Tag Archives: sin

Loving People Despite Their Behavior

Loving people is hard, and it’s a struggle to do it well. If you haven’t found it difficult to love, at one point in time or another, you’re probably doing it wrong. Because loving people, especially when they’re behaving sinfully, is hard.

People by virtue are sinful, and sinful people make for difficult objects of love. Even regenerate sinners, God bless them, are difficult. (Maybe a little easier than non-believers? But hard to love nonetheless!)

The challenge of love is compounded when the people you’re trying to love are apathetic or even hateful towards you. The typical response given by society, and an extremely appealing solution, is to only love those who love you in return and to cut everyone else away. It is easy to be drawn by this idea, yet it is sinful to the core—for it stands against God’s second greatest command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I like the way Paul Tripp put it when he said, “If we only love our neighbor when he or she loves us in return, we’re not loving our neighbors, just ourselves.”

Most of us find it difficult to love unconditionally because love is treated like a bank account. People have to deposit into our banks, love, kindness, and charity, if they hope to receive the same kind of treatment in turn. The people with whom we’re frustrated and have a hard time loving are those people who haven’t deposited anything into our account. Their funds have run dry. Yet God would say to you and me, “love them anyway and put it on my account.”

Unconditional love is possible as we recognize what God has done for us. It is that realization that empowers us to love others unconditionally. God’s bank account from which we draw is infinite. He never withholds His grace or forgiveness, and “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Paying the ultimate price. God’s love was not contingent upon our behavior, if it were then we would never receive it.

When we love the undeserving, it’s a picture of Christ’s love. It’s a love that doesn’t make sense to the world. It’s a love that is unmerited. Because for Christians, their love should come from God, freely given as it is freely received.

Advertisements

Are Christians Who Disapprove of Homosexuality Bigots?

There is a growing number of Christians who feel that refusing to accept a homosexual’s lifestyle is an act of hatred. Those who consider homosexual behavior as immoral aren’t “loving their neighbor.” After all, if we claim to love someone, shouldn’t we just accept the decisions that they make?

On the surface, it seems that to “love” means to accept the lifestyle choice of same-sex individuals. Yet, when God’s Word shines its light on this issue, our acceptance of homosexuality proves to be hatred and an absolute disregard for life.

Imagine visiting a doctor. He tells you that you’re healthy but the truth is that you are dying of a disease. He doesn’t tell you that you’re dying because he is trying to spare your feelings. How egregious is his malpractice? A person is dying and the doctor cares more about feelings than actually dealing with the issue at hand.

When Christians tell anyone that their sinful lifestyle, which is explicitly condemned in the Bible, is acceptable to God, they in actuality are showing hatred by approving of what ultimately leads to judgment. Isn’t that similar to how Satan tempted Eve in the garden saying, “You shall not surely die . . .” It’s a error of biblical proportions that people can break God’s Law without suffering the penalty that is due.

For example, the biblical warnings in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Do we not take them seriously?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul contrasts what the believers used to practice as a normal part of their life. But their conversion and regeneration in the Spirit meant that these are no longer normal practices. It’s not to say they were sinless or never struggled with their old life. But they never accepted it as a part of normal Christian living!

In Romans 1:32, after Paul had outlined the progression of depravity that defined mankind, including homosexuality (v. 26-27), he makes this stark judgment:

32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Paul condemns with equal force those who practice this evil and those who approve of it.

By giving approval to sin, we are saying that sin is “okay” with God, He’ll tolerate it. They are both lies. Sin is heinous to God, so much so that He had to pay the ultimate price—dying for it on the cross.

We show love to people not by approving of their sin, which leads to judgment, but by showing them the Savior of the Bible, Who died for the sins of world, so that men and women in bondage to sin could be free and live in newness of life.

Wrong Medication Kills

We live in a world that tells us that we can do everything on our own. The solution offered by our society is to try harder, and if we fall pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, but there’s a problem. We are weak sinful human beings. We try hard to change our lives but things aren’t really changing. The new years resolutions for overcoming sin keep repeating… Why does this happen? We are taking the wrong medication. Let me explain, this world does not believe that we are sinful. In fact the world believes that we were born perfect. If the problem is misdiagnosed, how is the solution given valid? People die when they take the wrong medication. The truth is that we’re sinners and we need a Savior. We needed this Savior the moment we began the race, and we need Him just as much when we’re running.

You Always Need Jesus

When I was a child I was really lazy, and so I would never really chew my food… I would always just swallow it (Looking back I don’t know why, really how long does chewing take?). As you can imagine, a day came when I choked on some food. In that moment I really needed some oxygen. What’s funny is that I always need air, but it’s just that I don’t realize it until something dramatic happens. In the same way, we always need our Savior. There is no moment when we have outgrown our need for Christ. He saved us on the Cross and He is saving us daily.

Recognize the Problem

What is our responsibility when we find ourselves struggling with sin? Do we just need to try harder and bite our lip? If you think by trying harder and believing in yourself you can overcome sin, I guarantee you that you will fail. For an individual to truly change there must be a realization of our depravity and the power sin has in our lives. The lie propagated by Satan is that we are self-sufficient: we do not need anyone except ourselves.

Key to Victory

I love the story told by Lewis Sperry Chaffer. Chaffer spoke of his mentor CI Scofield and the bullying he experienced as a child. Scofield went to a country school, and he had to walk almost a mile to get there. On his way to school, he would constantly get beat up by a bully. One day he got sick of the shoving, teasing, and punching and decided to fight his bully. The problem was the bully was significantly bigger than him, and so he was quickly put to the ground and the pounding began… With all his power Scofield tried to fight, but he was no match. Then with all his might he called out to his brother, who was bigger than the bully, and he came and took the fight. Scofield just stepped aside and watched. That day Scofield learned to turn the fight over to someone else. What’s the use of being all mangled up and never having victory said Scofield. The battle is always won by faith in Christ and depending on Him who conquered death. No matter what we are going through it is vital that we cry out like Scofield to our ‘true elder brother’ Jesus Christ. When we depend on Him, and trust in Him alone we are able to have victory in the struggles of life.

When you struggle with sin don’t take the wrong medication. We are born sinners and we need a Savior. If we could save ourselves, then Christ died for nothing. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Are you trusting in Christ or yourself?