Friday, July 27, 2018
Of course the church would insist that the murderer kill no more, that the thief steal no more, and the church would take firm steps to protect children from the child abuser. This does not mean that we hate the murderer, the thief or even the child abuser. On the contrary, love corrects the erring. Those who would let others go on in their sin are the ones who show that deep down they hate the sinner. The Lord says, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline” (Rev 3:19). If we are too lazy to rebuke wrongdoing, we are not loving people, we are lazy people.
If a person has engaged in sexual immorality, whether heterosexual or homosexual, but is sincerely repentant, it is not the church’s place to punish the one who has repented of his immorality. The governing authority has a duty in that direction (Rom 13). We know that the government will not, in this case, do their duty; but we must still do ours. The church will forgive the one who has repented of his immorality. But the church will not allow a person to continue in unrepentant sexual sin and remain a member of the church.
The church must not allow people to go on in their sin, whether that sin is murder, stealing, child abuse, or sexual sin. To do so would demonstrate negligence of duty. The loving thing to do is to correct the sinner. No form of sin should be given a pass on this correction - especially not sins that do so much harm to others and sins that the Lord has labeled as deserving of death. Our duty is to forgive the repentant, and to show the unrepentant the error of their ways.
“…whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
Saturday, July 14, 2018
We live in a spiritual climate that seeks to wear us down. Good is called evil; and evil is called good (cf. Isa 5:20). The world demands that we not only tolerate wrongdoing, now it is demanded that we rejoice and celebrate some of the most sickening and perverse of evil deeds. Those who watch television tell me that every show and every news broadcast is designed to get us to accept evil as normal, and to reject righteous living as impractical.
This climate is wearing us down. I am beginning to hear church members downplay, if not openly deny, the fundamentals of Christian morality. We may intend to cling to the truth - but if we constantly listen to error - sooner or later we will be worn down and will embrace falsehood.
Air conditioning allows most of us to escape from the heat for at least a few hours of the day or night. That enables us to be productive, even in the “dog days” of summer. But how are we to cope with the spiritual climate? All day long the truth is called false, and falsehood is exalted as admirable. How are we to cope with that?
We must arrange our days to allow a bit of spiritual refreshment each day. We must arrange our weeks to allow a day (not an hour, but a day) of spiritual refreshment each week. We must arrange our lives to allow a longer period (a week or even two) of spiritual refreshment each year.
With regard to daily refreshment, we have (or should have) Bibles and hymnals in our homes. We might also have some good devotional reading material, some recorded hymns, and other aids to spiritual refreshment. We ought to use these at least once per day. With regard to a weekly day of spiritual refreshment, the Lord has indicated the day and the church has provided the means by appointing an hour of classes and two hours of worship on that day. With regard to yearly refreshment, there are several Christian camps, retreats and lectureships available; or one could arrange to stay in a house at the end of a dirt road (with no radio or television) to pray and read uplifting literature for a week.
Whatever the exact details, we must have a plan for spiritual renewal. Satan undoubtedly has a plan for our spiritual destruction. If we do not take action to counteract him, he will defeat us.