Sin is Sin
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal.1:10).
I don’t know for sure when it started. Maybe I’ve always been ‘that type of friend’… the odd one who is brutally honest when asked a question. For some, it caused an instant dislike of me, understandably. Others have even called me a hypocrite (but believe me, I’m every bit as hard on myself as I am on others, if not more so). Maybe a few have appreciated it, and yet reserved asking for my honest assessment, asking only when it has nothing to do with them, personally. But what I could never be accused of is being someone who sugarcoats things, sometimes, admittedly, too harsh.
So while it may not be an admirable characteristic in a friend, and it wouldn’t win any popularity contests, it’s something we can expect and revere about scripture. That’s one of God’s characteristics I admire most… Scripture doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Sin is called sin, and the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. That is one of His functions, and He does it well, IF we are willing to heed Him.
We can grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30) when we sin, and some have even ignored and tamped down His guidance so much that they’ve seared their conscience as though with a hot iron (1 Tim.4:1-2). In essence they’ve cauterized the Holy Spirit from prompting the feelings of guilt or shame when they sin, so much so that they lack moral scruples altogether.
Can a Christian be so backslidden and grieve the Holy Spirit so deeply and so often that they live exactly like the unsaved world? I’m not sure… I’ll leave the judgment on that up to the Lord.
Scripture would indicate that believers should bring forth fruit unto God, rather than fruit unto death (Rom.7:4-5). I do know that those who have rejected Christ do not have any moral compass; there is nothing they will prohibit themselves from doing. No sin is considered “bad” to them, because God Himself has given them up and given them over to a reprobate mind (Rom.1:18-32 explains how and why).
I don’t know about you all, but I always appreciated a good ‘fire and brimstone’ sermon, the type that is so rare today. Does secular society even recognize that there is a hell and that it’s a place of eternal torment? I guess the better question is, do Christians believe the Biblical truth about hell? Do pastors? When is the last sermon you heard about hell? I suspect the majority of churches today (especially the big ‘mega-churches’) hear more about the false prosperity ‘gospel’, the supposed ‘best life now’ message, and those mini-sermonettes that are tailored to tickle the ears and to never offend or convict of sin.
I hear there are a few good solid pastors out there who tenaciously stand firm on God’s word, and preach the truth. If you attend one of their churches, you are truly blessed!
Sadly, I hear far more often from brothers and sisters in Christ who are grieved that their pastor rarely preaches a convicting sermon, much less a Biblically-sound sermon. Even rarer are those who teach eschatology. The saddest trends today are those who base their entire eschatological knowledge on YouTube videos.
I’ve met many fellow believers online, and sadly, there are far less believers who actually study scripture themselves than those who don’t. And I often wondered why? But the reality is that these are the last hours of the age of grace. Bible prophecy is aligning at breakneck speed. So too are the foretold characteristics of both the unsaved world and the church in the last days (2 Tim.3:1-7, 13; 2 Pet.3:3-4; Jude 1:18; 2 Tim.4:2-4, et al). So while it shouldn’t be a shocker to us, it still is grievous to witness.
Bible believers know that scripture is the word of God. We don’t doubt this in the least. We know that God promised to preserve His word (Psalm 12:6-7), that scripture is pure (Prov.30:5), that His word is eternal (Mark 13:31, 1 Pet.1:23), and that God has magnified His word above even His name (Psalm 138:2). We know even more that Jesus Himself, the Word, was in the beginning with God; both with God and was God (John 1:1). We know that the Word was made flesh (John 1:14).
If it be that we have believed on Christ for salvation, we also have His Holy Spirit indwelling us. His word written on our hearts (2 Cor.3:3), and Christ within us (Rom.8:9-11; Rom.12:5; 1 Cor.8:6; 2 Cor.5:17). Through Jesus is our redemption (Rom.3:24; 1 Cor.1:30). He died for our sins (Rom.5:8; 1 Cor.15:1-4), was buried, and rose the third day.
We also understand that we are baptized into Christ Jesus, not by water, but by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Rom.6:1-14; 1 Cor.1:12-17; 2 Cor.2:17; Matt.3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). We are in the body of Christ (1 Cor.12:27; Rom.7:4; Rom.12:5; Eph.3:6; Col.1:24).
We know also that since Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose (resurrected) the third day, that we are free from the law of sin and death (Rom.8:2; 1 Cor.15:54-57), and even if we die (physically), that once we are absent from this body, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor.5:8).
