A lot is spoken today of kindness, but do we as Christians truly know what kindness is? Often, it is misunderstood, it is exchanged for niceties, flattery etc. If I had a nickel for every time I have been told that it is unkind to preach about sin. Somehow, people in this era think it unkind to warn of the effects of sin. They say you are not drawing them with lovingkindness. How did David define kindness?
“Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.”-Psalm 141:5
David thought, wisely, that correction was kindness. He understood the eternal nature of our mistakes when his own son died because of his sin, he recognized wisely that he would go to where his son was, not the other way around. David used this motivation to make his life right before God (I Ki. 15:5). Today, we have been fed the ‘love of God’ to such a degree, people cannot conceive the simple fact that hell is a reality. Let us, in this short article, look at the nature of hell and God’s reasons for designing it. Perhaps, this might give you understanding as to why it is so important to warn others of sin. I would also like in a short exhortation to give some of the earthly dangers of sin. The ultimate purpose of this article is to show why persecution (though it goes against the grain of our emotional makeup) is a worthy thing to endure as a Christian.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”-I Peter 4:12-13
The wages of sin is death— sin destroys things on so many levels. If we only could understand the emotion of God, this would not need explaining. Sadly, it is for this reason that it is my personal belief that most people are lacking the Holy Ghost. According to the Gospel of John, the Comforter comes to convict the world of sin, righteousness & judgment. Sin is the first order of business. Sin is hateful to God. There is no reconciliation without repentance. There has been so much written on this subject that it seems pointless writing as it begs the question, why have the previous written material not brought conviction?
The week before last, I was at the Capitol in Texas with several Christians standing for a bill that would abolish abortion. I had a firsthand glimpse of the application of this verse. The majority of abortions in America are from unwanted pregnancies, even further most of them come from unwed mothers. We have become so calloused to this that these facts are diminished or go completely unpresented. This grievous sin, the murder of a child made in God’s image, is overlooked in order to show ‘mercy’ on the mother, when in truth the mother is only one of at least three people involved. Illegitimate pregnancy is not the beginning of sin, rather it is the result of a string of sin. This cycle defines the term ‘iniquity’, which is adding sin upon sin (Isaiah 31).
When the man was attracted to the woman the right thing for him to do would have been to use the opportunity to hold those thoughts captive to Christ. He could have restrained his sexual impulse and allowed his desire to drive him to the cross for strength. This would have brought him closer to Christ as redeemer, it also would have resulted in a care for the woman’s eternal soul. In doing so, he might have found a wife, which is a good thing (Pr. 18:22). Instead, the father of the illegitimate proves he cannot keep from sin and therefore is unfit to be anyone’s husband.
“Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:”-I Peter 2:14
The woman in this situation is an unstable soul, the right action of true love would have been to comfort her and bring stability to her soul. Instead, this ‘father’ sought to fulfil the adulterous fantasies of his heart. He begins to tell lies, make promises he doesn’t intend to keep and on and on the list of sin grows. This is the nature of iniquity. Sadly, not only does this man cheat the woman of true love, in doing these things he also robs himself the opportunity of sweet communion with Christ. He may be (in some sense) the biggest loser in this situation. He is certainly the one held most responsible to the crime which results. In no way does this discharge the woman of her guilt, it is simply consistent with Scripture to say that the man has greater responsibility as women are the weaker vessel.
It was God’s intention in placing the desire for sex in a man that he would be ‘fruitful and multiply’ (Gn. 1:28). God had a plan for how to go about this task, leave father and mother and cleave to his wife (Gn.2:24; Mt.19:5). God’s design involved the love of a family, a group of people knit together in love for one another. Each part of this family has its own distinctive roles working together in harmony to produce more families. Sexual immorality is a very serious matter. It goes against the very root of this structure and so rots the core of any family.
Look at this one issue (abortion) just to have a case study. It began with one sin, which compiled into many sins (iniquity). Had it been cut off at the beginning nothing would have come of it, but now there is an innocent baby being sacrificed. Remember what James said:
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”-James 1:13-15
Do you see how we are without excuse? Not only are we not tempted of God, God did everything to succor our victory over it (Heb. 2:18). How wicked is a man beholding the truth of the cross, who decides to give in to his own lust? Having the power to overcome temptation by the power of the Holy Ghost (I Co. 10:13), how selfish is a man who chooses to sin. Then when the sin costs him an unwanted charge, he defers the payment required (death) to his own unborn child. Not only is he rejecting his own child, but he is ultimately rejecting the blood of Christ. It was for this reason Christ died, to deliver mankind from the bondage of sin. How despicable a man who would reject all this for a few moments pleasure!
