In last week’s bulletin we ran an article by Westley Hazel (“A Sin is a Sin,” from Forrest Park church of Christ, Valdosta, GA.) reminding us of sin and the problems that arise from it. Sin broke our relationship with God in the Garden of Eden and continues to tear up relationships between men and God. We live in a world of sin, and we do not have a clue what it would be like to live without sin. Yet, living in a place where there is not sin is what God has promised us if we live faithful Christian lives and strive to walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh.
The church today is condemned because she dares to preach about sin, and the eternal consequences of sin. Interestingly enough, those who condemn the church will also condemn sins that they think are egregious and “crucify” the one they believe to be guilty of such. They are more judgmental than those in the church, it seems.
Many churches have stopped preaching against sin and try to make men feel good in their sin, but the eternal results are devastating. Because sin is against everything God stands for, and is against God, we should hate it with every fiber of our being. Hence, we are told to pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13). Brothers and sisters, do we pray that we be kept from temptation (not only the sin but the temptation that leads us to sin)?
At the same time, we must also consider that since we all have sinned (Romans 3:23) we must realize how easily and quickly it is to be tempted to sin and do so. It should break our hearts when we commit sin and transgress against others and God. Can we do anything about these sins ourselves? We try, but we know that our efforts at doing good will not outweigh the sin in our lives.
God’s grace is what saves us. It is the good news about how God saves us from sin through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is the gospel of salvation, and we are saved by our obedience to the gospel. When we believe (John 8:24); repent (Acts 2:38; 3:19) confess Christ (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32-33) and are immersed in Christ (Romans 6:1-6; Acts 22:16; Acts 2:38) we are saved by the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19). Then we must live faithfully with God.
When we sin after we become Christians, if we again repent (Acts 8:19-25) and confess that sin (1 John 1:9) we will be forgiven. God will “remember those sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 quoted in Hebrews 8:7-13). But the consequences of the sin(s) will continue to have to be dealt with.
Beloved, we must preach against sin! And beloved, we must preach God’s grace and willingness to forgive us of our sins.
Let us remember that Jesus is willing to forgive all, if they repent and obey. And so must we! Consider Jesus’ example below:
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”