Scripture also foretells our Blessed Hope, Christ Jesus, and the rapture of the church (1 Cor.15:49-53; 1 Thes.4:16-18; Titus 2:13); and we are to take comfort in this (1 Thes.4:18; 1 Thes.5:11) because Jesus has promised to deliver us from the wrath to come (1 Thes.1:10; Rom.5:9; 1 Thes.5:9).
What wonderful promises and TRUTH we find in scripture. God’s word truly is a comfort to us. Why then, would so many set aside Bible study and use the cares of this world for an excuse to keep them from Bible study? Why would anyone want to merely hear secondhand from a pastor (or sadly, from a video), of these precious promises our hope resides in?
While we SHOULD congregate and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb.10:25), especially as we “see the day approaching,” and fellowship with believers is truly time well spent, so also is our OWN time in Bible study well spent. In fact, we are admonished to do just that. We are even told to study like a “workman”… can you picture a workman? Sweat on his brow, hard labor to do the best job possible? And why? So we would not be ashamed!
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim.2:15).
Sadly, the word of God is under attack today by those who are puppets of the devil. This attack is not new; however, the devil started his attack on God’s word back in the garden, when the serpent said to Eve, “Yea, hath God said?” (Gen.3:1). The devil’s attack has not ceased, nor has it even decreased in all those millennia between, but has rather increased. And worse? It’s been effectual, sadly.
I’d started out yesterday to write an article about how liberal and globalist agendas were being force-fed in public schools today, and how that was (and had been) shaping the ideology of the younger generations. I’d probably written a full-length article on this, and yet the nagging thought kept coming to mind that you (fellow-believers) are already aware of this
Hopefully, the Lord has already dealt with your hearts and minds to give serious consideration to removing your children from public schools and either home-schooling them, or sending them to a good Christian school (if one is available in your area, and if you haven’t already). And yet as I was attempting to write that article, I realized how it’s far too late to save the public school system.
We believers really dropped the ball during the last 3 decades (at minimum). Yes, many of us spoke up and attended school board meetings to voice our concerns, etc. However, what I realized while writing that article (which has now been put aside) is that the problem is far graver than just the public schools. Why? Because of rabid liberal-leftist agendas alone? No. WORSE! Because there are many professing Christians today who don’t REALLY believe that scripture IS indeed the word of God.
They’ve compromised on creationism, compromised on ‘tolerance’ (which actually ended up being NO tolerance at all to Biblical truths), and worse, have compromised their OWN time in Bible study. Many have traded actual Bible study time for what time they may spend once a week in church (if they can even find a church that holds to scripture these days). Even worse, they’ve traded in Bible study for videos.
There are literally thousands, maybe even millions, of professing Christians today who simply do not study scripture themselves. I don’t mean the 5-minute ‘devotions’, in which they follow some manmade plan on what to read today (if they can be bothered to ‘devote’ 5 minutes a day). But they actually do not study scripture themselves. Far worse, I fear that many do not even believe God’s word is true!
I certainly hope that doesn’t pertain to anyone reading this article now. But may I ask you, when is the last time YOU spent even just an hour in Bible study? Not on a video, not in church hearing a sermon, not on articles written about Christian concerns today (such as this one). But actual time studying actual scripture? I know… I’ve heard all the excuses before… “I just don’t have TIME!” being the biggest excuse. Is that really true?
Generally those people who profess that they don’t “have time” somehow DO find time for sports, hobbies, TV, music, videos, social media, shopping, socializing, playing games or puzzles, reading books (other than the Bible), exercise and fitness regimes, and thousands of other vain pursuits of pleasure, enjoyment and vanity. Then there’s the big one… I ‘have to’ work too much. Well, yes, able-bodied people DO have to work in order to eat (2 Thes.3:10), but how many are working to earn more money for yet more vain pursuits?
If we are using time spent at work to earn more money than we actually need for essentials and true needs (not wants), then maybe we should reconsider the difference between needs and wants.
Sadly, some people now days actually use their children as a form of status symbols. What do I mean? They buy their children the latest high-tech gadgets, phones, pricey clothing (that the child will soon grow out of), and enroll them in as many activities (sports, dance, music, numerous social clubs, etc.) as their calendars can hold, and then brag to others how many of these things their children are enrolled in. Not that there is anything evil in and of many of these events. Yet when did they last have a family Bible study? Oh, “no time” for that.
