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III. Five Ways Sin and Oppression Relate

Dealing with the real sin is of utmost priority. An evil in this whole situation involving people who are oppressed and their oppressors is that we do not rightly call people out of their sin. Not only do we fail the oppressed by accusing them of sin where they have no sin, but we fail to rightly call them out of their real sins. This is a great failure to care for them. The problem here is that we are not free to imagine where their sin is, we need to rightly deal with their actual sin. This means that we are not free to tell them they have sin in a relationship that they haven’t committed, and yet this also means we shouldn’t go off the deep end by indulging their self-pity. 

 

There is a hard word for many people who are oppressed, and it is the matter of responsibility that they do bear. The trouble is that the responsibility that they do bear is often the reverse of what they are told it is! Their responsibility is to rightly walk away from evil, yet they are more often than not counselled further into the relationship, rather than out of it. This is done by the wrong responsibility and accusation being placed upon them. They will focus their efforts on trying to do more to mend relationships rather than follow God’s commands in Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, and Titus 3:10-11 and obediently separate from them. They will be confused by others and their own ideas about love and mercy, and be made to feel it is their duty to continue to beat their heads against a person’s sin, when God has called them to peace (1 Cor 7:15). 


The matter becomes confusing because there are three areas of sin to be understood: 1) They are also sinning against the person they’re in conflict with. 2) They have sinned in response to the person they’re in conflict with. 3) They have or do not have sin which is causing them to be entangled with such a person (this is very different from them having sins committed against this person). 4) They have sins in life in general that have nothing to do with this person. 5) There is sin in their life elsewhere, and God is using these circumstances to bring this sin to light.

#1 Sin of both parties wronging each other.

The issue here is evident. A person who is abusive and another person who is being sinful and/or abusive as well. These relationships absolutely exist. But in the case of abuse these are not nearly as common as the rest of these types that we will talk about below. Abuse is generally one sided. Within abuse no person will be found completely “faultless”, but that does not make their sins equal or even relatively comparable to those of an abuser, and it is that we will talk about next.

#2 Sin in response to oppression.

We have talked at length about this: the responsibility for the conflict may lie with both parties or just one, but many times it is the latter. An abuser does not need a reason to abuse. Man is so evil that he does evil without cause or provocation. We work great evil if we oppose this truth. In the same breath, the person who is oppressed may have committed some sins against this person, but still this is not the issue! They may have lost their temper, said hateful things, etc. Simply because a person is not perfect in their response to abuse by no means means they are equally at fault in the conflict. It is wicked to compare the two as the same, and indeed, many abusers use this as a means of keeping people trapped in abuse!


The issue here is that many people can end up being directed into looking for a certain “perfection” to exist in themselves in order to feel that they are rightly justified in either walking away from abuse or in holding oppressors accountable. And this is absolutely the work of the devil, because, of course, none of us are perfect. Yet this is exactly the same “voice” that so many leaders will begin to take up. In the face of a person who does intentional violence to another, this voice will come in and try to hold the person who is oppressed to equal accountability, and it does this by taking this person's sins and distorting them. Certainly this person has lost their patience, been angry, had hateful thoughts of this person, but the issue here is that these are also reactions to oppression, and they are far different from the sins of an oppressor who is continually, intentionally, instigating harm upon others.

#3 Personal sin that entangles one with an oppressor.

It is often the hardest to discern correctly within this second potential area for sin:the case of a person whose own sins, “outside” of the relationship, entangles them within it.

 

Learning to recognize the different ways this can show up is of great importance, because it is in this area that things are most commonly handled with ignorance and injustice. We will explore how to rightly handle this area of sin in regards to justice for the oppressed, but first we should gain a clear picture of the kinds of scenarios to which this section pertains.

Seeking out danger.

This is a person who wants the outcome of their life to be peace, but they do not obey the command to “seek peace and pursue it.” (Ps 34:14) This means they are all too ready for a fight, and this comes out in that relationship with the person sinning against them and entangles them. 

 

Many of us are too quick to look for a fight. We profess to be doing the work of ministry or love, but in reality we love to quarrel and we are quite conceited in what we think we know. There may be a part of us that wants to minister, but the rest of us is really just looking to our pride and to make a name for ourselves. I was just watching a video of a man who claimed to want to minister at a BLM protest. He was not rude or mean, yet it was clear that he was looking to put himself in the middle of all of this not for Christ or even these people, but to make a name for himself. And this desire was bringing him very close to harm’s way. 

