CONFRONTING SIN WITH THE SHARP SWORD OF TRUTH, WHICH IS THE WORD
***This was in response to a friend who once had a powerful ministry that dealt with intense sin through the love, mercy and truth of Jesus Christ….but he was ultimately shamed and bullied into denying the eternal word and placing worldly friendships and short-term acceptance by this sick and dying planet, over the everlasting truth of the Living God.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:19-21
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20
“…And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:23
When I read some of your thoughts on grace and accepting everyone as they are, they do, for a moment, sound good. But as I ponder them in light of scripture, they sound more to me like the basic philosophies and principals of this PC world rather than the principles of our glorious and eternal God, Jesus Christ(Colossians 2,8). Jesus didn’t come to make sinners happy, content and affirmed in their sin. He came instead to set his precious children free – free from the eternal fire of hell which he says, very clearly, is the consequence of sin. Jesus told the adulteress, whom he saved from a brutal death, to “go and sin no more.” He told the man he healed by the pool in John 5 to “stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” He told others that if their right arm causes them to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better to go into heaven maimed than to be cast into hell. Hell, according to Jesus, is very, very real.(See, “Hell and the Wrath of God,” Linked at the bottom of this article).
So, while accepting everyone as they are, without addressing sin with the sharp double-edged sword of the word, and the idea of “non-judgment” sounds good to the world’s itching ears…it is not real love in the eyes of our God, who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Jesus and Paul tell us to make “right judgments” based on the spirit (John 7:24; 1 Cor. 2:14-15), not to ignore the obvious. It is not love according to our God, if we who are called to love, refuse to address the sin of those we are instructed to love – especially when we know that such sins will lead to hell…if we even believe in sin and hell anymore.
In 1 Thessalonians4:2-8 (one of the many scriptures addressing sexual sin) Paul states that anyone who rejects his teaching on sexual immorality rejects God himself. Thus, we can deduce that there is something very important to both God and Satan about sexuality. One created it and wants to preserve the beauty and holiness of it – while the other wants to destroy it, and us along with it.
What hurts a person who is living in open sin worse – being confronted with that sin directly by someone who loves them, with a heart focused on getting them to heaven with Jesus forever – or simply allowing them live in false love and acceptance for the next 40 or so years, which will ultimately lead to an eternity in hell, where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched? Most people who are living an openly sinful lifestyle both love and hate their sin, so of course it is going to hurt – and badly – when they are confronted with the fact that the sin they indulge in daily, and often with great delight, and which actually has become integral to their identity, is presented as a grievous error in the sight of living God. The humiliation of seeing these acts for what they are – along with the fear of rejection by clueless Christians are very, very real – but also very short term when eternity is at stake. Real love through Jesus is caring more about their eternal destiny then it is about being comfortable, happy and accepted on this planet.
Paul cared about one thing as he carried the gospel across the known world – the souls of men. He didn’t seek to be liked or affirmed or to make people happy. He preached, with great passion, the true gospel of repentance and grace plainly and clearly, whatever the personal cost was to him…so that by all means some, even one, might be saved.
Attaining eternity with God in unimaginable glory, beauty and peace is the true purpose of our lives. We are all called, loudly and clearly, to throw off every sin that entangles us, and to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead..pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-14).
As James (and John) said, friendship with the world is hatred towards God and becoming a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God. So why is it that we seek acceptance by this world instead of acceptance from the one and only God? See scriptures below:
How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God “John 5:44 (NIV84)
“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” John 12:42-43
Are we afraid of being rejected by the world – being thrown out of the PC synagogue – if we stand for truth? Jesus was hated by the world (John 15) and he told us that we would be hated as well if we really are his disciples. So why – why do we so hunger for the approval of a sick, sinful world that is going burn in the end? Paul lived for the eternal kingdom of God – one which can never be shaken – for he truly understood the words of Jesus…”For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?”
A few other key verses, which push me to take a very close look at all that I speak, write and approve, are….
Romans 14:22b “Blessed is the man who is not condemned by what he approves.”
1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them for in doing so you may save both yourself and your hearers.”
I do not want my worst enemy to burn in hell for eternity. How much more do I want to protect those I know and love from the flames – the flames which Jesus himself refers to on many occasions as being very real? Let is put aside the fear of appearing legalistic or judgmental, and with love, address the sin of those we care about and hope that they will do the same for us. Perhaps, as Jude says, we can snatch them from the flames…for in hell, the fire is never quenched.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.