I had some thoughts this morning that I thought I would share for teachers, bloggers, writers, and just Christians in general to keep in mind as we speak about God and his Word. You probably already know this, but I want to encourage you in this.
When we write and speak, why do we do it? What do we want to happen in others? Faith? Obedience? Awe for God? Joy? All of the above?
A desire for holiness, and good thoughts and actions that please God, are impossible without a love for God. Obedience comes from a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Many of us speak primarily to a Christian audience but we also know that so many of our readers and listeners are not yet Christians. So whenever we admonish the saints we also need to provide the answer for obedience, otherwise they will only know about their condemnation without the remedy. We need to always show off the gospel, with how obedience is even possible, through the indwelling of his Spirit by faith in Christ.
“Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23. “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” Hebrews 11:16. I remember struggling as a pastor with seeing sinful actions in our church and wondering how I could preach so that people would see the awfulness of their sin, and stop being so crazy! However, we as believers need to have faith that sanctification in others is not really our job as teachers. God is building his church (Matthew 16:18). The Holy Spirit is the one who brings the necessary change in the heart for us to even want to obey God. “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8).
The world stands condemned already John 3:18. So, as we do what Jesus has told us to do, and go into all the world to “preach the gospel” let’s keep in mind that the answer to disobedience for both those with and without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is this: seeing and loving Jesus above all.
Non-Christians who don’t care about their sinfulness can’t please God without faith in Christ. Remember, it’s impossible without faith. The answer to obedience therefore is faith, not condemnation (they already have that in John 3:18). The answer for them is the good news of Christ: that they are dead in their sins and have a remedy in Christ.
A Christian who doesn’t care about their sin doesn’t exist. A totally apathetic Christian is an oxymoron. Anyone who has been born again has a new heart and has the Holy Spirit in them. “And in Him, having heard and believed the word of truth— the gospel of your salvation— you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, ” Ephesians 1:13. So we don’t need to address Christians in anger and frustration as though God is not doing His job in their hearts. Not that anyone ever does this (haha), but I certainly have done it myself! So sometimes I think I sense hints of that same frustration in others, maybe just because I’ve been there.
Instead, we can teach the Word of God, fully, without censoring it, and without apology, but also in faith let the Holy Spirit convict hearts in His miraculous and effective way. Please also don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we get soft on sin. The Word is not soft on sin. What I’m saying is that we admonish the saints while providing the gospel. We always need both.
Don’t be afraid His grace will de-rail conviction. It is the power of God for those being saved! (Romans 1:16).
I hope this is encouraging and helpful. Please let me know if you have questions or comments!
Love you all