For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.1 Peter 2: 15 -16
Today may we address this topic candidly and openly before God. This is something all believers need to ask themselves, myself included. The question I would like to put to you is this, are you a hypocrite? To deal with this topic before us we must consider other questions. Are you different in private than in public? Do you practice what you claim to believe? Do you fix your gaze on Christ? Sin is a deep and profound rejection of God’s holy love. Sin is not just the breaking of God’s law, although it is. Sin goes much deeper than merely breaking a commandment. Sin makes us unclean and unfit for Heaven. Sin is very serious; sin is darkness and detestable in the sight of God. Many say “to err is human” implying that we cannot be held responsible for our errors, to sin cannot be avoided. However, is that a true statement.
I put it to you that Scripture says contrary to what the popular view of sin is today. Scripture teaches that we sin when we give in to the temptations of the flesh and the desires of our heart. Sin can be avoided, and we are accountable for our sin. God holds mankind liable for what we do in this life. We are before a watching God, who knows our hearts. If you listen to some psychologist and medical professional, they will claim that we are not accountable for our actions. They say this because they believe that we act in accordance to our culture, up bring and circumstances. Some may say that our DNA is the root to all our behaviour. I am not going to dismiss all these claims as our circumstances and up bring can be a factor in how we turn out. However, we cannot blame these things on our sinfulness because these things do not make us sin. We choose to sin because we want to sin. We lie, steal and cheat because we want to. We desire that which is contrary to God’s law. We have a sin nature. May I say this in love and affection for your soul. Sin is sin, wrong is wrong. Just because a vast number of people do that which is contrary to the law of God it does not make wrong, right.
The commandments of God stand in every age and generation. Sin has always been an acceptable choice by the world because they love the darkness and that pleasure in sin as Christ says in John 3. However, that pleasure in sin is only for a season. The sting and stain of sin will sharply rebuke the child of God. Sin ought to grieve us, trouble our conscience and make us very uncomfortable. Sin ought to convict us. If this cannot be said of you then I beseech you to search the depths of your heart and seriously consider your position before God. This ought to be done in prayer and with Scripture in mind. God does not turn a blind eye to sin. What we might consider “no big deal” is very much a “big deal” to God. We are unjust, we don’t require judgement for every sin, no matter how big or small. As sinful mankind we can’t understand the things of God without His Spirit. God says in the Bible His ways and thoughts are not in keeping with sinful mankind. Isaiah 55:8-9 faithfully declares to us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Do you believe in a god who does not take sin seriously? That says more about yourself than the One true God. The God of Scripture can’t abide with sin and hypocrisy. Many will try to justify their wrongdoing by claiming “God does not expect me to deny myself and be striving after holiness.” God is long-suffering, merciful and gracious. All these are true, but that does not make sin ok. Yes, God is merciful and gracious to sinners, but do not have such a low view of God’s blessings to use them as a free pass to sin. We ought to use our freedom in Christ for His purposes, and not our selfish gain and desires. Go back to the day when you became a believer if you can.
On that day God saved you from slavery to sin and bondage to your flesh. He freely forgave you of all sins so that you will be declared righteous before Him. God has not saved His people so they can go back to the cesspit of sin and continue with the knowledge of all sin forgiven. If you have the view that you can freely sin and continue in a pleasurable lifestyle of sin you have completely misunderstood the Gospel. Christ has saved sinners for Himself. We are saved to serve God, to love His law, to obey his voice and to submit to Him as our Lord and Master. The Christian life is not a set of rules that we must keep grudgingly so we might be saved, rather the Christian life is one that we walk in joy, peace, and holiness because we want to show our love and honour to God. The commandments God gives us ought to be our joy, for God has given them to us for our good and well-being. Sadly, many of God’s people have believed the lie that the Christian is to be like a Monk. One who obeys very strict rules and follows a daily pattern of rituals. One who does the right things, says the right things at a given time. One who must suffer to be holy. One who has an unhealthy fear of God, who is always waiting for us to mess up so he can beat us with his cane. One who must confess sin to a Priest to be forgiven and do certain deeds to be justified.If you view God like this then you have got it all wrong.
The God of Scripture is not like this callous old brute that we have just read about. Yes, God is righteous, and he does judge sinners and yes God does execute his holy wroth. However, God is One of love, grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness and hope. You can come to Him as a contrite sinner and ask for forgiveness and He will forgive. God will show mercy as He demonstrates his love for men and women. He will show you the greatest act of love ever shown, Christ Jesus, His son dying for sinners, being judged, whipped, beaten, bruised, broken and nailed to a cross. Remember as Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners, He was alone, the Saviour was abandoned by those he loved, even his disciples left him. Even God, the Father turned His face away as Christ was made sin for men and women. If this is not love, then love does not exist. I call on you to repent, if you have a false view of God, that is a view that is not in keeping with Scripture.
Embrace and accept the true God of the Holy Bible. Let me ask you another question. How do you view yourself? Do you regard yourself as basically good, or do you view yourself as God sees you? Notice how the question is worded. God does not see us as good. When alone are you tempted to sin? Maybe when alone you are tempted to view sinful material online or by other means. Consider this, would you yield to that sin if your Pastor, friend or family member was in the same room. We sin far more in the direct presence of God than we do in front of others. A Christian is never alone. God is always present and is all-seeing and all-knowing. Do not deceive yourself by thinking you can commit sin, and no-one will ever know. God knows, Yes God knows! When we sin, we have an advocate in Christ. He prays for us that our faith will not fail. God alone forgives sin and if we are faithful to confess our sinfulness, He will forgive us. The repenting sinner who is ashamed of his sin has a faithful and merciful Saviour. In closing may I encourage you by saying this.
Do not play the fool. You may be able to deceive people by outward appearance and speech, but God sees the real and true you, He looks at the heart. God reads your every thought and deed. Everything unspoken, unseen and unknown to others is known by God. Do not try to deceive, ultimately you are deceiving only yourself. Don’t play the fool or hypocrite? Be faithful and humble? Honour God in thought, word and deed. The reader will do well to keep in mind what Christ said in Matthew 23: 28 to the religious leaders of his day, “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”