Friday, June 15, 2012

Confronting sin, confronting the sinner

With every start of a ‘brave new world’ the people of God have to inspect their foundations, make sure that they're still built on the bedrock of Jesus' words, and be ready to follow their Lord wherever He goes. More and more this is apparent, as we see and hear Church leaders and dignitaries mouthing not the Word of God but the ideologies of men, seeking their approval.

The Church Age and the age of Christian Empires is over. We're not in a post-Christian age, though, just a post-Church one. Where the Church as an institution has trouble in reaching the unsaved, the Church as people—you and me—can do what we see the Lord doing. Even today, He is out there, looking for His lost sheep. We can follow Him there, and do what we see Him doing.

‘The Word of God is alive and active.’ Without our help in the form of commentaries and preaching, the plain and simple Word of Truth can convict souls of sin. The problem is, the sinner already has more than half the world preaching at him. Though the preaching is usually coupled with an invitation to accept God and His Word, the emphasis is placed on turning from the sin and living righteously. This the sinner cannot see himself doing. He may have tried it, and failed. Of course, he probably tried to live righteously by his own will power and hoped to achieve righteousness by his own efforts. That's precisely why he failed. Then, maybe even after trying this many times, he simply gave up, gave himself over to the sin, and decided, it's either God's fault, or else the scriptures need to be ‘interpreted’ to include his particular sin as not sinful.

What the sinner has to understand, and what every Christian should understand, is that we cannot be righteous in the way humans think of righteousness. The Word says, ‘all our righteousness is filthy rags’ and ‘the righteousness that comes by faith in the One who justifies the sinner,’ namely Jesus Christ, ‘the Righteous,’ is He in Whom our righteousness subsists. It is the righteousness of Christ that must cover us, not our own.

When the sinner understands this, then he can begin to have hope, and the healing of the soul, and deliverance from the bondage of sin and death, can begin to take place. It's when the sinner is confronted by his sin and the demands of the Law, without understanding this, that he has little or no desire to seek the Lord.
And can you blame him?

‘What I desire is mercy, not sacrifice,’ says the Lord.

Mercy is not to accept the sin, but to accept and welcome the sinner with the good news, Jesus Christ risen from the dead, alive today, our righteousness and our justification, our savior, who saves us from sin and death.

How can we tell the sinner this, by our words or by the fruit of our lives in Christ which we, like trees planted by His Father, bear for others?

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