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  • Love and Liberty

Modern Day Pharisees

Speaking to the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus said: “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” The Pharisees are not among us today in the US, but the same spirit that the Pharisees had can be found in many “Christians” and “Christian” circles in the nation. Rather than dealing with sinners with compassion and humility, there are many who like to brag about themselves, and they thank God they are not like other people are. They know the danger of this attitude because they know the Lord condemned it in his example of the proud Pharisee and the lowly publican, but they are blind to the fact that they are just as prideful and egotistical as the Pharisees were.

There are many people living in sin in our nation. Certain “classes” of sinners are treated with more contempt than others, to be sure. Some years ago, a small group of well-known Christians issued a blanket apology to the homosexuals of the nation for the way they have been treated by churches. Was this a good thing? I would say yes. I have been around “churches” and “Christians” that look down on others because of the type of sin they are living in yet are not so harsh on themselves or others that indulge in other types of sin. While churches have anathematized homosexuals, they have been more tolerant of adulterers and fornicators because these sins are not quite as horrible as homosexuality in the eyes of many. But they are just as horrible and harmful as homosexuality because they are perversions of God’s design for marriage and sex.

I have personal knowledge of a situation years ago in a church, where the people were the type that would call down fire on homosexuals and other kinds of sinners if they could, but pornography was ok - at least for some of them. I was told that a certain deacon in the church was regularly viewing pornography. I stated this was a serious accusation and asked the person that told me how he knew this. “Because he got it from me” was this church member’s reply. He acknowledged that it was sinful, but it was not looked on with the same amount of disdain as some other kinds of sexual sin. How often do people who are serving sin look at God and mouth their obligatory “I know I’m a sinner” prayer but then in their hearts thank God they are not “like other people are?"

The problem I have with the “apology” that was made (others have agreed) was not what was said, but rather what was NOT said. Compassion toward sinners does not exclude calling sinners to repentance. Homosexuality is a sin, and it will lead to personal, societal, and (ultimately) eternal destruction. Just as adultery does if not repented of. Preachers will not rebuke church members for defying God’s commands in certain areas (women not being keepers at home, immodesty, going places or watching things where it is impossible not to see immodesty, etc. - because they are good tithers), but they will take aim at the “heathens” of society, and they wonder why people see them as hypocrites. Additionally, lowering the gospel message to the idea that we are all sinners, but Christians are merely forgiven, is no gospel at all. “He that abideth in Christ sinneth not.” Sin is an exception in the life of the Christian, which is a strong indication that many who call themselves Christians are only nominally so. Yes, homosexuals must repent. But no more so than the adulterers, fornicators, drunkards, liars, murderers, thieves, or those who lust after women who are not their wives. Many who profess to know Christ are mere “Churchians” rather than Christians. They do not know the love and holiness of Christ, they only know how to live by their religion of Americanism while calling it Christianity. May God help us to learn the humility of Christ who made himself vulnerable to a world that has largely rejected and despised him. We are not called to lift ourselves up and to put others down, we are called to be living sacrifices for the good of all. Treat people like they are made in the image of God, and like Christ died for them, and call on them to turn from sin to follow him. They need his grace (divine influence) and mercy just like you and me.

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