 

He was not wise, and his selfishness caused the message he brought to lack real love (1 Cor 13:1). But he was also completely blind to where wisdom in this circumstance even belonged because he was not motivated by the right reasons. The crowd was close to violence and clearly just waiting for a reason to strike. Their sin was absolutely great: they were still rejecting Christ and all too eager for violence. Yet he was not without sin in this circumstance. Many people are too eager to be “martyrs” or “persecuted” and this does not come from a right heart. We are very wrong to seek out danger, and very foolish to do so. Many many people today need to check their hearts on this point: are they truly walking into danger for the Gospel or for their own names? Are they obeying Christ to flee from certain dangers when it is correct to do so (Acts 9:5, 14:6), or are they remaining, imagining it is bravery? Often the willfulness to remain is not an indication of faith but of self-conceit. Right humility knows when to stand firm and when to flee. Many people are acting out their little “heroisms” and if they truly looked at Scripture they’d see how they are actually in contradiction to it. Today the wisdom to flee is treated as a lack of faith, and this is the sinful presumption that causes many people to become entangled with sinners.

Unwilling to serve God.

Similar to what is listed earlier  about being wayward, people with this sin are not content to be simple Christians. We are called to a life that is devoted to Christ; on the one hand we live rather modestly, and yet on the other we are to live with great depth and devotion. It is denial of either of these things for which we are often rebuked. 

 

Many people live for the “depths” of Christianity, yet are not content to be simple; to obey and believe and live quiet lives (1 Thess 4:11). Others live “quietly” but without real effort in the things of God. They are content to dwell ignorantly and naively and call this “faith”. 

 

We often deny the measure to which God calls us in all things. We may take up a certain duty, but we do not follow it to the full measure God has commanded. In this we show our unwillingness to be truly obedient to God. 

 

Often God has to rebuke us for both! Some people live both in running after the “fastness” of the world, and also being content in their foolishness and making no real effort to seek after God. 

 

We are to be moderate and dutiful, peaceable and sincere, the lamb and the lion. Many of us make a lie of our real intentions by pretending to be going after one of these. We claim to be going after “humility” when really we are only trying to cover up our laziness, or we claim to be “following Christ” when we are seeking nothing more than selfish ambition. 


It is not that God has to awaken us to seek or know Him, He has done this, but that He firmly rebukes us for not seeking Him rightly, and for not seeking Him where we are commanded to. Our refusal to acknowledge him in these areas leaves Him to allow calamity into our lives that we might finally be shaken enough from ourselves to turn towards Him.

Glad to be distracted.

Another kind of sin is found in Proverbs 7:11, “She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home.” Many are not content to be only concerned with the things that truly pertain to Christ. This person does not stay “home” with Christ, but is wayward and easily distracted. In Nehemiah 6, Nehemiah was not pulled from his work on the wall because he was truly committed to it. We must recognize that part of what is essential about keeping us safe is in being fully committed to Christ and Him alone. 

 

Many of us who are not truly dedicated to the things of Christ are easily distracted by something else. Believers who have this sin of waywardness and discontent in their hearts are quick to be pulled out of safety by oppressive people who profess to offer these believers what they are actually interested in. They will “come down from building the wall” because they are not prepared to stay only within the bounds that God sets for us. They do not keep their desires, curiosities, and duties in check. They are enticed by something that is contrary to Christ. 

 

We have to ensure that we are truly dedicating ourselves to the things that are only of Christ. Many of us have been led astray into churches that are entirely wrong and abusive, but often it was our desire for a wrong spirituality, a desire to redesign God’s commandments, or a secret heart that is not content to simply obey God, that leads us into such places. We are not content to follow Christianity purely and simply as it is. We want to add to it. We add mystical elements that don’t belong, we oversimplify great truths, we undermine clear Scriptures, we do not obey, we deny the law, we waste endless time in philosophies, idealisms, and other practices of the world.

#4 No relevant sin to examine except the oppressor’s.

The fourth area of sin is the one many expect to always find: the person who is greatly oppressed and has done no wrong and has done nothing to be entangled with these oppressors. We picture a little widow in her house and some cruel, ratty looking landlord saying he’s going to throw her out on the street if she doesn’t pay him double rent. Or we see some child in slave labor. These things are very real but you’ll miss a very important point as well if you fail to understand that these people, too, are sinners. In these specific circumstances they are entirely, 100% without sin (yes, that’s possible), but still that does not mean their lives are sinless. This is important to understand because as we seek to give aid to the poor, the oppressed, we must not forget that we must also bring them the Gospel, which says, “Repent and believe…”

Taking responsibility for other people’s salvation/sin.

