In my last blog post The Greater Sin I started with a conversation I was having with a group of girlfriends. Now I want to finish what we spoke about that night. My good friend Sally had been watching a documentary about the new Pope and a meeting the Pope had had to apologize to those who had been molested in the Catholic Church. There was one young man there that told the Pope he was gay and the Pope had said God loved him. This statement led my friend, Sally, to go to God and ask some tuff questions. Sally went on to explain how scriptures came to her and she asked God what about this scripture and what about that scripture. After exhausting herself of scriptures (about behavior) that had come to her mind God simply stated to Sally, “They did not know Me.” When Sally was relaying this to us, in our group, I immediately heard, “Remember there is only one sin I can not cover.” And I blurted this out to the group while jumping up and down. It makes sense, finally.
Sin is a tuff subject in the Church body and for the Church body to address. I have heard:
“Hate the sin, love the sinner”
But then I read today in a news article of a church that chose to put up a sign that states:
“Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.”
I don’t see this as hating the sin and loving the sinner at all. Before I go further I believe I am going to have to clarify some things:
- In the fabric of creation we all (every single person on earth) live with the fact of cause and effect otherwise known as sowing and reaping. Our choices will yield positive or negative consequences.
- Every single person, ALL fall short of the glory of God. We all fail, make bad choices, or act like a fallen human. Even after we are “saved” we do all of the above. Paul said it so well in Romans: Why do I choose to do the things I do not want to do???? Paul answered his own question with the reality that belief in Jesus is the answer because our justification (the action of declaring or making something righteous in the sight of God) is by FAITH only.
- The world is filled with either those that believe in Jesus and those that choose not to believe in Jesus. We are hoping that those that are not right now choosing Him will choose to accept His free gift. So, there are those that know Him and those that do not choose to know Him.
- Sin is an act of choosing to do something in your own ability, apart from faith. Do believers sin? It depends on which sin you are talking about. To understand the three sin types read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4). The unbeliever does all three: Avon, Hatah, and Pashah. The believer only does two: Avon and Hatah. THE ONLY SIN THAT IS UNFORGIVEABLE IS PASHAH.
- I would highly recommend, if you haven’t yet (but you might still want to go back and review-I did), reading THE CHOICE, A Pirate’s Telescope, The Fight, Mount Carmel-Round 2, and The Greater Sin.
I am not here to argue what is a transgression or an iniquity and what is not; but I could easily do that. What I am here to do is to help the church body understand how God sees things; how He sees you and I; and most importantly how He through His Holy Spirit wants to reach those still living in agreement with Pashah. This is the purpose of this writing.
Back to Sally’s story…..when she said what God had answered, “They did not know Me.” There was understanding but I needed more. I have wanted to delve into this for a while but first had to write all of the other posts before I could even understand or maybe better yet….write about this. Articulating this is difficult and challenging. As I was explaining what I have heard and am understanding with another friend she asked good questions. She continued to ask me, “Are you saying it is okay for someone to live like that?” This is how we, the church, usually responds to things. We ask, is this right or wrong first instead of being present for the person. The PERSON, the individual that is uniquely made, fashioned by our Father’s hand in His image that has unique life experiences to them which have formed the way they believe and see the world. Jesus reminded me that He was ALWAYS personal with each person He came in contact with. What He said to one was different then what He said to another; but it always came down to faith, belief. We can not take a situation or circumstances with an individual and treat them each the same. Each person has their own lifeline and path to walk; when we intercept that walk we can not apply A, B, and then C to their situation or circumstances but can apply what Holy Spirit is asking us to apply in that moment, to that person. Paul was promised to be given what to say in these very same situations…we are given the same promise. Too many times I see an A, B, C model given to believers to take out into the world to deal with “sinners” or believers who are not living up to the “standards of the Church (building)”. This is never going to work because this IS NOT how Jesus worked. God decided He needed to give me even more understanding:
God asked me a question, “Darlene does the outside of your house look like Christmas (we hadn’t decorated outside at all this year because we would be out of town for Christmas and New Years)?”. I answered, “No”. He asked, “How about the inside?”. I answered, “Very little’. Then quietly He asked, “Do you still believe in Me?”. I answered, “You know what is in my heart”. He said, “Exactly!”. That is when more understanding dawned for me.
