Monday, August 8, 2011

The God Who Loves The Sinner

Lately in my world there has been much talk of the love of Jesus. Many people believe that I represent a group of Christians who are one sided and who God as a scary judge ready to pound you once you do something bad.

I am here to clear the air.

There have been many posts here that are a call to Christians to come out and be separate. They are earnest pleas and warnings to stay away from "this" or flee from "that." As a result, I have been told on more than one occasion that I am judging and hating and should talk more about the love and acceptance of God than of "blasting" worldly things.

Oh friend....if you were ever to know my heart, you would KNOW that I want to love like Jesus loves! I want to have His heart. I want to have His passion. As His daughter, I desire to love what He loves and hate what He hates. As a Christian, I am to live as He would live. As His ambassador, I long to proclaim my Lord's Word. As His redeemed, I must declare that He is not willing that any should perish! As His servant, I have to warn others of sin.

Sin has already been judged. The world has already been condemned. Those who are in Christ are free from condemnation (thanks be to our awesome God!), but should we not go and tell others about the gravity of sin, the blackness of our flesh, and the amazing redeeming power and love of God??? YES! But so many think that we should only love. Love IS the key, yes, but it is also only half of the full Gospel. His Word says that if we are FRIENDS with the world, we're ENEMIES with God. That is serious!!....and yet we take that so lightly. We agree that God hates sin, but we shake our heads and say "God didn't mean that" when we read where He tells us to confront sin and call it out. But regardless of what we do or don't do, the Bible still stands as the absolute truth and authority.

His Word says to love as Jesus loves (John 13:34; John 13:35; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:9). His Word says to be kind, not repaying evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9; Luke 6:35; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 4:32). His Word says to walk humbly and in love (Ephesians 5:2; Luke 6:32; Colossians 3:12).

But His Word also says to warn the wicked and unruly of their sins (Ezekiel 33; Isaiah 58:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Timothy 5:20). His Word says to repent and tell others to repent (Mark 6:12; Luke 5:22; Luke 13:3; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19). His Word says to both encourage and correct one other (Luke 17:3; Proverbs 29:17; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24; Galatians 6:2; 2 Timothy 4:2).

The Gospel must be lived and taught in its entirety.

All of Scripture is meant to give us a painful realization of our own wretchedness. We are supposed to read Scripture and understand that we can never fulfill the requirements of God’s law. We are supposed to feel “clobbered” by the truth of our own hopelessness.

That’s what makes the Gospel so beautiful!

God is love. We all know this. As 1 John 3:1a says, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...." What manner of love! That WE should be called the sons of God? US??? You and me??

Paul said that he was the chief of sinners. I beg to differ. I may not have committed murder or robbery, but I was as guilty as the thief upon the cross. I deserved death. I was charged with first degree sin and the only payment was that of my own life.

......until Jesus.

When God came in flesh and died for me, He not only forgave me, but He adopted me! Being free from the death penalty would have been satisfactory, right? It would have been enough. But no, God didn't just save me, He elevated me to the highest position I could His own child.

But that wasn't enough!

He then gave me a job to do. He made me, not only His child, but His ambassador. And from then until now, wherever I go and whatever I do and whatever I say, I am a Representative of Him. I am to be His mouth and proclaim the very same things Christ proclaimed. I am to be His feet and go where Jesus would go. I am to allow Him to live through me because I bear the name, the very image, the very reputation of Almighty God.


Normally when one Christian stands up for the complete and total Gospel of Christ, the wolves come out and ferociously attack!
When a Christian upon the wall sees the enemy near and shouts "DANGER!!! The enemy is coming!" many times the people look up and scowl and say, "Stay out of our business!"

When a Christian sees their fellow brother and sister in the Lord engaging in harmful or sinful things, and rebukes and bring correction, many times their "thank you" is a hateful, "QUIT judging me! It's not your place to judge me!"
Ouch. To my complete horror, I have seen professed Christians defend the most ungodly and sinful activities and lifestyles: Prom, Harry Potter, divorce, living together before marriage, homosexuality...on and on it goes! When the people of God stand against the things of the world, they are attacked with statements like:
"YOU are not the judge!
"It is not your place to say anything negative about this!"
"God LOVES everyone and ALL have sinned....even you!!"                 
Yes indeed, even me. And because He saved me, I am His temple (and it's not to be defiled). And when He saved me, I became automatically drafted into the army of King Jesus. No, I am not the judge, but I can sure repeat what the Judge has said. I can inspect the fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). I can most certainly make "negative comments" about things that are sinful, worldly, and abominable (Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15; Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 7:2; 1 Corinthians 10:14, etc, etc, etc.).

Jesus has so much love that He is not willing that any should perish. He did not come to this earth to love everyone so much that they couldn't help but get saved. He came to fulfil the law and to save sinners. The law shows us how rotten we are and how desperately we need grace and mercy. It is our condemner that says we deserve hell. Jesus came to fulfil that law and offer grace to those who 1) see their sin, 2) repent from their sin, 3) and accept the free gift of Christs' saving grace.

Do you see?? People must be shown that they are sinners. They will not see it by us simply living nice and sweet and loving. They have to, first, see a change in us. They have to see that their sin is black and evil, and separating them from God. They have to be TOLD that Jesus is the reason for the light in our eyes and the remedy for the blackness that is their sin. That is why Jesus sends us and commissions us to GO AND TELL! What do we tell? We tell them the full Gospel - "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."  (Luke 13:3)

There is no greater love then that of telling the full Gospel; The complete truth that shows you who God truly is. He is a God of love who loves us old sinners enough to become sin for us. But He is a God who demands that we repent.


Jennifer said...

Absolutely awesome post :)

Correction is most definitely a part of God's love. Even sinners that don't yet know the Lord correct their children, and tell them they are doing it only because they love them!

How then can standing up and backing God's word with rebuke and correction not also be called love? Obviously, the rebuke and correction must be done WITH love and not just a "tsk tsk tsk", but it's BECAUSE we love that we should also want our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord to grow closer to God! Not sharing the good news and lessons the word of God has for us would be us NOT spreading His love.

Keep up your fire for Christ Kristen... Yes, we all fall short of the glory of God, but your mission as a disciple of Christ brings a smile to God's face (and it certainly blesses my heart).

Side note: I sent you an email (to the address shared on Blogger). I've had a number of emails returned to me (Yahoo doesn't like me this week for some reason), so if you don't get it please let me know and I'll resend ;)

Jo, just Jo said...

Way to go Kristen. I agree. Keep up your fire for Christ. You write so clearly. Great to read. Thank you.

isaacsgirl said...

Great post, especially that last paragraph. Galatians 3:24 says that the Law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Without knowledge of sin, we don't realize how much we need God's grace. And, since it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8), we pray that as we speak truth, God will convict his children of any sins - both ourselves and the believers around us!


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