Summary: Many want to clean the outside of the believer, when the inside is what Jesus put the most emphasis on. I call it visual sins.
Liberalism VS Legalism
Two of the Deadliest Sins
A Church received a resume for a Pastor’s position. While reading up on his history they noticed that he had a record. He had been arrested, his doctrine was considered very controversial and on occasions he was run out of town. Fights erupted during some of his sermons. He wasn’t a very good speaker and also struggled with a disease.
The church elders were shocked and not only didn’t consider him qualified to pastor their church, but questioned his salvation and felt that he was sick because of his sin.
They could only bow their heads in shame and embarrassment when they found out that it was the Apostle Paul’s Resume.
How we are quick to judge and lash out at believers that we know so little about. Character evaluation from Christ’s parable about knowing their fruit is a two way street. First, you better have your so called fruit in one sock, so to speak before looking at another’s. The speck and the log analogy comes to mind, and I found that those who judge the loudest often have the lousiest Christian track records, and are just masking their insecurity.
Many want to clean the outside of the believer, when the inside is what Jesus put the most emphasis on. I call it visual sins.
Don’t swear, spit, smoke, chew or go with those who do. We see these so called tobacco spitting Christians and immediately whip out and empty our spiritual six guns into them. I chewed tobacco for fifteen years and even when I became a believer, this addiction didn’t just go away like some think should happen and those who do usually have never had an addiction and haven’t a clue what it’s like.
Some have tremendous will power and can smoke for years and put it down just like that. I know such a person and have to fight away the envy as I struggled for years to quit not only tobacco, but marijuana as well. Pot about ruined my life, but God was merciful and delivered me from both. The problem is that many spend their lives struggling with these addictions and are considered rotten fruit. So they never can show the kingdom what they have to offer.
I’ll never forget the words of one my favorite Evangelists after he was caught in sin. Yes, Jimmy Swaggart, I believe the predominant reason was pride. He talked about seeing Christians that were bleeding by the wayside in sin and instead of their brothers caring and restoring them in the faith, they began to spiritually kick them in they the name of Jesus. How dare you sin like this being a Christian, which is nothing more than works righteousness.
Now there is a fine line as we wouldn’t want to justify addictions or sin. But Jesus also addressed the danger of Legalism by the comparison of the Pharisee and the sinner that beat his breast for Gods mercy, and we know who was justified.
I lived near and worked in the Liberal Capital of the United States, San Francisco. California has about every kind of culture conceivable. The West Coast is famous for Liberalism, but I have lived in the Bible Belt for two years and have found that legalism is a problem there. Both are deadly to the progress of the Kingdom, and God hates them both. One has an attitude of apathy, while the other has a superior attitude and can contain the same kind of dangerous pride that Cain and Lucifer had.
Take the Apostle Peter for instance. He was a rough talking fisherman, but Jesus made him a fisher of men. He became one of God’s greatest servants, yet he denied Christ three times, and Jesus didn’t give up on him or disqualify him from leadership. He restored him, forced him to tell the truth, and asked him to feed his sheep.
The harvest is great and the laborers are few because the church is famous for chasing them away with their unrealistic expectations. We push the “Taste not touch not formula,” when the real problem is an internal one. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us and stays regardless of whether we fall on our face or not. He will never fail to convict us of sin, but without the judgementalism man is so famous for.
We can be angry at sin, and it’s easy to whip out the laundry list of sins pointing out what the scriptures say about not hanging around so called believers that still have trouble with these sins. Now God can do anything. He can deliver us in a heartbeat, but even though I was it wasn’t over night. I struggled with certain sins for several years before I was delivered, and for the most part God doesn’t deliver us. He gives us the strength to resist, and expects us to fight with Him along side us. I think God allows us to fall to keep us humble and our faith on him. How self righteous and of little faith believers would be if we were always delivered.