January 16, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Let’s go back to the scripture chosen for the first two blogs in this series, What Do I Do With Sinners? – Jude 1:20 through 23:
…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.
We have been focusing upon homosexuality in the past four blogs because I was called to counsel a conservative Christian family who did not know how to react after their daughter ‘came out of the closet’ as a lesbian. But this blog and scripture applies to What Do I Do With ALL Sinners, and ALL types of sin? Now remember, we are all sinners before God, even the best of us! Isaiah was led by God to write in chapter 64 and verse 6:
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like
filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have
taken us away.
And Paul has told us in Romans 3:10, 3:23 and Galatians 3:22: “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one….’ …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….[and] the scripture has confined all under sin…” (emphasis added).
We have learned in the four previous blogs in this series that to properly deal with anyone caught in any kind of sin, we must first be close to God ourselves. Such closeness allows us to be in tune with the Lord and hear His leadings. Each person is different, and each situation has its own characteristics, but God knows what to say and do in everything! We are told in our scripture six things:
• Jude 1:20 – “…build…yourselves up on your most holy faith….” We build our faith by being in the Word and the Word being in us! (see Acts 20:32, Romans 10:17).
• Jude 1:20 – “…praying in the Holy Spirit….” When I counsel someone, I always have an ongoing three-way conversation – myself, the counselee, and the Lord! I am silently in prayer with Him asking, “Lord, How should I reply to what was just said? What should I say (or do) now?”
• Jude 1:21 – “…keep yourselves in the love of God….” If I am in God’s love, I will then love others – even the worst and unlovely of sinners – as He has loved me when I was so unlovely!
• Jude 1:21 – “…looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” God, in His mercy, has not given me condemnation and hell – that which I deserve! God, in His grace, has given me forgiveness and eternal life – that which I don’t deserve! I am to offer the same to other sinners like myself – and that is to be the basis of our witness of the gospel to others!
• Jude 1:22 – “And on some have compassion, making a distinction….” The New International Version translates it this way: “Be merciful to those who doubt…,” and this makes more sense than the New King James Version. I read it as meaning, those who doubt about the choice of continuing on in their sin or not – that is, they just don’t know what to do – be merciful to them, and don’t condemn them.
• Jude 1:23 – “…but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire….” If we really care about someone who is in danger, we will try to rescue them out of that situation. This is especially necessary if they do not realize the danger of it.
• Jude 1:23 – “…hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” This is how Jude is saying that we are to hate the sin, even while we are loving the sinner. God hates sin, but He sure loves us – and we are all sinners!
Christians seem to get into trouble because we call certain things as God sees them according to the Bible. The world does not want to hear that what they are doing is sin before God, and that He condemns such practice. But I will not waver on this point of Biblical declaration! What I do ask is that any person who is caught up in sinful action that I might challenge – please realize I do care for you, I do love you, and I am concerned for your well-being, both for eternal destination and for your life here and now.