It has been my privilege to participate in Bible Study Fellowship for nearly nine years. I thank God for BSF because it provides me the study and discipline that I would not achieve on my own.
I learn from the answers the other ladies on our group share. I learn from our Teaching Leader Terri de la Vega…who has a real heart for God and people. She is uncompromising in teaching the word of God and doesn’t duck when it comes to sharing hard truths.
I also learn when answering the question for our study each week. Some questions are straight forward and direct. Some cause me to think and mull over the question. In this week’s lesson we are studying Matthew 18 and the questions that really got me to thinking were about sin in the life of a Christian and how it effects the church. How sin reflects on Christ and the Gospel message.
Be it me or another Christian…sin infects the body of Christ and the church.
It’s all too easy to laugh at sin…especially as portrayed on sitcoms and movies. Shows that make sin and doing what God has declared sinful, the norm and common place. Thing like sex outside of marriage…both for singles and married people. What about homosexuality. Most shows depict homosexuals in a humorous way. To lie, cheat and steal is normal…and fails to shock people these days. Even when it comes from a respected leader.
The church in America today has become so influenced by our godless culture that we fail to see sin as sin…and declare it as such. When that happens…we are not effective instruments to share the Gospel. When I take it in stride when my friend is living with someone outside of marriage I will fail to confront them. There will be no reason to let them know that what they are doing is against God’s word…after all, “They aren’t hurting anyone, are they?”. Wrong! In fact they are. They are lost in their sin…perishing and will go to hell if they don’t accept God’s one and only acceptable sin offering…Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the cross. Part of accepting Christ is recognizing that I’m a sinner, repenting and turning away from my sin.
When a Christian steps across that line…when a Christian sins…we fail to be a useful and effective instrument in the hands of God. We buy into the lies of the enemy…who will later condemn us as a hypocrite.
As Pastor Philip De Courcy warned a couple of weeks ago, yes it is, “Once saved, always saved”. But he admonished… “Once saved, always saved…if you are truly saved.” If I say I’m a Christian, but can walk in sin, make excuses for it and not repent…I need to ask myself if I’m truly saved.
Below are some thoughts about the cost of sin to a Christian, the body of Christ and Christ Jesus my Lord.
- I’m saying Jesus Christ saves me…but can’t deliver me from my sins.
- That Jesus Christ is my Savior…but not my Lord and Master.
- I put myself above God as I seek which pleases me, even when God has strictly prohibited it in scripture.
- I don’t care that I give the body of Christ a black eye and bad reputation…and that my tainted sin casts a pall over every Christian.
- I want my cake…and eat it too. To sin and enjoy it for a season…but not pay the price and consequences for my sin.
- I don’t care if my sin causes another one to stumble, sin and go to destruction.
- I’m saying to hell with you unbeliever who rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ because you see me as just another hypocrite professing Christ but not walking in obedience.
- I’m saying Jesus…let me let me drive another nail in Your hand. Let me add more of my sin upon You. Sin that You willingly, in obedience to the Father, took upon Yourself.
- I’m believing the one who was a liar from the beginning. Taking him at his word and doubting God and His word.
- I’m saying I want to belong to God…but not serve Him.
- I stop seeing what God has declared wrong as sinful.
- When I don’t see someone without Christ as dead in their sins…I won’t share the Gospel message.
- When I’m sinning…I will be less likely to confront another Christian who is in sin. I feel guilty and don’t want to be confronted about my own sin.