About 9 years ago my oldest son, Christopher had many questions for us. He wasn’t super good at asking things very well, but instead of asking, “What is it?” he would say, “What it is.” And we would tell him what it was.
(Before you continue to read this, this is one of the “blunt” blogs. These comments are going to be harsh and disturbing because of what it is.)
It seems like we can get pretty good at beating around the bush when people ask us about “what it is.” Churches can get scared sometimes, more afraid of running people off than explaining what it is. So what is it?
I was reading Jude today. He started his letter off in an interesting way. He mentioned that he was going to write about something else but felt compelled to write about a topic none like to talk about: what it is. He held nothing back.
Have you read Jude recently? It’s short so go ahead and read it real quick. Read Jude
Now what is it? This letter is completely about the recognition of the difference between a Holy God who holds eternal life for the believer, and sin which deserves eternal judgment and punishment. This letter sort freaks me out! I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing the message of grace, which is great! However, although grace trumps sin through the cross, sin must be shown for what it is: everything opposite of The Holy God.
I’ve grown tolerant. Instead of hating the garment stained by sin, I hang around. I don’t flee what tempts me as if it will bring ultimate death, but test the limits to see how far I can go without falling completely on my face. It’s as if a little trip isn’t as big of a deal as falling 20+ feet. But the smallest sin is just as unholy as the worst thing we can possibly imagine. If I’ve fallen from a slip of my foot, I’ve still hit the ground. A small sin still has the word “sin” in it. It’s no less than the big sin. It’s still what deserves the wrath of God. And yes, it brings God’s wrath..
We’ve traded grace for licentiousness! I had to look that up. It’s disgusting! Basically Jude is saying that the worst possible thing, the worst sin we could imagine being done against us, is exactly what we’ve done with grace. We’ve traded something good for something so hideous that even when we find out what the word means we’re grossed out. Let me explain.
When you hear a message about “coming to Jesus,” what do they say? How is sin handled in the church today? Does anyone confront it anymore for what it truly is or try and bring acceptance?
This is the truth: There is no acceptance of sin. The authority of the Bible hasn’t changed. What God says about things still goes. If we don’t think it does, we’re wrong. Those who think they’re right will be proved wrong in the end. Worry, homosexuality, pre-marital sex, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, malice, envy, lying, white lying, deceitfulness, hatred, getting even, losing your temper, adultery, pornography…it’s all the same thing: sin. It’s complete opposite of everything that God is.
Maybe the audience that Jude was addressing was going through a tolerance spell as well. Maybe the church heard that they were being to strict when it came to sin. Maybe they heard that toying with the devil was an okay thing to do. What Jude was pointing out is that they were playing with fire, and not just any fire, but fire from hell.
We do too. We don’t run away from it. We don’t even confront it because we want to make sure people feel accepted. And after all, we assume it’s just the way we are. What we don’t realize is that we’re directing people down a broad path to hell instead of a narrow path that’s more difficult because it’s contrary to our selfish and natural inclinations. We think, shouldn’t following Christ be easier? Why am I being persecuted? Why can’t I have “fun”?
Fun??? Persecution??? Have we forgotten everything that our Lord told us about following Him? Aren’t we supposed to take up our cross and follow? Do we think we’re more important than Christ that we shouldn’t expect the same treatment from the world that hates Him?
I’m going to talk to myself for a little bit…You! Hate sin! Hate the garments stained by the flesh! Get rid of it! Why play with the devil? Why play with punishment, toying with fire that doesn’t get quenched? Preach truth because it’s the only thing that sets you free! Don’t you realize that every act of sin is another step in disbelieving the very Word of God? Every sin damages your faith in Christ? Believe! Stop doubting. And save them too. Show mercy. Be compassionate. Snatch others from the fire of hell. Christ is able to keep you from stumbling. Call on His Name!!! Praise The Lord rather than yourself when you’re confronted with opportunity to sin. Choose righteousness.
That was mean. But was it? That is what it is. Sin is fire. Sin is hell. Oh, God! Save me! Give me strength as I call on You, my Deliverer!