When accumulating wealth or working in order to lavish both tangible goods as well as physical talent-building activities comes BEFORE time spent in scripture, there is a problem. And very few are able to admit it; most become very defensive if the subject is even broached. Whoa! Wait a minute here… Who does it benefit to point these things out? Myself? No. I would hope that if any consciences are pricked, it would cause the person to consider WHY.
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Gal.4:16).
Yes, I forewarned you; I am that kind of friend… the no sugar-coating type. But why? To be mean? Condescending? No (although many will believe that’s why). Why? Because God’s word is TRUTH. We NEED His word in our lives much more than the trappings of this world. It’s so very easy to get caught up in what this world promotes as ‘life’. Yet what IS life?
(Here is some scripture for your consideration and study today: Matt.10:39; 16:25; Mark 10:45; John 3:16-18, 4:36, 6:33-35, 10:28, 11:25, 12:25, 14:6, 15:13, 17:3; Acts 20:24; Rom.6:4, 6:22-23, 8:6; 1 Cor.6:3-4; 2 Cor.4:10-12; 2 Cor.5:4; Gal.2:20, 6:8; Phil.1:20, 2:15-16; Col.3:3-4; 1 Tim.1:16, 4:7-8, 6:12; James 1:12; 1 Pet.4:1-5; 1 John 3:14-16).
OUCH. Yes, I could have brought forth many comforting verses and sections of scripture. But I’ve noticed that seems to be ALL the church is focused on today. Many of the verses (noted both above and below) are completely alien to many believers… they sure haven’t heard many of them in a sermon, and some have never even read them in scripture. If so… may quickly scan over them, searching for something a little more comforting and ear-pleasing.
I get it; we need comfort, especially in these perilous last days. But have we comforted ourselves AWAY from scripture that convicts? Just a question! Don’t shoot the messenger, please.
What of these verses (below)? Are we living our lives this way? Or does ‘no one really’ live that way? If so, if very few are striving for His word, for what His word says we as believers should be living for…. Is it because so few are actually spending time in God’s word because it does indeed convict us of sin?
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27).
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim.2:3-4).
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).
Our life on this earth is temporal, just a vapor (2 Cor.4:18; James 1:13-15). I liken it to a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. In comparison, this life is so very short. Yet, that does not absolve us from the task before us. We believers should be heeding the leading of the Holy Spirit, and we should be studying His word daily. How will we answer Him when we are asked if or why we didn’t study His word when it was so readily available to us?
There have been a few brothers and sisters in Christ who have actually been honest enough to admit they don’t study scripture because they don’t set aside time to do so, but then it’s quickly followed up with yet another excuse. The predominant excuse now being given is: “I just can’t seem to be able to concentrate or focus when I try to study.” That is even more concerning than not studying at all.
WHAT should take precedence over God’s word? Are we supposed to be so concerned about today’s worries that we would spend LESS time in scripture? Shouldn’t we all be spending even MORE time in scripture, if it be that we are so distracted by this life, so as not to be able to ‘focus’ on God’s word while studying?
Do you want the peace of God that passeth understanding (Phil.4:7)? Yes, it’s one of my most treasured verses of scripture. A go-to comfort verse. Yet how do you get that precious peace? By first taking heed of the verse prior to it:
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil.4:6).
Many people desire to have that precious peace within, but yet aren’t willing to heed (or sadly, are scripturally ignorant of) the context of that scripture. God wants us to take EVERY concern and care to HIM, not to obsess and worry incessantly over the cares of this world. He also wants us to be THANKFUL for the many gifts He has already provided us rather than take them for granted. We aren’t to be spending our lives desiring more and more THINGS, material items that we can’t take with us.
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim.6:7).
With the proper (and more importantly, scriptural) approach to worldly problems and also with thankfulness in our hearts, we take every care to Him, and then we are blessed with the peace of God. That does NOT mean we are ‘blessed’ with material wealth, good health, or any myriad of other desires we may long for in this life… contrary to the false prosperity ‘gospel’ being presented in unsound churches today. That lie is leading many to hell. We are not going to have our ‘best life now’. And thank the Lord for that!
Thank Him also that this life is temporal. We believers DO indeed have so much to look forward to, but not in this life, not in these corruptible bodies. That is part of the peace of God!
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:7).
We are shown this concept elsewhere in scripture as well. We are exhorted to come to Him humbly, when we cast our cares upon the Lord.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet.5:6-7).