Another issue here is not seeing when a person is rejecting Christ and truth. The problem here is another pride. It is the idea of taking responsibility for other people, and again, this is because people are trying to play out their ideas of heroism. Not to be confused with those who find themselves in abusive situations and are continually told by others they must take the responsibilities that do not belong to them. Many poor wives who have suffered under abusive husbands have had this thinking forced upon them. But in the midst of both of these things we have to see the most simple truth: that a person is responsible for their own actions. 

 

The complication here is that people have sinfully moved away from the truth of man’s responsibility for their own sins, and have moved towards a false pity or sympathy for people in their sins. This thinking comes.. where? From the world. Again, it is a part of this wrong and twisted idea of mercy, one which permits a sinner in their sin rather than rebukes and demands their repentance. 

 

It is because of this twisted thinking that we have lost a most basic and yet extremely important truth: that each person is responsible for their own behavior. Indeed, yet again people adopt this form of “mercy” because they are living from a self-based approach to sin. They want to be pitied and excused in their own sins and so they feel that they must do the same for others. Indeed, we do not judge hardly any sin except those that are so far from us because we only think about ourselves. Judging the sins close to us calls us to account, therefore many people cease to judge at all, rather than judge themselves as well! And yet this self-based view has become what’s even taught from the pulpit! “Put yourself in another person’s shoes” as if the basis of our morality should be ourselves rather than truth. If we continue to judge from the self, the fallen evil self, then our morals and our mercy—even these things!—will become wicked and corrupt. Rather, we must judge everyone’s sins: ours and our neighbor’s. 

 

From this and only this will we see and walk according to the truth that we are all individually responsible for our own lives, actions, thoughts, affections, desires, and choices. Only when we can clearly define this truth will we be able to restore the pillars of justice. Because if we continue to pity where we should not pity (Deut 7:16,13:8, 19:13) then we will not hold ourselves or others accountable as we should. While the church at large makes great efforts for mercy, she has a great need of realizing just how evil it is to pity where God says to judge.

Unwilling to submit to God.

Another sin that entangles believers with oppressors can be their own unwillingness to submit to God. They are willful in what they want and this willfulness gets them stuck trying to run up a vertical wall. In the case of a relationship with an ungodly person, they are quick to keep trying to fix the issue rather than lay down their efforts and walk away. The issue here is always that of choosing self-will, and our own ideas, rather than purely obeying God. 

 

There is a loud message in our culture that says the way of hope is through willfulness. This is what’s praised and this is what is often our belief. In reality, trying to force our will is sin. It is most often rebellion against the providence of God and not a submission to it. 

 

Often what is needed is acceptance of what is, and within this, right actions to respond to such things. This will confuse us if we think that we must accept the sins in others or that we must accept harmful relationships. This is a corruption and cruelty, and a misapplication of what God intends for us to understand of His providence. Rather, it means making the hard choices within the acceptance of what is true. So, for example, rather than continuing to try to force certain relationships to be what we want them to be, we accept the truth of what they actually are, and respond biblically to them. We follow commands to deal with the sins we are facing in others; we do not accept the sin, we accept the truth about the sin, thereby dealing with them correctly. In this we will see that often we must reject the person from our lives, not “accept” them as if this was the intent of God’s providence. 

 

We must understand a duality within Christianity; that God is sovereign over all, things do come to us by His providence and yet we are also commanded to make right choices within this providence. Confusing either of these can be sinful and harmful. To deny God’s providence leads us to live willfully in rebellion against Him, but to deny our right and accountability to our choices within God’s providence can enslave us to feeling we must accept evil things as if they are “God’s providence”. 


Part of God’s hand in fiercely denying us whatever we are after (even if we think it is biblical!) is to show us that our desires and pursuits are not right, and to show us our own sins. This is one of the clearest indications to us to not push harder and be more willful, but to cease and seek what God is saying in the midst of all of it.  

Advocating against God.

People in this sin believe they are a hero for advocating for people God hates. This, at least in part, is what many commentators believe 1 John 5:16-17 to be about—us imagining that we are more merciful than God. We reject God’s judgements, wrath, and call to separate and we think we’re heroes for it. Worse, we defend those who are in grievous sins. 


We’ve talked about this at length already so I will not repeat this at length, but our wrong ideas of mercy is a bedrock to injustice. And often it is in our views of what it means to support others or to be in “unity” that we are actually opposing God’s judgement of such people and His commandments on how to deal with them. A great example of this is 2 John 10-11, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” The issue here is that many people imagine they are kind or merciful for “receiving” such people, when in reality they are joining with them in their sin. Confusing Christian love with this is what the entire book of 2 John is about. Yet many Christians still presumptuously walk in such ideas of “love”.

