God Views All Sin As Egregious
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
In a previous post, one of the most divisive, permitted sins within the body of Christ – by the body of Christ – was mentioned. Those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior act out of ignorance. The body of Christ acts out of insolence when it is embraced internally by the children of God. This, of course, is Sexual Sin, and today in particular, the acceptance of the acted-upon desires of some to have sex with people who have the same chromosomal pairs that they do. We used to be able to call this homosexuality. However, with today’s cultural acceptance of gender reassignment surgery and “gender identity”, it is becoming harder to assign that specific label to it from a cultural sense.
Each of us, whether we realize it or not, assign specific a “severity” to certain sins. For some, historical revisionism (lying) is the absolutely worst sin a person can actively entertain. After all, Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees when He called Satan their father for telling lies. For others, it might be theft, adultery, or <fill in the sin that you find most “vile” here>.
How about murder? Most of us would be quite uncomfortable being around a person who intentionally took someone else’s life in an unjustified, non-accidental way. How many people would have been comfortable being around Jeffrey Dahmer? Yet many people who were murderers – King David, Saul (who became Paul the Apostle), and others were murderers in the Bible! We applaud their lives, and would gladly break bread with them. What is the difference?
They were chosen by God and redeemed. They repented of their sin. So did Jeffrey Dahmer. Wait – did your opinion of Jeff suddenly change with that revelation? If so, ask yourself why? Of course, the answer if that once a person gives themselves to God – AND REPENTS OF THEIR SIN – they are considered blameless before all. It is the act of REPENTANCE and the grace of God that does this.
But let’s look at this in view of the “open acceptance” of “active homosexual practice” within the body Christ. Paul reprimanded the Corinthian Church for permitting – and being accepting of – sexual sin by members of that body of Christ (in this particular instance, incest). Why is this important?
- We are image-bearers of God. As such, we should be acting in the character and nature of God. When we continually engage in sin without repentance, we are obscuring the holiness of God and bringing shame upon His name – His character.
- A little leaven leavens the whole lump. When we allow open sin to be tolerated within the body of Christ, others will see it, and think that it is perfectly acceptable to engage in that sin. Once sin begins to take a hold of our lives, it leads to the obscuring of our judgment of other sin, and it will be like a snowball rolling down a snow-covered mountain – it will get bigger and move faster, until it becomes nearly unstoppable, or starts an avalanche of snow.
- We will be JUDGED. When we engage in open sin, knowing that it is sin, and accept it (and maybe even be proud of our acceptance of it), we are engaging in the same behavior that the Israelites did when God sent conquering nations to overcome and disperse them. If you like being “spanked by God”, feel free to slap God in the face and say, “I’ll do whatever I want to do, and You can’t tell me otherwise. After all, God, You have to give me grace when I sin, so back off – I’m going to do this because it makes me feel good.”
So, let’s put all of this into perspective. For the “sake of argument”, let us say that a person in the body of Christ is murdering other people. It doesn’t matter how they do it – strangulation, knifing, shooting, raping to death, vehicular homicide, the method is not important. What IS important is that they are doing it CURRENTLY. Would you feel comfortable sitting beside a murderer who continues to practice murder, and then comes into the body of Christ AS IF THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG, and sit beside you and your family?
OK, while that is highly unlikely (as most of us would have reported them to the authorities for prosecution), let’s look at another sin that is more likely to occur. How about the serial adulterer? Would you be comfortable if your family and friends were sitting next to a man who was giving you or your spouse or children the “winking eye” looking at them as though they were a delicious meal waiting to be devoured, in a sexual sense? That in every glance, it appeared that they wanted to just “take you” (or perhaps, everyone [as in an orgy]) right then and there?
Or how about an attractive, well endowed, shapely young woman who dressed with a low-cut blouse and a very short skirt, showing most of God gave to her through her near lack of clothing, making puckered lips with half closed eyes, winking at everyone, legs spread, nearly offering herself to any that would take her? While I understand that this is a horrid picture of behavior in the body of Christ, most people would be uncomfortable with such an overt display of sinful behavior.
Most sins are within, or well hidden from the view of others. It is the visible ones that we tend to assign greater disgust as we are aware of them. But God doesn’t distinguish between them. Whether we tell little white lies, secretly lust for someone, or any other attitude of the heart that is not only left unchecked, but actively pursued, is just as evil in the eyes of God as the man and woman mentioned above. Or the man and his stepmother engaging in incest. Or actively pursuing homo/bisexuality.
Know this: every person that you sit beside while worshiping has committed sin, including YOU. We don’t have a problem sitting next to them, even though they may have committed the most egregious of sins. So why do we place such an aversion to recovering homosexuals? Aren’t we all:
- Recovering liars?
- Recovering adulterers (in attitude if not practice)?
- Recovering murderers (in attitude if not practice)?
- Recovering thieves (in attitude [covetousness] if not practice)?
- Recovering idolaters (and many of us still ARE idolaters!)?
- The list goes on and on…
The good news is that Jesus is a friend of sinners. Look at the company he kept:
- Tax collectors (Matthew, Zacchaeus)
- Demon-possessed people (Mary Magdalene)
- Ceremonially Unclean
- You and Me
Jesus befriended them, and us, because we were/are sick and are in need of spiritual healing. We should do the same. We acted in ignorance, and God gave us grace. We need to do the same for those who are acting out of ignorance (those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), regardless of their sin. We need to embrace them as Jesus did. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
However, within the body of Christ, that is something else. We are to keep leaven (sin) as far from the body of Christ (within the body of Christ) as possible. We should not tolerate any sin within the body. We are to encourage one another to be sanctified in the Word without being judgmental (judge the sin, not the person), confessing our sins to one another, and praying for one another so that our sins might be forgiven and we would be healed. All of this is to be done with tenderness, compassion, and love; discipline without love is harsh and not well-received. We look for a gentle rebuke from our Father in heaven, not a drill-sergeant screaming in our face at how poorly we have acted. We should engage in discipline in the same way.
Jesus had the greatest compassion for those whose hearts were broken over their sin, and the harshest words for those who knew the law and didn’t follow it. Let us, as the days grow darker and more evil, encourage one another along in our faith, our sanctification, and our hopeful expectation that our Lord Jesus Christ will soon appear again. Make SURE you are like the five virgins who had stocked up on oil waiting for the bridegroom. Don’t be caught abusing the servants – be about the master’s work, getting everything prepared for his return.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Are we viewing some sins as more grievous than other sins as we see them in others?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You cannot tolerate sin in Your presence. Help me to view You as the Holy God that you are. Show me in Your word where I am falling short, and help me to turn from unrighteousness to You. Help me to be broken over my sin, and to seek You in forgiveness. Father, help me to see others as You see them, that I would not categorize sin as anything other than what it is – disobedience to You. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?