Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The unbelieving world is constantly watching Christians looking for that "Ah-Ha" moment. It is as though they cannot wait to catch one of us sinning. They are well versed in "the rules" Christians must follow, and they are seldom disappointed. Catching a Christian doing what they believe is wrong (for us, not them) gives them great joy. It allows them to use their favorite word for us, "hypocrite," and it provides justification for their rejection of Christianity. Few have read the Bible, so how did they come to their understanding of our moral code? The answer is obvious; they have heard Christians protest their behavior. Over the years, we have condemned a long list of sinful behaviors, and although they totally disagreed, they listened.

Unfortunately, the loudest and the most judgmental are the ones that have the world's attention. Just as in the days of Jesus, the Church has its own Pharisees and Sadducees. There is nothing new about this. Paul had to make a trip to Jerusalem (Acts 15) and he had to rebuke the believers in Galatia for legalism (Galatians 3:1-5). Throughout its history, the Church has focused more upon controlling society's behavior than on winning the lost. It is the Good News (the Gospel) that changes individuals, not legal restrictions.

Sin is the manifestation of man's selfish character. The Bible defines it two ways: things that a person does that are contrary to what he or she believes is the right thing to do (Romans 14:23), and things that a person knows he or she should do, but doesn't (James 4:17). In both cases, sin has to do with what the individual believes. It is not universal truth which applies to everyone. Paul declares that the Law no longer applies to the Christian. He says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not" (do not build up the brethren - compare 1 Corinthians 10:23 with Romans 14:19). A Christian is free to do whatever he or she wishes as long as it does not offend others or cause them to join in against what their conscience tells them is wrong (1 Corinthians 10:23-33). Our religious nature constantly tries to bring us back under the bondage of the Law (Galatians 3:1-5; 4:9-11).

So, does that mean a Christian can do whatever he or she wants? No! There is a law that is binding on all who would seek to please God through obedience. It is the Law of Love. "For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty, only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For ALL of the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Galatians 5:13-14; compare with Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 6:43-48; 7:12; 22:40; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13; and 1 John 3:23). Love is putting another first; sin is putting oneself first. Go and sin no more!

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