“And they’ll know we are Christians by our
love by our Biblical morality …”
In the last several months, I’ve been told that it’s loving to warn people that their sin is sending them to hell. Not only that, Christians don’t want to be complicit in the sins of others, so much so they refuse goods and services to sinners in the name of conscience. I’ve already discussed though, that they don’t refuse all sinners the use of their goods or services, just ones that claim their sin to be their identity.
It’s long been said, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’ But this presupposes that people have the ability to seperate the two. “Love the thief, hate their thievery.” But they are thieves, to hate thievery, you’d have to hate thieving thieves. So how does one hate the sin that sinning sinners sin, but love the sinning sinners that people are?
Perhaps the better question is: “Why can’t we love one another?” Let’s say that Christian X walks into church and realizes that a homosexual couple is sitting in the front row. If he or she does not want to complicit in their sins, then he or she really can’t love them. If Christian X loved them, that would be accepting something in them that is contrary to their beliefs. Not only that, but one of them might be attracted to him or her, and that’s causing them to sin even more by putting a stumbling block in their path and by being complicit in their sins. So the most loving thing Christian X can do is to not love them to keep them from sinning even more. In the process, Christian X fails to keep the second commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Just what did Jesus die for? Did he wash away clean the stain of all sins, past, present, and future, only to fail here and now? Has all that power been spent on the generations before us? Jesus partied with the lowest of the low, he reached out to the untouchable, and were he around today he would love the unlovable.
In all of this sin, we forget grace. The way that some people teach it, the less the sin, the less grace we have use to up – so we can save it for when we really need it. We can count on ourselves to not murder, to not steal, to not commit adultery because we are just that good. We don’t need grace for that. But is our New Testament Law keepable? We have two commandments: Love God and Love everyone else.
“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5:20-21
Loving people is not the equivalent of being complicit in their sin. It’s not sinful to wish that a dying person had one more day, one more week, one more year, or one more decade to spend all that time sinning, rather, the time is to allow the grace of God to work and for them to come to faith. It’s not sinful to wish a couple to have a happy and smooth relationship together as they live in sin, rather, it is to make it easier to allow the grace of God to work in their lives and save both of them together. After all, God wants everyone to have the opportunity to believe in Jesus, Christians aren’t making that easy if they go around telling people how much God hates them.
If we truely love one another, then whoever walks into our church, whatever they claim to be, whichever denomination they belong to doesn’t determine how much or how little we love them, accept them, or how well we treat them. They are our brothers and our sisters. We don’t always have to agree on every detail of how to live the Christian life, but we are supposed to be loving.
Christians, we have it all wrong. We shouldn’t create a New Testament Legalism where we create and keep laws of righteousness. That would seem to say: “We have the ability to keep these laws on our own power, we don’t need Jesus’ grace to forgive us for failing to keep them.” When we do that, we fail to keep the debt of love that we owe everyone. And so we fail to do the very think we claim that we are doing.
Paul knows what the next logical question would be: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” His answer: “By the death and ressurection, we have been set free from sin … you are not under law, but under grace.” Let us learn to extend that grace to everyone we meet.
There’s only grace
There’s only love
There’s only mercy
And believe me it’s enough
Your sins are gone
Without a trace
There’s nothing left now
There’s only grace