared the Gospel.  

 This woman is a divorcee, a woman living with a man she isn't married to. She is having sex outside of marriage. Think of the life of this woman.

 Scripture tells us she was going to the well in the later afternoon. Why? Because she was the one in known sin and the people in her town would gossip and put her down. She avoided the people by going late in the day. Can you imagine the guilt, the unworthiness she dealt with continually? 

 This passage in John proves beyond doubt that Jesus is Grace. The passage begins by saying:
But He needed to go through Samaria. John 4:4 NKJV

 This is Grace. He needed to go through Samaria because Grace needed to meet this woman right where she was. Immorality and all. Grace finds us where we are. He doesn't wait for us to find or seek Him. 

 How did Jesus respond to her? Did He list the passages and read them to her with a clenched fist and finger wagging? Did He speak of the commandments against adultery and fornication? Did He call her a worthless whore? Did He gather the town around to reinforce the truth that fornication and living together before marriage was sinful? Most importantly, did Jesus tell them to gather some stones?

 Jesus pointed her to a natural well. Showing her that drinking from the world, the flesh and the temptations of the enemy leave us wanting. Leave us unfulfilled and always thirsting. He pointed her to Himself. He showed her partaking of Himself and receiving the free gift of Grace is the only thing that will satisfy. 

In summation, this is the message we should be proclaiming to the world. Not how sinful they are but how loved they are. Show them how empty and unfulfilling their sin really is. Point them to the only One that will satisfy. We are to be love bearers proclaiming the Good News. Jesus doesn't have a stone in hand. He has nail-scarred hands open to receive whosoever will come and receive this gift freely. 

Image courtesy of Tongrajantaduang at

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