How many are taught this in church? And if not, how will they ever know these things if they don’t study God’s word themselves? I did not set out to bash pastors or physical churches. If you attend a good, scripturally sound one, thank the Lord for that! But the truth is, sadly, that there are so few of them in these perilous last days, just as foretold would be the case (2 Tim.4:1-5).
We make CHOICES in this life… whether we serve the Lord, or whether we serve mankind and ourselves.
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13 and similarly, Matt.6:24).
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim.6:10).
But wait, “I don’t love money, I don’t bow down and worship money,” is the typical response. Maybe the actual money itself they do not love; but it’s what that money buys, what you spend that extra work time earning it for, the cost of being away from family (and from Bible study time). That is the reason many strive to earn more money.
It’s not just bills and necessities that the money is earned to pay for, but the EXTRA’s that the money procures… the dance classes, music lessons, the newest high-tech gadgetry or phone, aerobics instructor, the latest haircut, color and style, nails, the more expensive clothing, shoes, purses, accessories, jewelry, and hundreds of other like items.
“But it’s for the children” or “It’s for the grandchildren” is also the next excuse. Do these children and grandchildren REALLY need all these extras? Does it teach them that hard work pays off when YOU are the one working? Do they even appreciate these things, generally?
Think about this for a moment: When someone is on their death bed, do they generally claim, “I wish I would have spent more time working to buy more things that I now can’t take with me?” Or do they often lament that they didn’t spend more time with their loved ones? Spent more time in scripture and family Bible study? Spent more time training up their children in the way they should go? And even more, do they wish they would have attempted to share the gospel more, especially with their own family members?
As I’ve witnessed to many friends and loved ones who have come to the end of their physical lives here on earth, I’ve also heard their regrets on how they wished they’d taught their children scripture and shared their love of the Lord MORE with their children and grandchildren while they had the opportunity. Many regret not having even shared the gospel with those they love.
This leads me back to the original article I’d intended to write about public schools… If we (Christian adults) don’t even bring up the gospel with our loved ones (much less our friends or acquaintances), how could we ever expect our children to share the gospel with a friend? As bad as the persecution was for some of us growing up in public schools, it’s a thousand times worse now. It’s not JUST their peers, but likely their teachers, the principal, and just about everyone they come in contact with throughout each day.
Granted, some areas of the US are worse than others, and some have not fallen so far into secular humanism, atheism, or other ploys of the devil. Yet it is a problem everywhere, even if the proportion of the problem is greater or less depending on the area. The point is, it is a rare child who can stand against the pressures of the secular world with their faith intact. All the more reason to consider homeschooling or private Christian school, if at all possible.
Another issue is ignorance of the gospel. Numerous conversations take place in Christian groups on social media daily. When a person starts to bring up their belief in replacement theology, post-tribulationism or other errors, the first question we can generally ask them is this, “Can you tell an unbeliever how to be saved? Can you show someone the gospel in scripture if they asked?” So far, 99% of the time, the person cannot answer this. They don’t know how to lead another to Christ, because they, themselves, don’t know.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet.3:15).
Can YOU give a ready answer for the hope that is in you? Can YOU share the scriptural gospel? And if so, do you? And are you SURE you are telling them the right thing (with meekness and fear)? You don’t want to be accountable for telling them a false gospel. Nothing is more important than a person’s eternal salvation!
I’ve had hundreds of people (over the years) ask me to pray for their family members who have not yet come to Christ. When I ask them, “When did you share the gospel with that family member, and how did that family member respond?” – the answer is often… “Well… I haven’t found a good time to do that.” Or they proclaim that the family member isn’t open to hear it.
But often times they’ve never even TRIED to share the gospel with them; they are hoping ‘someone else’ will come along and share it with their family member or loved one because they, themselves, are not willing to RISK their relationship. Too afraid to alienate the person to even broach the subject at all!
I do understand that is not always the case. There are many believers who HAVE tried to share the gospel with friends and loved ones, and are shut down quickly. It is for those whom we pray earnestly for, that the Lord would soften their hearts, that they would be receptive to the gospel.
And if you HAVE tried sharing the gospel, I don’t at all suggest you should try to shove it down their throats continually. If anything, that may harden their resolve more. We need to remember that most of society today only hears the name of Jesus or God when used in vain, when blasphemed and used as part of what they’ve turned into a cuss-word phrase.
