There is no man on earth who does not sin. But if the Holy Spirit dwells in you, He will cause you to grieve and repent and judge yourself over your sin and will discipline you (as a loving Father would his child) unto repentance to the conformity of your identity in Jesus Christ (1 Cor 11:31-32) … but, because of the grace you have in Christ, you will not abide in sin nor continue in it. He loves you too much to leave you under the tyranny and bondage of of sin.
IN YOUR BODY
So if you profess to be a Christian and are living with your girlfriend/boyfriend or having sex outside of the covenant of marriage, then either repent and ask Christ for the strength to live in godliness (which He will give to the regenerate) … or please do not dishonor the name of Christ by continuing to profess to be a Christian. Abiding in sin and being a regenerate Christian is wholly incompatible. “No one BORN OF GOD makes a practice of sinning, for God’s SEED abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been BORN OF GOD.” (1 John 3:9) …”and his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been BORN OF GOD overcomes the world.” (1 John 5:3-4)
IN YOUR SPEECH
If you profess to be a Christian do not be like the world and lie to further your cause. The other day I was reading an article citing some activist who said he only opposed polygamy for political expediency but now that the new marriage law has gone through, to let polygamy be legalized as well. The world does not care about truth … only perception and results. Do not advance your cause in this way. Remember, the kingdom of God does not advance with political victories or decline with political defeats so, while you should vote your conscience, be truthful in your speech and leave the results in the hands of God. Trust in the Lord even if it costs you everything. Do not fret. He will be vindicated in truth in His own time.
If you profess to be a Christian do not declare lies about your neighbor. There’s a commandment in the Hebrew Decalogue: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’ Listening carefully to a neighbor’s ideas is a good way to prevent ‘bearing false witness’ against him/her. Online and Offline discussions involve both listening and talking – in that order. Careful empathetic listening also helps us to turn away from the wickedness of stereotyping and prejudice. Remember you are talking to someone made in the image of God. Do not dehumanize them. You will not likely ever be used of God to win over anyone if you misrepresent them. Explain their views back to them to show you have understood them and THEN show how their view logically leads to a false or inconsistent conclusions. If you do not show you have understood them first it is easy for them to think you are misrepresenting them, something I have been guilty of from time to time.
If you profess to be a Christian do not slander others. The tongue is perhaps one of the easiest ways we can sin against people. so if you cannot speak to other people with gentleness and respect, it would be better not to speak at all. Get off Internet discussion boards if you cannot help using ad hominem arguments (that is, responding to arguments by attacking a person’s character). Consider the following when people attack your character: Is it not very offensive when people call you a homophobe or a bigot in response to your peaceful and loving appeals – These words are used as a blanket condemnation of other people and intended to be pejorative and it is cruel and mean-spirited. It is an ad hominem intended to belittle a person and to insult their views. It is not an argument but a tactic. But do not return the favor ..instead kindly respond to them. If someone determines their acceptance of me based on me agreeing with them concerning any and all matters, then so be it. However, as a Christian I have, and with the help of God, I will, express love toward all people – even if their views differ from mine. I highly value freedom of conscience because beliefs and convictions cannot be forced. People must be won over with the gospel and with persuasion and, more importantly, by the grace of God. They will not be won by shaming them into submission with pejoratives.
