I Corinthians 6:9-11
Please let me preface what I’d like to say with a passage of Scripture that I hope will help set the proper tone —
“9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
These are powerful verses. The Apostle Paul was no stranger to the things we interact with in our day and age. Somehow though, through the love of Messiah, he managed to navigate his landscape and reach all classes and types of people - sinners.
Here’s the truth of the Scriptures:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18
Recently, our family was in a town that had family type activities on New Year’s Eve. Different businesses and churches were hosting events for all to enjoy. The early part of the night was for families with young kids. We were there for that part with our kids and grandkids.
One of the churches we went into had some music to listen to. While in the church I noticed a pamphlet for the church introducing itself to the visitors. Here’s the very first thing it said:
“As …(the type church)… we not only open our doors to people of all sexual orientations & gender. We create inclusive religious communities and work for LGBTQ justice & equity as a core part of who we are. All of who you are is welcome!”
After reading this I was both mad and sad. This type approach and statement of acceptance does bring temporary relief, peace of mind, and a sense of greater self-worth. But in the long run, and in light of eternity, it doesn’t help.
Every human being that has ever lived is a direct creation of God Himself. As such, their very existence has been implanted by the breath of God.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
The attempts to live life apart from God, our Father-Creator, are ultimately empty, hollow, unsatisfying. Try as we may, it all leaves us with a big gaping hole within the core of our very essence. That’s why we try to fill that void with everything … except God.
Honestly, sin does bring temporary pleasure. The Scripture acknowledges that. Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God instead of “the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Hebrews 11:25). But James also tells us that “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15)
Because God is our Creator, the emptiness, the void, within each person can only be satisfied by God Himself — not sin. Sin’s pleasures are not lasting. God’s peace is.
Interestingly, God has given His creation the option to choose or reject Him. Our flesh longs for sin, but the central creative breath of God within us longs for Him and the deliverance only He can bring through salvation in Jesus Christ.
I want to emphasize and make clear that I’m not writing this as a holier-than-thou finger wagging Christian believer. Quite the contrary, actually. I know my sins: past, present, and most probably, future.
However, I do write this as one who has been made a new creation in Christ through the new birth.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
With that said, I’m not perfect or sinless but rather … I’m in a continual state of brokenness:
*Broken over my own sin and what it cost my Saviour — His death of the cross.
*Broken over the sin of those not set free through the loving sacrifice of Christ on the behalf of those He came to save.
I fear what the unsaved lost world doesn’t see in those who proclaim they know Christ is a genuine brokenness over sin: in our own lives and in the lives of the lost world we live in. Instead, we’re perceived (and perhaps rightfully so) as a bunch of sanctimonious hypocrites feeling smug in our ability to condemn and pass judgment on all others except ourselves.
We need to change this perception. Christians need to be seen as those who love enough to “proclaim the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
But also, we Christians need to remember “ the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17) We better start pointing some fingers at ourselves!
The unsaved person needs to sense from us a genuine love for them where they are in their present life. That means they see us not as judges but as those they can reach out to because we are no better and no worse than they are.
My brethren in Messiah, we’ve been set free by the truth of God’s Word and His Son. We had no self-merit worthy of salvation. We now have our merit only because we are in Messiah. We are merely “unprofitable servants.” (Luke 17:10) Our blessing is that we have come to know Yeshua, the Truth that has set us free from our own personal sin.
Let me bring this back to thinking about churches and their purpose.
The honest reality is that any true Bible believing Gospel preaching church has open doors to all types of lost sinners. But, the difference is that the church I was just in didn’t acknowledge anything as being sin. That’s not the truth. The Lord Jesus Christ came to save sinners. That IS the truth.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (I Timothy 1:15) Even the apostle Paul acknowledged that he was a sinner in need of salvation.
In America we’re facing a sexual outbreak like we’ve never, in our history as a nation, experienced. And, it seems like there aren’t supposed to be any restrictive boundaries of any kind.
However, within all this effort to have unbounded “diversity of sexuality & gender” there still are, surprisingly, boundaries. Why is that? It’s because there’s still a hold over from our nation’s Biblical foundation and heritage. The fruit of God’s Word is still in the warp and woof of our country. For how much longer, I’m not sure.
I’d like to suggest we look to a different set of letters that God has given to demonstrate His sacrificial love for us as His creation —
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36