One of the first spiritual battles I fought after surrendering my life to Christ is one that is still fresh on my mind today. With the massive push of society to impose its sense of right and wrong on the last stronghold of morality, judgment and righteousness are questions that we must address. As a Christian, as a teacher, as a servant of Jesus Christ, everything with-in me knows that I am not worthy or deserving of God’s grace. As we explore the expression “though shalt not judge” first consider for me this, I am the chief sinner, the most in need of forgiveness and grace (1 Timothy 3:15). Everything from this moment forward is written to point you to God’s love, God’s truth, and the freedom that are found in Him alone.
While I won’t mention specifics, in the media we have seen recent developments where people are considering a desperately hurting and confused person and his actions. One side hails his actions as “brave”, “courageous”, and so many words that serve to support his choices. Others have sighted Scripture and called his actions abominable, disgusting, and so many other words that serve to point out their perceived error in his decision. As I have seen countless articles, blogs, and social media entries both for and against his actions, I have felt led to examine some elementary truths of Christianity and God’s Word on how we must respond in light of the social changes around us.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 ESV) – as we consider the Scriptures one thing must be clear, whenever we speak about God, His Word, and anything to do with the Christian faith, we must carefully consider our motives. As one called to preach and teach, I cannot deny my calling. As one who is called I also must preach and teach the truth, even when it personally convicts me and tears down the walls around my sin and shame. Knowing this then, my motives are simple: edify the body of Christ and lead the lost to the cross of my Lord, knowing that He alone provides forgiveness and freedom from sin and damnation (John 8:36).
Once a preacher told a parable that I share with you now: there was a man who was walking around in the darkness of night, no light to guide his way. As the man was walking, he fell in a deep, dark hole and no matter how hard he struggled the man could not escape. The man heard someone walking above the hole and cried out, “help!” Soon a face peered in to the hole, “what are you doing down there” the man asked, “don’t you know its dark out here? You shouldn’t be walking out here!” After the man lectured the trapped man, he left. Once again the trapped man heard someone walking above the hole, “please help me!” the man cried out again. Soon a new face peered in to the hole, “what are you doing down there” the second man asked. As the man shared his story with the second person, the man, a Christian, replied: “I’ll pray for you, I’ll have my Sunday school class pray for you” and the man left. The trapped man sat down with a thud, exhausted from trying to escape. Lastly the trapped man heard footsteps again, exhausted from his fight he barley had the strength to cry out “help”. A 3rd face peered in to the hole, immediately the man jumped in to the hole. “What are you doing!?” the trapped man cried out desperately. “Now we are both trapped!” The man grabbed the trapped mans hand and replied “no we aren’t, I’ve been here before and I know the way out”.
I share that parable with you now and ask, if the 3rd man had pretended the brother wasn’t trapped, how could he have ever broke free? If we refuse to address sin and the consequences of sin, how can we hope to lead people to the love we profess? If I share the love of Christ with a murder, with a rapist, with a robber, or with any other outcast member of society, do I not first have to explain their actions were wrong? Do I not have to help them understand what God’s Word clearly defines? – as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10 ESV). I’ve heard it said “it’s my job to love, not to judge”, I can’t love you in to heaven. What I can do is explain to you what it took over 25 years for me to understand: without Jesus Christ we are all doomed to eternal damnation and separation from God. If you jump down in to the hole and the person doesn’t understand they are stuck, who will tell them? Has God not called you to share the Gospel? but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV).
So many times, so many fruitful conversations about faith and salvation are shut down when we take the wrong approach. Yes, sin must be addressed, we can’t run from it or hide from it. It serves no God glorifying purpose to attack the sinners but it serves an eternal purpose to call sin what it is: sin. If we are afraid to abide in God’s Truth or we don’t believe the parts of God’s Word that challenge our own lives, what hope do we have of salvation? In the same Scripture where we find that God hates sin do we not find that He loves the sinner? Know this, God’s Word is eternally sufficient for us and His Word alone can guide our faith. Society has never liked the words of Jesus because He has boldly proclaimed a truth that makes all the spiritual forces of darkness tremble: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV).
Lastly, we cannot allow the ignorant understanding of Scripture sway us from proclaiming the truth in desperate love for the lost. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1, 2 ESV) – what judgment do I pronounce to the world? That Jesus is the only way to salvation, forgiveness of sins, and that hope is found in Him alone. In Matthew we see Jesus speaking about judging in hypocrisy, living like the world and sinning like there is no tomorrow but professing to the world they should live holy lives. What happens when we consider: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24 ESV) – if you truly believe that God considers professing His Word in love wrong, the Prophets, Jesus, the Apostles and millions of those who proclaim the truth have had it all wrong…
What then? What did Jesus mean? Jesus meant to judge rightly, considering His Word as our only guide, and walking the walk in our own lives. Jesus hates hypocrisy and was clear during His earthly ministry of that fact. How can the people ever hope to be saved unless someone tells them the truth? Sin separates you from God’s love, all sin. Homosexuality, adultery, robbery, murder, gluttony, lying, cheating, the list of sins that would damn us for eternity is long because we are desperately corrupt. But praise be to God the Father who sent His only Son Jesus to die so that my sin could be forgiven and I could be free (John 3:16). To those Christians not following God’s Word or sound teaching, I leave you the message God sent you about 2000 years ago: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3, 4 ESV).
Today, if no one has told you: God loves you. He knows your sin, He knows your struggle, He feels your pain, He knows the heartache. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15, 16 ESV) – Jesus came and died so you could be forgiven and free (John 3:16). No sin is to big for His grace and today if you feel God speaking to your heart I pray you would visit http://myemanuel.com/i-am-ready/ to learn more about the God who loved you so much He gave everything to set you free.