I was listening to a conversation one person was having with me and another person yesterday when I became disturbed by what was being said. I didn’t want to say anything at the time and call that person out in front of others, but I think I’m going to have to have a tough conversation.
This person professes to be a Christian. In fact, he is a leader in the Christian community. He’s involved in a ministry that is very visible and impacts many others. However, on a couple of occasions recently, he’s been flying off to see his girlfriend in another city to spend several nights with her. On top of that, he’s a single dad with a teenage son, who is at the age where he could become sexually active.
I’ve held my tongue so far, but I’m not so sure I can anymore. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I heard this person talk about church (not ours) and how “hard” preaching really doesn’t work anymore. This person said that preaching about sin & hell can’t work in today’s society. Instead, it needs to be grace-based and grace-filled.
I agree, in a way. I agree that we are all dysfunctional to some extent and we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that none of us are righteous, not even one of us. (Romans 3:10) I think today’s preaching has to take that into account more than ever. But isn’t the message of the Cross enough? Isn’t that where hope and healing come from? Isn’t that all that’s needed?
I felt like that person said that to justify his lifestyle. He wants grace-based preaching because that’s what fits for him right now. He needs “cheap” grace that will tell him he can go on with his lifestyle because God’s going to forgive him.
But listen to what God’s Word says…
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offender nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, my underline)
I think I understand that Scripture to mean a lifestyle of immorality, idolatry, homosexuality, etc., and not just one or two (or three) occurences of that sin. It’s a lifestyle of sin and rebellion that will keep us from the Kingdom of God.
And Jesus, the One who brought grace, took sexual holiness up a notch when equating looking lustfully at a woman and committing adultery with her. (see Matt 5:28)
So, put yourself in my shoes. What would you say? Would you hold this guy accountable? He’s like family, and it might damage the relationship. Or would you let it go? After all, relationships are important.
Would your opinion change if this was family… close family… your grown son or daughter, now an adult, living their own life? What if it might damage that relationship?
It might be one day, so let me know what you think about all these scenarios.