“And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.”
As the Churches of the world fall by the wayside and more and more cave into the pressures of this world, compromising truth to please the masses, there is a line in the sand that is being scrubbed out. With this line removed, the floodgates of compromise have been released and every evil thing is gushing out, all in the name of love.
As the word “love” get’s thrown around and sang a million times in each contemporary song, remember that the greatest command is not to love man, but to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:29). If we love God we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). If we say we are loving people but are opposing God’s word, we are neither loving God nor man (1 John 2:4).
The line that has almost been washed away by our ever-darkening world is the distinction between a Christian showing love to a sinner and a Christian condoning the sin of a person in the name of love. God never condones sin, ever in all of Scripture, but rather declares His judgment upon it and those who practice it (Ezekiel 18:20; Revelations 21:7,8). He commands His people to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).
The common example in the US is that of the Christian baker who was friends with some homosexual customers, but when asked to bake a cake to celebrate their homosexual wedding, he declined. That being said, he was taken to court and lost his business. Now many Christians, Church leaders and Pastors have asked themselves, “would I bake the cake?” And it seems today that many have said, “yes, to show love to the couple.”
Now this in a sense sounds kind and loving, but I want to ask you: where does the line stop? If a known sex trafficker were to ask you to fix his vehicle that you knew was used to transport sex slaves, would you fix it in the name of love? Of course not, I hope! I would actually pull some parts out of his engine and call the police, in the name of love for those poor slaves.
How about making a cake to celebrate a recent abortion or a wedding between a pedophile and a 12 year old? Of course a Christian would never condone such wicked things because it would be promoting actions that God despises; things that we all know are wrong. By doing so we would be guilty of condoning sin. Things are excepted today that used to be appalling; and mark my words, there will be no end to the wicked things that will be condoned in the future.
When we look at the Apostle Paul’s confession, he expresses his guilt in the fact that he was “standing by approving” of those who were stoning Stephen. Paul’s hand was holding no stone, but he was supporting those who were. In doing so, he was guilty of murder.
When we look at Romans 1:32, people were condemned not only for practicing sins worthy of death, but also for giving hearty approval of those who practiced them. Even when Paul saw the Apostle Peter acting as a hypocrite, he did not condone it but rebuked him to his face, because he loved God, loved Peter, and those effected by Peters sin.
So how are followers of Christ supposed to treat people that are still practicing a life of sin? Our prime example is the Master Himself, Jesus Christ. In John 4 Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. Now keep in mind that Jesus loved this woman so much that He was going to die for her sins soon after they met. Jesus starts by breaking cultural rules in befriending the woman, as Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. She is surprised by this and then Jesus starts speaking to her about spiritual things, intriguing her even more. After offering her living water, He then does something that most professing Christians will not do today; He confronted her sin. Before she could have this living water, she had to be convicted of her fornication.
Today, we would call this judgmental and awkward, but Jesus knew what was needed for her to find life. And behold, she believed! He revealed Himself as the Messiah and she was radically saved; not only she, but also the whole town through her witness! Hallelujah!
Today I plead with any and all who live for Jesus: please follow in His footsteps! If you have misunderstood love by condoning sin, please turn from doing that and follow the way of the Master. He is so much wiser than we. By all means, love sinners; feed them, clothe them, befriend them, share the gospel with them, and remember that you yourself once lived the same way, but by no mean do anything that would promote their sin. Don’t put a rainbow flag on your Church in the name of love, but do love homosexuals. Don’t pay for a drug addicts next fix, but do pray for him and give him a sandwich. And above all, share the everlasting gospel with them, which is able to give them life forever more! That is love!