Truth, Grace And Mercy

By Lea Sylvester

It has been observed by many people (Christians and others) that very often, we are known by what we disapprove of, what we are “intolerant of,” what we “hate” rather than by what we should be known for. Christians are able to show the love of Jesus Christ to everyone. The ability to do this is not from the person themselves, but through the Holy Spirit.  Otherwise, we couldn't possibly love everyone. It is against our human nature. We should be known for this great love, mercy and compassion, instead of for being “intolerant.”

It is important to understand that all men are sinners. Sin is explicitly something God cannot and will not tolerate. All humans are born with the “sin nature” as a result of the first man created committing sin. The gift of salvation, therefore, is forgiveness of our sin through repentance of sin and through acceptance of Jesus Christ. Christians are to recognize sin for what it is.  God respects no sin; meaning: there is no sin greater than another. Sin is sin.

By accepting the Truth of the Word of God and following Jesus Christ, we are made new. “For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” (2 Cor 5:17a). Here, Paul is pointing out the reconciliation of man to God through Jesus Christ. He emphasizes the fact that the “old man” and the things associated with him (sin) are gone; forgiven. The believer is made “new” by his acceptance of Jesus Christ. His sins are forgiven. To be “in Christ” denotes a close unity or relationship to Him. It denotes a dependence upon Jesus Christ. That is, all who become true Christians - undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures.

No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.

Those Christians then are turned from their sinful ways (previous nature, self) to having a mind like Christ, and a close relationship with Him.

So, by faith in Jesus Christ we are made new. By “Grace” we are saved; not through any works of our own but because of God's deep love of His creation by sending His Son to die for the sin of man. This is a clear indication that God is a loving God, a merciful God. Some portray Him as mean, wrathful, scary. Usually those who believe that are those who stand in opposition to Him.

God loves all men. But all men are not God's Children. God loves sinners as much as He loves His children. But, unless they accept Jesus Christ, they remain in sin. God loves them but because He gave man free will to choose, it is a choice every person must make. It is the choices made by man, not God, that brings judgment upon him. Contrary to some popular “teachings” out there, there are consequences for our choices. Some have eternal consequences.

God is Sovereign. God is holy. God shows us, as Christians, His grace. The definition of grace is unmerited favor; empowerment. When Christians teach the gospel or tell others about it, sometimes it offends those who oppose God. This is because the person doing the opposing has a lifestyle that is ungodly and makes choices that are not in line with those God would approve. They have the “right” to be offended, to be sure. What they do not have is the right to twist or tangle the Word of God into saying something it does not say. Sin is sin.

Christians should, like their Heavenly Father, love the sinner but hate their sin.

“...Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince (convict) all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed,  and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts (passions). These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith...keep yourselves in the love of God; looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of (on) some have compassion, making a difference. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment (made unclean) spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 14b-23).

It is clear that Christians are to show compassion, and Jude says to “pull them out of the fire” even though we hate the unclean things they do.  We love the sinner, hate the sin. All sin.

God does not label sin. It is what it is. We are never to violate the holiness of God. Is lying less of a sin than homosexuality? No, it is not. Both are sin and both will damn a man to hell. Today, some churches accept homosexuality into their congregations; even allowing homosexuals (unrepentant)  to hold positions of authority within their church. This is unbiblical and, if allowed, will put the entire congregation in jeopardy. It is true, we all sin. But, we understand and recognize sin and we ask forgiveness of it from God.  Does that mean we should keep sinning though we know it's wrong? No, it does not! This is an abomination to God, or in other words it offends Him because it offends the spiritual walk with God, offends morality, it is impure and unclean.

Some churches even now are saying that homosexuals are made by God to be that way. This is a clear lie as nowhere in God's Word is this even implied. In fact, it goes against God's Word. There isn't a “sin gene.” To even suggest that is to suggest that God is okay with it. To tolerate, to teach this, to condone any sin is clearly unacceptable to God. Christians should love the sinner; including the homosexual, but despise their sin. We are never to suggest that their lifestyle choice is acceptable to God, for it is sin. It is a choice. One cannot serve two masters. One cannot be called a Christian and a homosexual. The same is true for liars, thieves, adulterers; those who live in or perform all manner of sin.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and so it was.” (Genesis 1:24) This clearly indicates that the “after his kind” is that the cattle are cattle, they act like cattle and they look like cattle. They do the things cattle were created to do.They are cattle. Man is the only part of creation that doesn't act as he was made to act – after his “own kind.”  He should look like a man, act like a man, be a man. The same goes for women.

“ the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it...” (Genesis 1:27b-28a).  Here, clearly the intent was to populate the earth. Pray tell how two men would be expected to replenish the earth? If man were to be married to man or to perform sexual acts with another man, would they produce a child? No.  That is unnatural. God did not intend this. He didn't make this, therefore it is not to be.

We see that the leader of this nation approves of homosexuality. To wit, we see many states trying to make it acceptable (legal) for a man to marry another man or woman to marry another woman.

Does this override God? No, it does not! When faced with a choice to follow what society will tolerate and what God says, Christians must oppose anything that opposes God. To keep silent is the same as giving approval. We must stand for what is right and true.

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags! (Isa 64:6)

Make no mistake, without Christ, we are all filthy (with sin). "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" But there is wonderful news! “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)  This tells us that God cleanses us from our sin! Jesus told those who wanted to kill an adulterous woman that the first one without sin should cast the first stone. They consequently left. He asked her where her accusers were...she replied, “they are gone.” He told her to “go and sin no more.” Notice also that most often when Jesus healed someone, he would tell them to “go and sin no more.”

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (perverts and homosexuals), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but ye were washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Yes, we all would fall into one (or more) of the “categories” listed above if we had not accepted Jesus Christ and cast off our sinful ways. He saved us, sanctified us (set us apart), and He justified us. We must begin to show the love of Christ toward ALL PEOPLE. Let them see what we are about, not that we hate someone. We shouldn't hate anyone. We hate the sin!  We are representative of Jesus Christ and because we are, we must demonstrate the love and compassion He commanded us to demonstrate.

God takes us from sin to salvation. Salvation is true freedom. This is the church's finest hour (or should be). Let us be about our Father's business for we must work when it is light; the darkness is coming.


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