Most people (40 and under) didn’t hear anything positive about the Lord in school. To them, we are those ‘Jesus freaks’. No, we can’t go barreling in like a bull in a china shop, demanding they listen to us… but what we can do is find myriad ways and occasion to bring in the gospel.
Possibly when a news article is broadly published about a recent crisis in which many lives were lost, we can then broach the subject about death; ask them if they ever wondered where they will go when they die? Then, if they are open to discussion, tell them what scripture says (of course that means you need to KNOW what scripture says first).
If they still haven’t shut down and tuned out, you can tell them:
>how we are ALL sinners (Rom.3:23) and that sin separates us from a righteous and holy God.
>how God sent His only begotten Son as the only acceptable propitiation for our sins (Rom.3:25; 1 John 4:10).
>how that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose the third day (the gospel; in 1 Cor.15:1-
>that we cannot perform enough good works to ‘pay’ for our sins ourselves (Eph.2:8-9).
>that Jesus is the only One way to the Father, God (John 14:6).
>how we were all given free will in this life on earth to make the one decision in which our eternal destination hinges on… whether we accept/believe on Jesus for salvation, or whether we reject/deny Him (John 3:16-18).
>how that even if we claim to have made a ‘no decision’, we actually have made a decision to reject Christ (John 3:18).
>how BELIEF is the requirement (Rom.10:9-10).
>how then (when we believe and accept Christ) that the blood of Jesus washes away our sins (1 John 1:7-9), and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8).
Let them know that they cannot ‘clean up their act’ prior to coming to Christ. In fact, that’s the reason they NEED salvation in Christ—to wash away their sins and to reconcile them to God. You may rarely have the opportunity to go in depth and tell them these things. But one thing is certain, you NEVER will if you never TRY.
It breaks our hearts when a loved one rejects Christ, and yet we know that God’s word does NOT return void (Isaiah 55:11).
We are given the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Sometimes the gospel will fall on “stony ground,” and sometimes the thorns and weeds choke the word; but sometimes the gospel falls on good ground: they not only hear and receive, but they bring forth fruit, and they themselves go on to share the gospel with others.
This is what we always hope for. And granted, these are the perilous last days… Soon the fullness of the Gentiles will be come in (Rom.11:25) and the rapture will occur; and once we are taken up it will be far more difficult and perilous for a person to come to Christ then. Many will lose their earthly lives during the tribulation, even beheaded, for sharing the testimony of Christ and for having the word of God (Rev.6:9-11; Rev.20:4).
So as we near the end of the age of grace, all believers who are sharing the gospel regularly can attest that it’s not being received well, nor are there near as many coming to Christ now as there were even a few years ago. BUT that still is NO EXCUSE to NOT give the gospel! Especially now, it doesn’t cost us our lives to share it YET; and we know what’s soon to come upon this world after we’ve been taken up in the rapture.
Are you sick of this non-sugar coating friend writing this article? Too harsh? Yes, I’ve written articles about scriptural comfort. Yes, there are days when we are truly so weary we NEED to dwell on that comfort. These are the foretold perilous last days, after all. But there are times when we need some ice water thrown in our faces – a wake-up call.
Are we doing all that we possibly can to reach the lost? Are we, ourselves, individually (yes, you) spending time in God’s word? Do you not know that this is where you will find much strength? Much comfort? And yes, much admonishment to focus on what’s TRULY important?
We have work to do in these last hours. Let’s not be nominal Christians who sit back and expect ‘someone else’ to give the gospel to YOUR loved ones. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor.5:20); let’s not be lazy and slothful servants. Time is short!
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom.13:11-12).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb.12:1-3).
“And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor.9:23-27).
RUN. Run this race! We have an incorruptible crown at the finish. We believers will have incorruptible bodies, like Jesus own body, at the soon rapture and resurrection of our bodies (1 Cor.15:49-53; 1 Thes.4:16-18; 1 John 3:2; Phil.3:20-21).
It’s not the time for slumber; it’s not the time to get bogged down with the cares of this world (be aware, yes, but only so far as we recognize how it aligns with scripture, and to warn others).
This world is NOT our home. Run the race! Soon we will meet the author and finisher of our faith. Get to know Him in His word. Study His word. Share His word. Time is so short!
Soon there will be NO TIME remaining here for us. That’s a good thing for us as believers, but not for the perishing unsaved world. Tell them today!