“Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” — Romans 1:32
Guilt by association is a real problem in the Church. Christians are foreign residents in an alien and hostile world. Our Lord Jesus knew this as He came to rescue sinners, reconciling them to the Father in heaven. This is why the Word of God encourages His kingdom to stand firm among sinful desires while still engaging the sinful world. Christians are expected to be separated from sin both in participation and approval.
God receives all glory when a sinner is rescued. Redemption is not just for the sinner, it is primarily for God’s glory showing a sinful fallen world His grace. But Romans 6 cautions the Christian not to continue sinning so that “…grace may abound” (6:1). We are to be slaves of righteousness, not slaves to sin.
Approval of sin suffers the same consequences as participation in sin.
The foundation of a Christian’s life is rooted in the solid Rock of salvation through Jesus Christ. Building a strong foundation of Christian discipline is a very important way to withstand the onslaught of unrighteous temptations. It is through disciplines of prayer, fasting, simplicity, sabbath, scripture study and fellowship that one is able to “…not join them in the same flood of debauchery.” (1 Peter 4:4).
I will begin a series of sermons in March addressing the responsibility of the Christian to not only avoid the practice of sin, but also the approval of sin. Does this make us judgmental? No. When one’s attitude toward sin is approval of a sinful lifestyle, while clearly not participating in that lifestyle, then that Christian is by default just as guilty of participation. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked ways.” — 2 John 10-11
The Church is to be loving to sinners yet firm in their stand toward sin. Gabe Lyons in his recent book, The Next Christians encourages the church to attract the sinful world to something better. “If you strive to be faithful to Christ, your life will paint a picture of what every human soul is longing for. In turn, the world will take notice that this way of being Christian might just be a better way.” (p. 181).
In HIS Grip