Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 18 Number 12 December 2016
Page 8

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

Raymond Elliott

Raymond ElliottMany mothers have stated that while their sons were in prison for murder, “I hate what my son has done but I still love him.” A broken-hearted wife has found out that her husband has violated their wedding vows by committing adultery. She is overwhelmed with grief and disappointment, but she wants to save their marriage and expresses her feelings, “because I still love him.” A son is sent to prison for selling cocaine and will be incarcerated for several years. His father hates what his son has done, but down deep in his father’s heart there remains a love for his wayward son, and he will give him moral support.

No doubt, there are Christian parents who may have a son or a daughter living with a member of the opposite sex without being married. The parents know the Word of God considers such an arrangement as being the sin of “fornication” and described in the book of Galatians to be one of “the works of the flesh.” Further, they “who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Don’t you know those parents still love their son or daughter and at the same time hate that sinful relationship?

There are Christians parents who have sons and daughters who are homosexuals or lesbians who are actively engaged in such a lifestyle. Do not these parents love their children while hating that sinful way of living? Why, of course they do!

It is my conviction that the majority of people accept that the foregoing illustrations are, in reality, common occurrences. We understand how one can love the sinner and hate the sin. It is mainly when Bible believing people speak out against the sin of homosexuality and so-called “gay marriages” that we are called “homophobic and bigoted.” Also, we are accused of actually hating the individuals.

Yet, is it possible to love the sinner and hate the sin? Have you ever considered that God loves sinners but hates sins? In Proverbs 6:16-19, we read, “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him,” and then the writer listed them. This passage is a continuation of the character of the person mentioned in verse 12 who is described as “a worthless person, a wicked man…” The Bible plainly teaches that God loves sinners, and yet He hates sin. How do I know that? Please read the following passage. “But God demonstrates His own loved toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). As children of God, we are taught to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). At the same time we learn from the Psalmist, “Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104). Hence, we can love the sinner and at the same time hate the sin.

There is hope for those who live the lifestyle of homosexuality, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel of Christ. Please read carefully the passage of Scripture found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (NKJV). In Christ there is salvation from sin, strength to overcome our weaknesses and frailties of the flesh, and a blessed assurance of an eternal life with God when our journey on this earth has ended (1 John 5:11-12).

My friends, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth” when I write “the truth in love” (Galatians 4:16; Ephesians 4:15)? [The truth is the truth irrespective of whether it is acknowledged as such. Furthermore, God does not require human agreement with Him to validate divine truth. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor.]

Is This My Father's World?

Michael Foresha

“This is My Father’s World!”(Babcock). Do we still sing this beautiful song? In reference to the heavenly Father, the song still holds true: “This is my Father’s world.” This world does indeed belong to God, because He made it. He is the Creator and Sustainer of this world and the fullness thereof (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1; Jeremiah 10:10-12; 1 Corinthians 10:26; Hebrews 1:1; 11:3, et al). Have you noticed that the world in which we live is not the same world of our parents? In reference to my physical father, this is not my father’s world. The second point of the statement is in reference to the current philosophy and mind set when compared to the generations of the 40’s and 50’s when my physical father was growing up.

This is not my father’s world in regards to truth. Today, many like Pilate react skeptically to the concept of truth (John 18:36-38). The fact is that 7 out of 10 or 70 percent of Americans now believe that there is no such thing as absolute truth (Sanders 26). According to most people, there is no set of truths that can be unquestionably relied upon in every circumstance in every place and time (Sanders 51). Brantley makes this observation: “In Western culture, epistemology (the area of study that deals with the nature of knowledge and how it is established) has undergone some radical changes over the last few decades. There is a growing consensus that objective, universal truth is an archaic concept that no longer is relevant. Scholars who have analyzed this trend suggest that currently we are experiencing an intellectual shift from “modernism” to “postmodernism” (Brantley).

This is not my father’s world in reference to church attendance. “A George Gallup survey says that more than 44 percent of all American adults eighteen and over are unchurched; that is, they haven’t gone to church in the last six months or more. That would be 78 million adults” (Bartel 343). This begs the question, what are some of the characteristics of this unchurched culture? Callihan gives four elements.

First, by and large persons live life as though the church does not substantially matter. Second, most people are not seeking out churches on their own initiative; that is, they are not looking to go to church. Third, the church is not among their major values. And fourth, unchurched people do not necessarily view the church as harmful or hurtful; it is simply viewed as not particularly relevant or helpful.

In response to these elements, Callihan concludes that “the day of the churched culture is over, the day of the mission field has come” (13).

This is not my father’s world in understanding the mission of the church. The works of and concerns of the church are numerous, but the mission of the church is narrow: to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). “Win Arn has estimated that 90 percent of all laypeople feel the mission of the church is to meet their needs, while only 10 percent feel that the church’s mission is to win the world” (White 180).

These statistics reveal that there are several factors that are hindering the cause of Christ in our present age. How do we reach this generation? Shall we ignore the postmodern population or shall we investigate and formulate an effective plan and/or principles to carry out the Great Commission to the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-47; John 20:20-31; Acts 1:4-8)? The latter is the preferable choice of humble servants of Christ.

Works Cited

Babcock, Malthie D. Praise for the Lord.

Bartel, Don. “Evangelizing Postmoderns Using a Mission Outpost Strategy.” Telling the Truth. Ed. D.A. Carson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

Brantley, Garry K. “What Has Happened to Truth?” Apologetics Press, 1996.

Callihan, Kennon L. Effective Church Leadership: Building on the Twelve Keys. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990.

Sanders, Phil. Adrift: Postmodernism in the Church. Nashville: Gospel Advocate. 2006.

White, James Emery. “Evangelism in a Postmodern World” The Challenge of Postmodernism. 2nd ed. Ed. David S. Dockery. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

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