IN WITHHOLDING LOVE
If you profess to be a Christian do not distort the gospel to win the culture’s favor. It does not surprise me too much when I see the world fight, defend and love being captive to sin. I can identify because, prior to the grace of God, I have myself been captivated many of the same things — things that I could not change about myself. But it troubles me greatly to see professing Christians, especially teachers in the church, making exceptions for repentance because of the difficulty for people to change. This can come in a variety of forms but a recent example would be same-sex marriage. Any church which promotes same-sex marriage are actually telling one select group of people that they need not, by the grace of God, repent of their sin. Instead the teachers withhold love from them by telling them it is okay by God to continue in their sin … because, they reason, that it is not really sin since they were born this way so if God made them like this, it must be what God wants. Human reasoning based on the philosophy of this world and not Christ in whom all the treasures of wisdom are found. Even if it were a fact that people are born this way, since when did our innate evil dispositions stop God from commanding us to do otherwise. We live in a fallen world, post-Eden where all men are “not able not to sin” We are all born this way … captive to sin and none of us has the power to change and obey apart from a supernatural work of grace. That is precisely why we need the gospel. We are not saved because we change our behavior … we change our behavior because we are saved. We are no longer our own but were bought with the price of Christ’s blood. If you are going to call yourself a Christian, you have been called to self-denial. Our former self was crucified and we are called now to follow Jesus and do what He wants. Our identity is no longer in our sexuality or other things but in Christ, whose beauty far exceeds anything we know of here on earth.
Professing Christians who teach that persons with same-sex attraction have no need of repentance and actually even promote and blesses gay marriage in their church are guilty of a sin far more serious than many realize —-> the murder of souls. Captivity to sin is the actually deadliest form of slavery – one with eternal consequences.
It is a heinous sin to advocate that a select group of people are exempt from repenting. Anyone doing so is specifically derelict in their Christian duty of love to set the captives free from the oppression of slavery to sin and so leave them to a Christless eternity. Whether such churches do so consciously or not, they are actually advocating that men remain slaves to sin, so they are doing precisely the opposite of what the gospel intended. Turning it upside down he is leading men INTO captivity. You might even call this an anti-gospel.
No doubt many persons with same-sex inclinations were not able to change when they came to church because they still loved their sin more than God. I know likewise many people who have come to church with other sins who loved them too much to change. In both cases that is usually a sign that they were never regenerate. But in my own church as in many theologically conservative churches across the world, those saints who struggle with same-sex attraction worship along side other saints who God has delivered from other kinds of bondage. Thank God for His mercy, what is impossible for man (faith and repentance) is possible with God. Sadly those like Matthew Vines do not appear to believe in regenerating grace, at least not as the Bible teaches it (1 John 3:9; 5:1-4).
To counsel sinners that, in Christ, they can be forgiven from the guilt of sin but remain under the power of sin is to declare that God’s grace is insufficient and to overthrow the gospel itself whose purpose is to liberate the captives.
Ezek 3:18 would seem to apply to such teachers: where God says,
“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at YOUR hand.” (emphasis mine)
IN DISPARAGING WOMEN
Although our culture loves to pronounce how well it treats women, but if you look under the surface, the fact is that women are continually being judged by their looks and are constantly being objectified. In our hyper-sexualized culture pornography has played a big role in promoting this. It is joked about on late night TV and is spoken as if this were not only common but socially acceptable, even though readily available for young teenage boys. Sadly, even some famous female actors are actively promoting it. On a related topic, human trafficking is a big problem in the United States of America. This is modern slavery is fueled by the culture’s addiction to easy sex. and I am thankful for the Christian organizations I know of that are fighting against human trafficking and helping homeless teens get off the street. But if you profess to be a Christian, all forms of sexual immorality need to be a thing of the past. Turn to Christ and behold His beauty and the things of earth will seem unfulfilling. But if you don’t grieve over your sin in this area but continue in it, then please do not dishonor Jesus Christ but pretending to be a Christian. Christian men need to respect all women and view them as those also made in the image of God. If you want to have sex that is great.. God created it but do it in the marriage covenant. If you love someone you will show it by your commitment to marry them.
Now the Scripture teaches us that none of these can be done by sheer will-power or by signing some kind of pledge that you will live this way. That is a recipe for disaster.. No, God can do it in us because the Spirit of God dwells in us, and for that reason alone. Look to Christ and it will not be burdensome. Christians are here not to tell people how to modify their behavior so they can be moral. Rather, we are here to declare freedom for the captives… to liberate our fellow human beings from the shackles of sin that have enslaved them. And we point to God as the only one with the power to do that for us.