January 9, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Let’s continue with this subject that is controversial to many people – What Do I Do With Sinners? And what we are specifically looking at is the issue of gay and lesbian lifestyles. As I said in the last blog, this issue came to the fore because a friend who is a conservative Christian – as is his wife and son – asked me to counsel them on how to handle the situation where their daughter came ‘out of the closet’ claiming to be a lesbian.
Is homosexuality a sin before God? Yes, according to the Bible. (see Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:21 through 28; and I Corinthians 6:9 and 10). But, as with any other sin, Jesus Christ can set us free! (see John 8:31 through 36). We are all sinners – according to such scriptures as Romans 3:10 and 23, but Jesus paid for all our sins on the cross. Now, by faith believing and accepting Him into our hearts and lives, He redeems us, cleanses away our sins by His own blood, and makes us acceptable before God as His own sons and daughters! (see John 1:12; Ephesians 1:6).
How are we then to relate to others who have not yet come to the Savior? In other words, as a Christian, What Do I Do With Sinners? Jude 1:20 through 23 has the answer:
…you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in
the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy
of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion,
making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;
hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
This scripture says we are to “…on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (verses 22 and 23). Here is the rendering of these two verses from The Amplified Bible:
And (refute [so as to] convict some who dispute with you, and) on some
have mercy who waver and doubt. [Strive to] save others, snatching [them]
out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the gar-
ment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.
Compassion and mercy on those who waver and doubt, pity, with fear snatching them out of the fire – this is not hating sinners! You can only have compassion, mercy, pity and fear if you love them have a genuine concern for them! In the case of homosexuality, love and concern exclude homophobia, hate and gay-bashing! Yes, our scripture says to hate “…even the garment defiled by the flesh.” But we are not to hate the person! According to Romans 5:8 and Colossians 1:21, Jesus Christ loved us enough to lay down His life for us “…while we were yet sinners…alienated and enemies in…our mind by wicked works….” If He lives in us and through us, are we not to do the same with others?
How are we to accomplish this? How do we love those who sometimes seem very unlovely? Jude has the answer in verses 20 and 21: “…you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ….” Five things:
• We are to keep in mind that we are beloved of God. (Jude 1:20). It says in I John 4:9 through 11:
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love,
not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propi-
tiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one
This is not just talking about loving other Christians. If “…He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…,” that happened before we were Christians! So when we are told, “…we also ought to love one another…,” it means we are to love sinners just like God loved us when we were sinners!
• We are to “…build…ourselves up on…our most holy faith…” (Jude 1:20). How is faith built up? Acts 20:32 says, “…the word of His grace…is able to build you up….” Since “…faith comes…by the word of God…” (Romans 10:17), get in your Bible! And stay in it!
• We are to “…pray…in the Holy Spirit…” (Jude 1:20). Paul wrote in Romans 8:26, “…the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us….” When we don’t even know how to pray or what to pray for, just start praying, and ask the Holy Spirit to take control!
• We are to “…keep…ourselves in the love of God…” (Jude 1:21). When we constantly remind ourselves that God loved us – and loves us – so much, then there will be no room for hating either sinners or other Christians! (see I John 4:19 through 21).
• We are to “…look…for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Jude 1:21). Mercy is not being given what we deserve. As Jesus said at the end of the Parable of the Good Samaritan – Luke 10:30 through 36 – since the Samaritan showed mercy on the Jewish man beaten by thieves, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37). In other words, if we have experienced God’s mercy, we will show others mercy!
But exactly how do we win over to Christ sinners in general, and gays and lesbians in particular? We will tackle that in the next blog.