Having looked very closely at the pattern through our short study, now let us zoom out and look at the damage caused by this iniquity. Let us consider all the destruction that sprung from one sin. It caused a rift between God and the man. It caused distrust between the man and the woman, a distrust which often leaves bitter root in women and wreaks havoc on future relationships. It caused both the man and the woman to be guilty of murder. The effects of this guilt will be constantly felt throughout their lives. Only God knows the intent He had in giving them a baby, so the world at large missed out on whatever benefit it would have brought to the world. Of one thing we can be sure, God does nothing arbitrarily and no one was born without a purpose. Do you begin to see the seriousness of sin?
Every sin does likewise, even the ones you believe harm no one. Can you imagine the circumstances that arise as we go on in our sin? What damage does it do to our eternal souls? What about the souls of our neighbors? Can you imagine the damage sin causes to our world at large? If you follow this reasoning you must understand the need for hell. If God allowed people who cannot cease from sin to enter heaven than those same people would destroy heaven.
What is hell?
Hell, according to Jesus, is a place of torment. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is said, commonly, that it is the absence of the presence of God, however according to the Scripture the wicked are punished with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb and His holy angels (Rv. 14:12). In hell, the worm dies not, so you have no hope of dying there; the smoke of your torment goes up into the heavens forever and ever. This was described in detail so that we might consider our ways. Jesus said repeatedly if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better to go to heaven maimed, than to enter hell with your whole body. With all these warnings, all this descriptive language still hell expands itself every day, as people refuse to take heed.
This is the reason we should warn of its dangers; this was a major part of Jesus’ preaching. First, as we have briefly concluded, sin causes unfathomable damage here in this world. It doesn’t just hurt the person who did it, it hurts everybody. It is right to proclaim the Gospel, that we can be free from sin! When one does this, they will be ostracized and rejected. Still, as Jesus who hung on the cross, He said, as they hated me, they will hate you also. This is our reasonable service, this is us taking our cross, we, as Christians, are to bear the reproach of the Gospel. All that live godly will suffer persecution. When you have a godly life before men it speaks loudly that Jesus is truly able to change lives. The wicked man is convicted and the only way he sees to stop that conviction is by getting you away from him. So, in this, we should never be surprised at the lengths a convicted sinner will got to stop your testimony.
That said, remember what David said it is kindness. Jesus said those I love I chastise, and rebuke; therefore, be zealous and repent. Consider the truth: your steadfast suffering may be the only thing which final pricks a sinner’s hard heart, allowing them to finally come to the light of Jesus Christ. If this is what it takes is it not worth it? Did not Christ suffer for you in like manner? Did He not bear the weight of the world’s sin? How much is a soul worth to you? Have you been shown great mercy? Should you not then have great mercy?
In the scenario we have been speaking of, this mercy is shown by standing at the abortion mill or the state legislature. Though it is unpopular with people and most people will hate you for doing so. Still, you are doing what is best for the people in question (and the world for that matter) in proclaiming the truth: they can end the cycle by turning to Jesus in repentance. People often become violent towards those who are standing against them and their desire to sin. Jesus calls us blessed who are persecuted for His name’s sake. He instructed us to “rejoice and be exceeding glad” (Mt. 5:11-12). The same precepts which apply in this scenario apply in all matters of sin.
We have the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and what a blessing it is to be reminded when we may otherwise be overwhelmed! We turn from sin towards righteousness and no longer need to fear judgment. The work of God is fulfilled in those who believe Him. What a fellowship we have with the blessed Father through our Comforter the Holy Ghost! What an amazing price Jesus paid so that all this was made so! He is on the right hand of the Father as I write making intercession for us as saints of the Most High God!
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”-Hb. 2:17-18
This word “succor” according to Webster’s 1828 means to run to or run to support; hence to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering. Therefore, it is truly better to suffer as a Christian, as in doing so, you have the God of all comfort on your side. In the precious gift of the Holy Ghost you have been given a reminder of the truth and the liberty it brings. You also have the keys to minister to anyone in any situation victory over sin and death! There is victory in His presence, victory in Jesus to which we should, regardless of whatever persecution we face, be able to shout HALLELUJAH! Glory be to God in the highest!
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?