February 5, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Little Acceptable Sins are those sins that are overlooked by many Christians, and even accepted as a normal part of a believer’s life! We have covered several of these such as gossip, ‘fudging’ on the truth, passing on dirty jokes, and many other things the Apostle Paul mentions following our featured Scripture of Ephesians 4:22 through 24:
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
According to these three verses, we are to put off the old nature, and put on the new – the Godly nature! We are to manifest by the indwelling Holy Spirit what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27: “…Christ in you, the hope of glory….”
We finished chapter 4, but Paul has more Sins with which he deals in chapters 5 and 6 – Sins that are too often found in those who claim the Lord as Savior!
• Ephesians 5:1 and 2 – “Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us….” Jesus told His followers in John 13:34 and 35:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have
loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you
are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
But what kind of love are we to show forth?
✞ It is sacrificial love – ἀγάπη in the Greek (pronounced ag-ah’-pay). This kind of love requires nothing back to continue loving! It is not like human love that must be returned to flourish. Paul writes about God’s unselfish and sacrificial love in Romans 5:8: “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners…
▸ …we did not even know God! (See I Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 4:8).
▸ …we did not seek Him! (See Psalm 10:4; Romans 3:11).
▸ …we did not love Him! (See John 3:19, 20; 5:42; 15:24).
▸ …we were His enemies! (See Romans 5:10; 8:7; Colossians 1:21).
But “…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). No wonder Jesus said, “…as I have loved you…,” setting the bar at the highest of standards!
✞ Jesus gave us the example! We are to “…love one another…as I have loved you….” But since in this series we are talking about Little Acceptable Sins that we tolerate among our Christian circles, why do we allow ourselves and others to manifest indifference, envy, grudges, and even hostility toward one another? Why do we spread gossip and talk others down? It seems there are more of these actions and attitudes in our churches today than the unselfish love our Lord manifested!
✞ In John 13:35 He told us, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Unselfish love is to be a great witness to the unbelieving world! If, as suggested above, we manifest and tolerate among Christians what can be readily found in the lives of unbelievers, why would someone from the world be drawn to the embrace of Christianity?
✞ The early Christians took seriously Jesus’ admonition to love one another! Tertullian, an early Christian apologist, wrote in 197 AD in his Apology, chapter xxxix, how the pagan Romans might remark, “See, said they, how they love one another, and are ready to lay down their lives for each other.” Can the same be said of Western Christianity today?!
✞ Here is John the Apostle’s take on the subject from I John 3:16 through 18 (Good News Bible):
This is how we know what love is: Christ gave His life for us. We too,
then, ought to give our lives for others! If we are rich and see others in
need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love
God? My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must
be true love, which shows itself in action.
• Why are we to live such sacrificial lives for others? Because it is written in Ephesians 5:2, “…Christ also has…given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” First of all, the sacrificial love we give to others is an offering for God’s benefit!
✞ The Old Testament follower of Jehovah offered many sacrifices to the LORD. Laying them on the altar, they were burned as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (see Exodus 28:18 – and 36 other times in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers).
✞ But Jesus was the ultimate offering and sacrifice! (See John 1:29, 36: Hebrews 10:1-12). The resurrection and ascension proves the Father’s acceptance of what the Son accomplished!
✞ We “…are the body of Christ…” (I Corinthians 12:27) – the only representation the world sees of God come in the flesh! Likewise, as was Jesus, we are to be “…to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing.” (II Corinthians 2:15 – See the blog from July 1, 2013 – Gospel Odor). Because of what Christ has done on our behalf, because of His example to His followers, Paul admonishes us in Romans 12:1 and 2 what should be our reasonable service:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you pre-
sent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be trans-
formed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Remember, being like Jesus, loving others sacrificially, even the unlovely, we will not tolerate even Little Sins as Acceptable – in us or in others! We will lovingly try to help them more and more to be like the Master! And in so doing, we ourselves will better represent Him!