Upon finishing today’s blog, I admit it’s more like a sermon than a daily devotional, but here goes.
As anyone who reads my blogs, listens to my sermons online, or goes to church here knows, I believe I am to preach repentance. I don’t just preach repentance. I preach grace and forgiveness, too. However, I understand the Bible as saying forgiveness is only received when a person admits their sin and desires to turn from their sin (even if they keep sinning! See Romans 7:15). Jesus said in Luke 24:47 that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations. There are a couple of places where it just says “believe and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9), but I believe the overarching theme of the New Testament is to repent of sin (Matthew 3:2, 4:17; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 11:18, 17:30, 20:21: Luke 13:3, 15:10, 24:47) and Believe in Jesus to be saved. I also believe the Bible says that many, many people deceive themselves – that they/we continue to live in wilful disobedience and they/we are only fooling ourselves, and/or lying to ourselves. We do this so we can continue to do whatever we want and so we don’t have to sacrifice our desires or our finances. Pastor Matt Chandler always says, “Who has lied to you more than you?”
I make the preceding argument to talk about what it means to love someone. Many people will say about people like me, “You are judgemental”. Many will say, our job is not to judge people, our only job is to love people. God says to love our neighbor.
And I guess it all comes down to how you see love. As I was reading/listening to Galatians today, something really struck me. Paul quotes Jesus in Galatians 5:14:
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And then 5 verses later Paul shows love by pointing out these things that are contrary to the life of a follower of Jesus:
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
We could very easily call Paul judgemental here. But I see Paul showing love. Paul is telling people they are deceiving themselves if they call themselves a Christian and still do these things with a clear conscience. It is not loving to let people live in their sin and rebellion. That’s easy. True love is difficult. True love calls people to repentance and tells them how to be saved from their sin and rebellion.