Ephesians 4 : 11 – 16, And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. NKJV
How can a believer address the issue of unrepentant sin in another person’s life without coming across as judgmental or intolerant? In order to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the sin in people’s hearts, and of how we should confront sinners, we must look to Jesus as our example. We can see first-hand how Jesus addressed the issue of iniquity in the lives of sinners throughout the gospels. John chapter 3 tells us that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world; He came to save the lost. Nevertheless, while Jesus never condemned anyone for being in bondage to sin, neither did He give them a pass. He called sin, sin. However, even though Jesus showed love and compassion for the sinner, He was not tolerant of sin.
In today’s scripture, Paul teaches us to grow up in Christ so that we will know how to speak the truth in love appropriately. There is a delicate balance that must be developed between truth and love. Therefore, children of God must mature in spiritual understanding before we can practice what Paul describes in Ephesians 3: 14 – 15. In other words, we have to know for ourselves what the Bible says about sin and the principle of forgiveness for sinners… through our own experiences, not just knowledge.
Jesus said that there is none good but One …God. Consequently, when we speak the truth in an attempt to bring someone out of their sin, we are, at that point representing Jesus…or speaking on His behalf. Even so, if we’re not walking in truth and love in our lives, we will either lean toward harshness or toward tolerance in order to compensate for our own weaknesses and/or immaturity. Look at how many times the term “walk in” is used in the New Testament. We are commanded to “walk in the Spirit,” “walk in love,” “walk in grace,” and “walk in knowledge of the truth.” Consequently, the more consistent we are as believers at walking in truth and love, the easier it will be for us to speak the truth in love to those outside the faith.
I’ve been around a long time. I’ve seen the pendulum swing from legalism over to tolerance. This switch tells us that not only are we as individuals struggling with the best way to reach sinners, but the body of Christ as a whole is also grappling over the best way to reach the lost. If we just focus on our own spiritual maturity and our consistency in keeping the truth, the Holy Spirit can use us in a greater capacity as salt and light to those lost in the darkness. Salvation is first personal. Jesus told His disciples to begin at home, in Jerusalem, before launching out into Judea and Samaria.
It’s not our job to “fix” or “save” anyone from sin. It is our duty to be a genuine representation of God’s truth and love. We are to be a reflection of God’s excellent work in us, so that others can see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven. You see; it’s not what we “do” that should bear the emphasis. It is rather what God has been allowed to do in us that should speak the loudest to the lost.
Reaching Out in Love,
Pastor Asa Dockery
Pastor Asa Dockery