Expecting sinners to Sin


In a fallen world, sin isn’t the exception, it is the rule. In all its variants, sin is the constant condition of mankind. This is why it is extraordinary that Jesus lived a sinless life. Every other human being has sinned and come short of the glory of God. Only Jesus radiated the full image of the glory of his Father.

Today it is common to believe that righteousness is the norm and sinners are the deviant exceptions. In so doing, people get surprised by sin. C.S. Lewis found himself surprised by joy, but never sin. The exception is the miracle, the ability to be forgiven, set free and reborn.

God can and does set people free from the bondage of sin

The Good News is that, despite how natural the human propensity for sin may be, God can and does set people free from the bondage of sin to live supernaturally. In the kingdom, believers are not prone to sin but to righteousness. When sin happens there is no condemnation, for the penalty of sin has been paid already. Paul explains that is is not permission to sin, but the freedom to live as a new creation.

In contrast, the world is condemned already. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. When believers confuse the message of the Gospel, they expect the sinners to act in accordance with righteousness. In so doing, they make the Gospel about sin, instead of about Jesus. The Good News is not that all have sinned, but that Jesus died to set believers free from sin and death. Jesus came to bring life so that people can live more abundantly.

Christians know to some degree what they are to love the sinner and “hate the sin.” But they still think they have to add the qualification that they hate the sin. It’s like if they do not make that clear that sinner might get his sin on them, or people might think they condone sin. If that happens, they will be more like Jesus. It’s part of the walk to be misunderstood and accused of wrongdoing.

Jesus, who was complete without sin, got all of your sins all over him. He voluntarily accepted every last bit of it, so he could pay your debt.

Jesus was tempted in every way

Moreover, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way. This means there are no more types of sin today than there were 2,000 years ago. In the Greco-Roman world, which was full of every kind of sin, Jesus said he wanted believers to be in the world but not of it. He knew they were going to have neighbors, co-workers and governmental leaders who were involved in all kinds of sins. But he also knew his Kingdom is not of this world and is greater than sin and death.

He put that Kingdom inside of each believer, so they can demonstrate the life of righteousness, peace, and joy available in the Holy Spirit. When sinners respond to this demonstration, they do so by repentance; changing the way they think to align with the Kingdom of God. This happens in their encounter with Jesus. It’s supernatural.

Your job is to live out the kingdom of God

Believers are to show people what real life in Jesus looks like. It’s important to keep a distinction between Bible verses about life in the Church and Christian interactions with the world. The Church is to have judges who can judge disputes in the Church between Christians. This is not licensed for Christians to practice judging unbelievers.

In the future when believers are judging angels and the world, that will change, but believers practice between themselves. Many times throughout the New Testament when Paul is writing about sin issues, he is writing to Christians about Christians. It is believers’ house they need to keep clean, for believers are prone to righteousness. It is there that it is expected that the brothers and sisters will dwell in unity.

Teaching that certain practices are sin and not the way of God and thus not the way of life is not judging unbelievers. That is discipleship that happens in life among believers as we grow in the Lord. But taking that message as the Good News and preaching it as the Gospel message will not work in helping people become set free from sin.

Jesus said that unbelievers will know us by how well we love each other.

It can even be argued that God is more concerned with how we love than most anything else. For without love we are only clanging gongs and clashing symbols.

Even now God is transforming His Church into a Body that loves. God’s love will exude from believers so much so that sinners will take notice and want to be around us. They won’t want to leave our homes or businesses because they will know there is something there that they do not have and desperately need. Then we will see the lost flooding our churches because they will have heard of our extraordinary love.

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