Jason and I were blessed to be able to travel home to Kentucky to spend Thanksgiving with our families. We were also thankful for the opportunity to sit under some good preaching and Bible study. There has been a reoccurring theme in the sermons I hear, conversations I have, and what is pressing on my heart lately. I keep thinking about how nonchalantly we treat sin. We live our lives as if sin has no effect or consequence. We uplift Bible characters such as Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul, but we distance ourselves from them by saying that they lived in a different time. We often place them on a pedestal because they are the foundation of our faith. Don’t misunderstand me, these are great men of God, but they also each had sin that God dealt with; quite severely at times. I can not help but wonder if we avoid connecting with these men of faith not only because we do not want the responsibility of sharing the Gospel with our entire lives, but also because we do not want to accept that God hates sin and punishes sinners. Yes; I just said it. We have a superiority complex. We believe our sin, no matter what sin it is, should be looked over by God. After all, isn’t God a loving God? He certainly is, but He is also just. We can not have one without the other. What we have created in modern, American Christianity is not the God of the Bible at all, but a puppet we pull out of a bag when needed and control with our own hand.
Last Easter, Dr. David Platt held one of his Secret Church services via satellite. He shared about how he had been reamed in the media for a comment he had previously made about how God hated sinners. That was just uncouth. No one could say that! Why? That would mean that God hated me and you. That He, in fact, cared about our sin. Dr. Platt went on to quote from Scripture what he was talking about. There are examples in God’s Word that say that God hates sinners. Psalms 5:4-6 says, “For You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with You. The boastful cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all evildoers. You destroy those who tell lies; the Lord abhors a man of bloodshed and treachery.” Now, before you think I’ve gone off the deep end and am about to be heretical, just stay with me a few more minutes, if you will, to allow me to make the point I feel God is making. God is perfect and holy. Sin can not be in His presence. If He is a just and righteous God, He must hate those who sin. Could He be just or righteous if He didn’t? Would He then be God? No! He must object to those who do evil. The paradox comes because God also loves sinners. He shows His love, mercy, and grace to those who sin. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” Jason just preached a message from Deuteronomy about how only God can rescue us from Himself. God knows that we can not “fix” the problem. He sent His son Jesus Christ, who is also God, to be the sacrifice and the propitiation for our sin. Romans 5:8 says, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Christ reconciles us to God when we place our faith and trust in Him. We not only believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, we live our lives as an example that this is true. When Christ comes in to your life, you change! You are no longer a hated sinner, but a beloved child! Praise God!
The problem is that we want to run away with the grace and mercy, and forget about the penalty for sin. There is no such thing as casual Christianity in Scripture! There exists a radical faith among those who are called followers in God’s Word. Matthew 6:24 says, “‘No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.'” I find this so applicable to our lives today. We live as though we are islands unto ourselves. God is a Sunday social club we attend. Through the week, we work as hard as possible to acquire more material possessions so that the rest of the world knows we are a part of the social elite. In our minds, we are serving two masters: God and money. We are pleasing ourselves and indulging in idolatry, which is a sin. However, we are not truly serving God because we attend a building once a week. John 3:30 says, “‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:31b, “‘I die every day!'” He goes on in verse 34a to say, “Come to your senses and stop sinning.” To be a follower of Jesus, a Christian, we must deny ourselves; a foreign concept in our society. Christ must be first, and we must be last. We must die to who we are, and let Christ live through us. Does this sound casual to you?
We are in great need of an awakening in our own personal lives and in the body of Christ. God does not need or desire our lip service. He is longing for, and only accepts, those who are truly committed to Him. I pray that we stop living as though our sin doesn’t matter, and begin to realize that we can make a difference if we live for Jesus. We have to stop being casual about our faith because there is nothing haphazard about being a slave to Christ. We must be deliberate, or we will sink back into our lazy ways. This is not just a challenge to you, but to me as well. We are called to greatness. I hope you are both convicted and blessed by God’s Word. Have a great week!