by Ben Ditzel
An increasingly popular social trend is emerging today which is mistakenly categorised as Christianity by some but is in fact ripping the Christian church apart like never before and defining the differences between genuine Bible believers and cultural Christians at an alarming rate. This trend is attempting to neutralise the gap between social tolerance and the concrete distinction between good and evil described in the Word of God. In a desire to merge with cultural norms and political agendas, many have left the inerrant Scripture for a chopped up book of religious convenience.
But, ‘do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.’ (James 4:4) To commit any sin with an unrepentant heart, to delight in one’s sin, even to celebrate the sins of others is to oppose God and defy His Word. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. (Hebrews 10:26) We are commanded to preach the Gospel to all people. Evangelisation includes clearly stating the fact that everyone is a sinner from birth without the ability to do anything good by themselves. This requires a clear knowledge of the division between right and wrong and is vital in the evangelising of the unbeliever. Without the realisation of their sin and need for a Saviour, they will be without Christ’s forgiveness. To attempt evangelisation with an ‘edited’ version of God’s Word in order to avoid offence is deceitful and gives the unredeemed heart a false sense of security. The Gospel is offensive and foolishness to the unredeemed. (1 Peter 2:7-8) Not telling others of the dangers of sin and its magnitude on their eternal destiny involves omitting parts of God’s infallible Word at a very severe cost to not only others whom we come in contact with, but ourselves as well. Do we truly believe that on the day of judgement, God will not turn to us then and ask us why we left out portions of His inspired word? We know that 2 Corinthians says, ‘we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.’
Dave Harvey speaks of the ministry of reconciliation between a sinner and God in his book, When Sinners Say I Do.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. It is reconciliation between a sinner and God, and between a sinner and the one(s) sinned against. This is a ministry not only to God’s enemies for their salvation, but (…) to God’s sin-struggling children for their ongoing growth and relationship to him. To whomever we may be ministering reconciliation, God literally makes his appeals through us (1 Corinthians 5:17-21). (Dave Harvey, “When Sinners Say I Do”) 2
Therefore, in order to effectively evangelise the lost, we must be honest with them and show them God’s Word which plainly states His will for our life here on earth, which is to magnify and bring glory to Him. Sin is sin and homosexuality, murder, theft, pride, adultery, and all other sins are all sin in God’s eyes. We can’t have a clear message and sense of urgency if we are distorting His order, His commandments, and His desire for our lives, say nothing of seeking the world’s approval simultaneously.
Though the work of conviction is the job of the Holy Spirit, evangelists of Christ are commanded to tell those to whom we are evangelising that they have sinned and come short of the glory of God, which is the requirement that He has set for everyone. (Romans 3:23) So many today have been told to love and believe in themselves to the point that they have become their own god and forgotten that their sins of lying, theft, coveting, homosexuality, as well as all the sins forbidden by Christ are indeed sins against God!
Homosexuality has been singled out so much in recent years because it’s the only sin listed in Scripture that many democratic ‘free world’ governments have already or are beginning to forbid as being classified as such. Today’s culture is demanding immoral behaviour to be accepted as normal and we are seeing Christians and non-Christians alike who are rushing to support that acceptance without regard for what the Word of God has to say. Somehow through warped and inaccurate theology, many people from all circles attempt to ambiguate the Word of God by the well-known shellfish or multi-cloth type arguments, trying to confirm the theoretical hypocrisy of these ‘fundamentalists’ only to end up proving their own ignorance of the big picture of God’s Word.
However, God’s standard for sin encompasses everything ranging from ‘the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.’ (1 Tim 1:10) The apostle Paul has very specific mandates for handling false converts and professing believers whose sin is corrupting the church. John MacArthur expounds on Paul’s directive.
To the church at Ephesus (Paul) wrote, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Our Christian responsibility goes beyond abstaining from the “deeds of darkness.” We are also called to expose them. To ignore evil is to encourage it, and to keep quiet about it is to help promote it. The verb translated as “expose” (from elegchō) can also carry the idea of reproof, correction, punishment, or discipline. We are to confront sin with intolerance. (John MacArthur, “When Silence is Sinful”) 1
And there are times when we must openly call others out for their sin. As we know, rioting in the streets or picketing out front of businesses or events isn’t the way that God has called us to oppose sin. However, on the flip side, failing to speak out against and oppose sin directly conflicts with obedience to God. (Eph. 5:11) As John MacArthur says in his article, When Silence is Sinful, ‘Believers are to expose the works of darkness with whatever legitimate, Biblical means necessary. Love that does not openly expose and oppose sin is not biblical love. Love not only “does not act unbecomingly” but it “does not rejoice in unrighteousness” wherever it might be found (1 Corinthians 13:5–6).’
And even if you aren’t celebrating sin with parades and parties, many Christians do not confront sin as evil because they do not take it seriously. They laugh and joke about unadulterated and rampant sinful behaviour through media and conversation.
Some Christians recognize the sinfulness of those things and would likely never participate in them; but they enjoy them vicariously. In so doing, they not only fail to be an influence against evil but are instead influenced by it—contaminated to the extent that they think and talk about it without exposing and rebuking it– even to the point of rebuking others who do speak out against it. (John MacArthur, “When Silence is Sinful“) 1
So how should those who claim Christ as their Saviour respond to sin? We must respond to displays of sin in the world as well as our own sins with utter disgust. Our attitude toward it must be one of zero acceptance and no excusing. (Colossians 3:5-6) Accompanied with the sin must be an attitude of repentance in our own lives and reproof of and in the lives of those who proclaim Christ as Lord. (1 John 1:7-9) Embracing others sins such as homosexual lifestyles (they should just be happy), lying (it’s just a little white lie), and so on is not the pattern for a Christian lifestyle and must not ever, under any circumstances, be ignored within the Christian church. (Galatians 5:19-21) Such blindness will damage the body of Christ and lead many away from inerrant Scripture and the true God to follow a false god of their own making. (Matthew 18:15-17) To be true evangelists for Christ, we must recognise sin for sin and never ever come to tolerate something that our Lord hates just to win the fleeting approval of this fallen world.
1 MacArthur, John. When Silence Is Sinful. Grace to You, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 July 2015.
2 Harvey, David T. “The Surgeon, the Scalpel, and the Spouse in Sin.” When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage. Wapwallopen: Shepherd, 2007. 117. Print.