Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Three Typical Christian Responses to Sinners Sinning

Written By: Michael Coughlin
Edited By: Tony Miano

The homosexual agenda is in the forefront, as usual, but now it is due to the striking down of laws against polygamy in Utah, the recent dust up regarding Phil Robertson's (Duck Dynasty) overly-frank yet biblical remarks, and the Rose Parade allowing a gay marriage to take place on one of this year's floats.

Here are a few excerpts from the above, linked articles:

In the Religion Today article about the striking down of laws against polygamy, Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, said:
“But if love and mutual consent become the definition of what the boundaries of marriage are, can we as a society any longer even define marriage coherently?”
From the Charisma News article regarding Phil Robertson’s recent comments:
“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe,” GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz told E! News in a statement. “He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans—and Americans—who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.”
From the Huffington Post article concerning the Rose Bowl parade:
“At this year's Rose Parade, attendees can expect to enjoy the usual array of flowers, floats and marching bands, as well as an unexpected surprise to ring in 2014: a same-sex wedding ceremony.”
How should a Christian respond to these situations? It seems the responses range from irrational to altogether uncompassionate and everything in between. “Christians” everywhere seem to be really excited about this, and, as is often the case, will cling to any argument in the hopes of winning.

So let’s boil it down:
  1. Lawmakers are following the same logic we used to redefine marriage for homosexuals to redefine it for polygamists (other groups). Christians and other socially conservative people have predicted for years this would happen.
  2. A corporation is standing up for what it believes by punishing Phil Robertson.
  3. Gay marriages are being conducted publicly in a state where it is now legal and celebrated.
In other words, sinners are sinning and celebrating their sin.

The first reaction we as the people of God need to have is to stop acting shocked.

I understand that there are sins which produce the gag reflex in someone. But when a Christian is surprised by sinners sinning, all the Christian does is exhibit the fact that he or she really doesn’t believe or study the Bible.

The Bible is clear that no one does good and that everyone has turned to their own way (Is 53:6, Rom 3:10-12 which is a quote of the OT). So why do we act shocked when we see sin displayed before us in the media and supported by many?

The problem lies in the fact that deep down in our flesh, many true believers still hold to the Doctrine of the Inherent Goodness of Man. Listen to this sermon Tony preached at the San Jose NorCal Fire conference earlier this year to help you understand man’s true nature.

Once one starts with the idea that at least some men are good based on what is perceived as moral living, a person cannot help but be shocked by the evil in the world. I submit to you that what should be more shocking to you is that anyone ever does a single righteous act.

The second problem lies in the fact that I think we believe by over-dramatizing our reaction, we will win people to our beliefs. Deep down inside the flesh, we find sincerity to be valued above truth. As Christians, we must always seek to be gentle and meek, respectful and kind, never repaying evil for evil, yet we must always exhibit through our actions that we really believe that it is the Word of God which changes people. (1 Thessalonians 5:15; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:10-11)

Let’s all repent and begin our view of any public event with a biblical worldview.

A second reaction to sinners sinning and celebrating sin ought to be a desire to see Christ magnified.

Consider the glorious beauty of Psalm 34:1-3.
"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!"
How many of us, when we see what is going on in the world are outraged and our first thought is, “I must stand with Phil!” Or, “I am boycotting the Rose Bowl.” Or, better yet, you somehow feel vindicated that your slippery slope argument was right and, as was said in the first article linked above, are doing a sort of victory dance that God has allowed men to become so debased because now you’ve won that Facebook argument or Twitter debate.

If that’s your joy, it’s time to repent. Solomon tells us not to rejoice when your enemy falls (Proverbs 24:17-18), and falling deeper into sin or having a conscience so hardened that public sin is now someone’s thing is a falling! Christian brother or sister, you are a hypocrite if you stand by and exercise pride while judging others for their sins, particularly those upon whom God has not yet bestowed His saving grace.

Do you get it? The problem is not “gay marriage,” or “sister wives,” or “intolerant liberals.” The problem is sin and it is your problem, too, and you are not the solution. Your rhetoric, your arguments, even this blog post--none of these things are the solution. Only God can fix sin and only through the salvation of sinners by grace through faith in Christ alone. More laws, less laws, parades, boycotts, letters to the editor and the like are all ineffective tools of change for a culture God has abandoned. No dear Christian, your greatest weapon in this battle is your humility, and your willingness to spend more time on your knees than on social media “winning.”

Ask yourself, “How can I magnify and exalt the name of Christ as the result of these circumstances.” “How can I decrease and Him increase?” “How does He increase and I decrease?”

And here’s one good answer.

Or do you actually not desire to see “these people” saved? Praise God that salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9).

Another responsible and biblical reaction to sinners sinning and celebrating their sin is for the Christian to engage in self-examination.

I get it. Homosexuality is an abomination. It is destructive, ungodly and will be punished – along with sins many of us overlook in our own lives each day. Have the mind of Paul who found it no exaggeration to call himself the chief of sinners after penning the “homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God passage” (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

And finally, when sinners sin and celebrate sin, you do not need to immediately respond.

Be thoughtful. Be rational. Use logic. Don’t make blanket statements you haven’t thought through like you think no one should ever be fired from a job because of their beliefs (think employee of your ministry or church and any number of beliefs). Don’t make legal arguments you don’t understand or are unwilling to backup. Let your every word be seasoned with salt and supportable by Scripture. Edify, instead of breaking down (Ephesians 4:29).

In summary, when confronted with these situations, or others like them:
  1. Believe the Bible and act as if you believe it by not acting so surprised.
  2. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and consider how you can serve Him.
  3. Share the gospel with anyone who will listen.
  4. Examine yourself and be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
  5. Use your tongue, the pen and your keyboard wisely as if you really believe God is watching.
We have free resources on the CrossEncountersMin.com website--written, audio, and video--to help you effectively and faithfully share the gospel with homosexuals and those who are pro-homosexual. Here is a three-part series I put together on the subject. Download them all today!

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