This series is not about the amount of sin in the church – not exactly. This is not a rant about divorce and adultery and homosexuality and pride and hypocrisy among Christians. Instead, in this post, I’d like for us to think about this question: what should the church (that is, believers) do when they discover that another believer has sinned?
Originally, this was going to be a single post about the issue of adultery. As I’ve mentioned previously, we’re studying through the book of Matthew. We’re currently working our way through the Sermon on the Mount. In the Sermon – especially in chapter 5 – Jesus teaches about sin, in an authoritative manner that amazes the people who hear him. I believe Jesus demonstrates clearly that all of us are murderers, adulterers, liars, and brother-haters. In other words, he shows us the extent of our sin – and it is very extensive.
In this series of posts, I want us to think about sin and how the church should deal with sin. What should we do when someone among the church commits sin.
As we think about this question, let’s recognize two things: 1) the church is holy and 2) the church is pure. Holiness and purity are separate issues, even though they are generally combined, which causes alot of confusion and misunderstanding.
The church is holy (“separate”, “set apart”) because the church has been separated from the world by God. God set the church apart. This is not something that we do; this is an act of God. Now, the way that we live should demonstrate that we are different from the world, but the way that we live does not make us holy. God makes us holy. We are saints (“holy ones”) because we have been given that designation by God.
Also, the church is pure because believers have been forgiven of their sins by God. The church has been made righteous. Again, this is not something that we do. Scripture is very clear that we cannot make ourselves righteous, regardless of how hard that we try. Once again, our lives should demonstrate our purity, but the way that we live does not make us righteous. God makes us righteous. We are righteous because we have become the righteous of God in Christ.
As we think about sin, these two points are very important. Adultery or murder or stealing or any other sin does not make the church un-holy or impure. If sin made the church un-holy or impure then the church would never be un-holy or impure until Christ returns. Thus, dealing with sin is not a matter of protecting the holiness or the purity of the church.
As we continue this series, we’ll continue to ask the question, “How should the church deal with sin?” I hope you decide to take part in the discussion.