Friday, January 8, 2010

Walking As a Freed Man

Moral Failure: What Now?

When people fall into moral failure, they have two choices. They can remain in their sin or they can repent and climb out. I’m noticing a trend in the Christian community these days to not only stay in that sin but to allow even more sin to enter. I’ve been curious as to why this is happening and what I have observed is disturbing.

Whether they like to admit it or not, many Christians are legalistic. We have a certain set of rules that we feel we should live by and for the most part, if we follow these “rules” we feel we are “okay.” But if just one of these “rules” is broken, we justify it with the covering of grace and let sin have it’s foothold.
We also have given sin degrees. Some sins we see as “bigger” than others. Visual sins we hold at a very high degree—sexual sins, relationship sins, sins of commission. You know, the sins we warn our youth to stay away from: premarital sex, divorce, adultery, etc. I’m sure you could add to the list. My point is that when a legalist sins, he or she tends to wallow in the failure. The way I see it, this is a very self-centered reaction.

Legalism is self-centered, though. The Pharisees were legalistic and we know how Jesus chastised them. When we focus on the sin, we are placing our efforts in the wrong direction. When we focus on our involvement or on our allowing the sin to enter our lives, we are being self-centered. Rather than making our sin list and checking it twice a day, our focus is supposed to be directed on God. No additions to that. Watch:

Luke 10:27: “Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

I see nothing in there about a list of rules. I see no if-then clauses. I am not saying that sin is unimportant, but focusing on it is the opposite of what we have been told to do. I propose that if we focus on loving God with all we have, sin will not be allowed to enter our hearts. Will we never sin? You know better than that. But again, when we focus on God and not ourselves, the sin will be noticed early, seen as something ugly to get rid of, and left behind.

So you have fallen into moral sin. Focus on God and deal with it as you must. If your sin involves someone else, you still have to focus on God and take care of that relationship. He will lead you and hopefully the other person involved into repentance. If the other person doesn’t repent, you are not “off the hook” or “out of favor” with God and thus free to continue in sin or add to it with a new sin.

I am just processing what I am seeing in the Christian world today. I do not want to sound dogmatic or uncompassionate. However, when we stand before God, He will deal with how we were obedient to His call and our “He did this” or “She did that” will not be accepted as an excuse for sin. We stand alone before our God—how did we deal with our sin? 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Would you be described as “Condemned man walking” or “Cleansed man walking” ?