- Even when we have Christ on the inside our outside doesn’t always show it.
- Just because we don’t look like Christ is on the outside doesn’t mean we don’t have Jesus in us.
These two statements above mean a person can be transgressing or living in iniquity but still believe in Jesus. Remember: all of us fall short of the glory of God DAILY. I know I do; yet God still loves me, has already forgiven me and I am assured that I, by faith, get to live in His glory. Remember there is no ‘greater sin’ in God’s perspective. It is all forgiven except Pashah (unbelief).
Instead of the Church looking at each other’s iniquity or transgression they need to look at their own (remember the sliver in your friends eye while you have a plank in your own) and looking at your own gives you compassion for others. If someone states they believe in Jesus…then they do, it really is that simple. Their outside might be a mess: but remember the plank in your own eye or my house this Christmas. Instead of preaching behavior we need to be speaking truth about belief, faith and Jesus’ act of love for the whole world. When we start seeing ourselves as God sees us we believe we are truly loved and accepted even while we are still messy. This unconditional love is what each human is in search of but the church has taught that God’s love is conditional by what they do. We have set ourselves up to be the moral police of the world which is actually a religious spirit instead of doing what the Lord did while He walked the earth: was personal to each person; spoke to them the exact way they needed to hear; made known His love and compassion for each person; and He covered every wrong that would be done on the earth for each individual person for all time and all we have to do is choose to accept this free gift by faith.
It comes down to this:
Can a gay person be saved? Yes, just like a murderer (even those that have had this thought in their head only), or adulterer (even those that have only thought about someone else), or liar, or someone that speeds in their car, or has sex outside of marriage, or has committed suicide. All of these actions have consequences; remember this is sown into creation.
Back to my friend’s question, ” Are you saying this is right?” ….. I answered, “Can’t it be both…not right but still covered by the blood of Jesus?” Later she texted me and she wrote:
“Who am I without His Grace? Every sinner that ever struggled with every/any sin!! ❤️
Perhaps if His Grace is not sufficient FOR ALL (sins & sinners) then His Grace isn’t sufficient AT ALL!
Did He say “most of it is finished – or, It (ALL OF IT) is finished.?”
In Romans, Paul wants us to understand ALL of what Christ did for us and Who we are in Christ. When we look at other believers, who we can see are dealing with iniquity and/or transgression, we very easily look at the splinter and want to take it out not having faith God and His timing will actually deliver that splinter out for this person much better than we ever could. Our job is to keep our eyes on Jesus by remembering Whose we are and Who we are in Him; remember we all have a splinter in our eye; pray for others; love each other right in the middle of the mess (because wouldn’t you want to be loved in the middle of your mess); speak ONLY what Holy Spirit wants you to speak —-and you will be given things to say and most of the time you won’t even realize it is the Holy Spirit because you are so intertwined with Him yet what you say may not be profound to you it will have the lasting impact on the person you spoke it to.
Lastly, the Church needs to realize the Law stands on its own. People can say it isn’t true or factual but see God has sewn the law into the fabric of our world and it can’t be changed. What God has allowed is for those in UNBELIEF to be given over to their depraved minds (Romans 1:28) yet this does not change truth. Each believer needs to live out their own personal timeline. Yes there will be transgressions and iniquity that we choose to do on our timeline as believers; yet Jesus has covered this. Do we want to continue in this…certainly not because we are dead to it…..but like Paul there are times when I don’t do what I want to do but I remember: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” And Jesus has made me a new creation in Him. (Romans 8:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 5:17). This is what has set me free: understanding Whose I am and Who I am in Christ Jesus. May the love of Christ surround you and yours in this New Year!