So we just concluded that Christians are not different than anyone else regarding their own righteousness. We are all sinners with a sinful nature, see part one for greater clarification on this issue. So the this begs the question, so now what? How should Christians respond going forward? Just to clarify a point regarding a difference between Christians and non Christians. Christians are righteous, just in case this point was missed. The thing we sometimes forget is that it is not our works or actions that makes us righteous but rather we have Christ’s righteousness. It says in 2Co 5:21 “For our sake he made him(that is Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It was on the cross when we switched places, he bore our sins and we took His perfection. It is because of this that we are called to a separate way of living that He gives us the ability to do. That is what we are going to talk about today.
Jesus was known to be a friend of sinners, I find that very interesting, I wonder if that would be said about me? That is because he wasn’t always hanging out in synagogues (churches) rapping with the Pharisees and Sadducees(Religious leaders of the day) discussing how great they were and how lowly the sinners were. No, he was hanging out with what the religious people would call the sinners. How often do we isolate ourselves in our churches with like minded people talking about the sinners of the world like we are so great and holy. It is very easy to get wrapped up in holy living and pointing out everyone’s sins and we begin to separate big sins from little sins. Homosexuality, Adultery, prostitution, whoa they’re the biggies. While hatred, gossiping, and slander, well they’re not so bad right? This is our mind set in the churches these days. We put our arms around someone who is ruining there marriage cause there checking out porn on there computers and we say things like “I’ll pray with you brother”,but if he comes in and says I hooking up with another guy, we’ll just run to the hills, there is no help for him cause he is a sinner. This reminds me of a story in the Bible. It is found in John 8:3-11 and goes like this “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
When you read that story, whose side are you on the woman’s or the religious leaders? I am assuming you chose the woman’s, but why? she committed a big sin. She was caught in the very act of adultery, ripped right out her bed and thrown into the streets.We deserve, no we demand justice, but instead we see Jesus showing compassion and mercy for the woman. That is what wins us over in the story and it wins the woman too. He did not condemn her, rather He loved her, and had mercy on her. But when it comes to homosexuality how many times are we found standing with the rocks in our hands, arms cocked and ready to throw, wanting to condemn instead of loving and showing compassion? And I love what Jesus says “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Now from the previous post we know that we are ALL sinners, but sometimes we forget that and we judge those we are not comfortable with.
Jesus spent His years in ministry almost doing the opposite of what we do. He went around loving sinners and condemning the religious leaders. While we go around condeming sinners and loving our religious leaders. In the book of Matthew after a long list of Woe to you’s that he directs to the religious leaders he says this in Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
23:26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
23:28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”.
Again, it is easy to say” Yeah, you tell em’ Jesus” all the while we find ourselves to often in this same scenario. We must be careful not to appear righteous on the outside only. but in our hearts also. And lastly I wanted to point out that we are to love others. That is what is supposed to separate us from non Christians. Read these verses
Luk 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luk 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luk 6:33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luk 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. Luk 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Luk 6:36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luk 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”
Mat 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
and Lastly in John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I know I am overwhelming you with verses and maybe you got tired of reading them, but Jesus had a lot to say about Love, mercy and forgiveness. Therefore that is where our hearts should also be. We need to come out of our comfort zone and and embrace those whom you feel are different from you and maybe you feel more righteous than. Maybe for you it is not the homosexual community you are uncomfortable with. For you it could be those with drug addictions or prostitution of inmates in prison. Whatever it is remember you are not greater than anyone, more self righteous than anyone but our righteousness comes from Christ. Let us show that instead of showing our bigotry and judgmental hearts