Hypocrites in the church
Paul scolds us in 1 Cor 15:34 to stop sinning because there are some who do not believe yet. He says this to our shame. When sin is allowed to go unpunished inside the church and is not directly confronted, then the world looks on at our hypocrisy and uses us as an excuse for their not coming to him for salvation. Why should they if we are no better than they are at sinning? It stands to reason. Rather than try to defend ourselves and save face, for now let’s just agree with their observation and let it be a rebuke to us to watch our lives more closely. Paul did not let this kind of thing go unmentioned though. In 1 Corinthians he rebuked the church for not dealing with a man who did something wrong. Now in 2 Corinthians he needs to encourage them to forgive and restore that person. Restoration is the goal of all church discipline. It works only when people’s pride and self righteousness is set aside to welcome the person back into the circle of friendship without holding it over them. We are all hypocrites in one way or another because we are all sinners. We all need the church body and leadership to help us overcome our sin tendencies and remain in fellowship with God. Church is where sinners belong. It is not a club for the self righteous; it is a hospital for those who know that they are spiritually sick and need help. “If you find a perfect Church and you join it, it will become an imperfect Church” – Billy Graham.
Forgiveness for the Sinner
2Cor 2: 1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the Holy, Righteous and Just God. Nothing gets swept under the carpet, nothing is winked at, and I do not turn a blind eye to any sin or injustice which will not be dealt with perfectly in the end. “Be not mocked, a man will reap what he sows.” If you do not deal with sin in my church, I will. Look what happened to my Israel when they chose to disobey. Look what happened to Annanias and Saphira in the early church. Do not take for granted my kindness, mercy and forgiveness.
I AM the God who forgives the truly repentant sinner. I forgive freely because of the death of my Christ. Forgiveness is free for you but costly to me. I give mercy and forgiveness so that you will choose to repent and restore fellowship with me. Don’t say that you are not a sinner; in doing so you are calling me a liar. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “I came to seek and save those who know that they are lost.”
God will not over look your sin
If your mother was murdered, and the judge released the man you knew did it, what would you think of his character as a judge? Yet when it comes to our wanting God to just look past our wrong doings, we reveal our own hypocrisy. We like to say; “How can a God of love send anyone to hell?” Everyone wants the eternal judge to look the other way when it comes to our own guilt. But what kind of God would allow any guilty sinner into heaven? What kind of God would forgo his righteous justice on any person on earth since we all are sinners in his sight? The scriptures say that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “There are none righteous no not one.” It is our demented bias that thinks that we are good enough. It is our sin nature that thinks we are better than someone else, and conversely that same someone else thinks that he or she is better than us. We all grade on a curve, but not God. It takes faith to believe that we are all sinners in the eyes of a holy and righteous judge according to his perfect standard in the Law of Moses and that we will stand before him to give account. Repent today to ask for his forgiveness while it is still called today and you still have a chance. Depend upon the death of Christ for your sins and receive his free gift of salvation. Read Eph 1:13, 14
A house divided against itself cannot stand
After the devil tempts us to sin, he then makes us feel absolutely unworthy to approach God (which he is right to a degree) but rather than come to God for forgiveness as we should, he drives the wedge deeper so we avoid God as did Adam in the garden. When we avoid sin issues in the church, it can cause divisions and splits in the fellowship. Satan knows that “A house divided cannot stand.” Paul is also aware of this and so calls for the restoration of the man instead of ostracizing him further. If you have been wronged in the church, you need to deal with it correctly, quickly and make things right. Only then can forgiveness refuse to hold it against that individual in the future. This is how God forgives us. Knowing that Christ paid for our sin, He is satisfied with that payment and declares us righteous 2 Cor 5:21. This is positional truth and is the only way to ward off the devil’s designs to split the church.
More to come,