May 1, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
When we studied John 11:1-44, and we considered Jesus’ outrage and grief over sin and its consequences, namely death. Jesus, though he knew no sin, knew the effects of sin. Though he was sinless, he saw how full of sin this world was. It is his holiness and righteousness that fuels his outrage against sin and it is seeing its consequence in death and sorrow that fuels his grief. In considering Jesus’ reaction, I led us to reflect upon our own hearts, and as we endeavor to live for Christ this week, today even, I want to encourage us to reflect upon our hearts again.
As yourself this question, “Are you outraged and grieved by sin?” It is easy to be outraged at the sin of others, but what about your own sin? When dealing with sin, we’ve got to take God’s side, and (quite frankly) hate it. We should be disgusted with our sin. God is. We should be grieved by our sin. And we should waste no time in turning away from our sin and running to Christ for forgiveness. That is how we should deal with our own sin, but what about the sin of our brother or sister in Christ? What about our fellow church member?
We would do well to consider Paul’s paradigm from 1 Thessalonians 5:14, where Paul writes, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” If our brother or sister doesn’t see the danger of his sin, if he is idle about it, thinking that it can linger for a little while longer because it really brings no harm, then he need to be lovingly admonished and warned. If our brother or sister is fainthearted, afraid to take the step of cutting that sin out of his life once and for all, then we need to encourage him to step out in boldness and pursue holiness trusting in Christ. If our brother or sister is weak, and entangled by sin, then we need to very tangibly and practically pull him out of the pit of his sin in various ways.
Still, whether our brother or sister needs admonishment, encouragement, or help, we ought to be patient with him. Full change does not usually happen all at once. “Sanctification,” as our church’s statement of faith rightly says, “is a progressive work.” We admonish, encourage, and help aiming at full and immediate change, but we labor patiently reaffirming God’s call for them to turn away from sin immediately, God’s provision of forgiveness in Christ for those who repent and believe, our love for them, and our longing to see them pursue Christ in holiness.
In the end, whether we are confronted with our own sin (which should occur each and every day) or the sin of a fellow brother or sister in Christ, with the help of the Spirit, we need to take the same perspective that Jesus took on sin. We, with God’s help, should be righteously angry for how it disregard and dishonors God. And we should be grieved over how it dismantles and destroys lives. Still, while this ought to be our orientation toward sin, as we turn away from sin we should turn to the Savior in faith and hope for he is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep.
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