Addicted to self-pity.

Many people do not have the sense to spare themselves any troubles because they are hungry for the corrupt self-pity they get by having troubles. Often these ppl are playing games with very dangerous things, and it isn’t until they’re deeply harmed or trapped that they recognize just how dangerous these things are! 

 

This sin is mixed with the pride of trying to appear as someone, a hero or guru, but it is also the desire to be at the center of other people’s sympathy. It does not accept suffering for righteousness and Christ alone, but embraces suffering that is done for the self. It is a foolishness that is full of pride and is also ignorant of just how wicked man is! For on the one hand, there are real dangers in this world we need to be wise about (John 2:24-25), and on the other, we do not realize that the only pity we get here is a perverse pity. It is not one that will be in line with the will of God (Matt 16:23). This pity will either come because of a person’s ignorance, they will pity you not realizing you are only using this for pride and self and not for right pity, or they will pity you as one who offers you worldly sympathy: “look how hard GOD is on you!” 

 

There is great sin in seeking conflict in order to promote your pride and self pity. And many men and women are guilty of this.

Caring too much about what others think.

This is a sin that oppressors prey upon: they will slander these people to great lengths and these people get stuck trying to repair their reputation (Neh 6:6).

Wanting a peace that is not biblical.

God tells us that true community and unity is only found with those who live according to His will (Psalm 119:63), and yet these people continue to try to train wolves to be sheep rather than seeing their sin for what it is and responding biblically to it. They too have a wrong idea about mercy, and it keeps them trapped. Similar to Proverbs 7:11 above, they are not rightly occupied with the things of God but do whatever they please, and they fail to realize that such neglect of the ways of God has greater consequences than they imagined.

Too high-minded about themselves.

These people think they are ambassadors for “compassion” and this idea can get them very stuck with oppressive people. They are a slave to what builds their pride, so they will remain in relationships because they are trying to keep whatever idea they believe of themselves. To leave would mean to fail this identity that is so precious to them. Pride in some area is one of the greatest reasons people get entangled.

A Note About Addressing These Sins:

Now, having established what we mean when we discuss sins that are separate from the oppressor but entangle people further with their oppressors, we must proceed carefully. It is absolute cruelty to go about this in a way that blames these people for the abuse happening to them. They do not cause the abuse done to them and to suggest so, even subtly, is great wickedness. Many times these connections have been viewed as a means of blaming victims for their own abuse. What violence! To speak such to these people is indeed to do further abuse to them. “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Prov 12:18) Or “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.” (Prov 25:18) To accuse people of things they have not done, is to bear false witness against them. How wicked for a person to do this to someone who bares their troubles to them in confidence. This isn’t a matter of avoiding being “too harsh” with the truth, this is a matter of not speaking lies. So many people are far too comfortable with doing such great violence against those who are in the throes of utter desperation. These are ones who need help, but need the right help!

 

On the other side of this is a truth that can seemingly contradict what I just said, and that is the truth that often God can allow people to suffer wrong because they have done wrong elsewhere in their life. “...Suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing…” (2 Pet 2:13) We must be most careful with this truth, yet we must apply it correctly. This is what can often exist: A person is suffering some form of oppression from others, and God is using this as a means to rebuke this person for their own sins. But we must divide rightly here: this doesn’t mean that this person deserves to be treated wrongly by others. There is never permission for evil. It does however mean that God has the right to judge and rebuke this person, and though He makes use of an evil person for this means, that does not make God evil for His judgement nor does it make the evil person without sin for their own conduct. Simply because God uses the evil of others for good does not mean that the person themself did not intend their purposes for evil (Gen 50:20). We should be very careful to hold both truths correctly. We should not accuse God of evil for His right judgement of us in our sins, and we should not acquit those who have done evil purely because God in His goodness commandeered their actions for good.

 

These things are separate, and once they are separated, THEN this person can be called to rightly work on these things.

 

These issues must not be worked on as a part of this particular relationship, but separate from it. If a person is losing their patience or saying hateful things, they need to see that they are to have self-control and to not be overcome by the evil in others. But in order to do this, they need to be able to see that they are allowed to have self-control. Often the matter of self-control that is most denied to these people is the right permission to get away from them! Instead, they are controlled BY the oppressor, and When these relationships are rightly dealt with, then these people can be called to right accountability outside of them.

 

The issue here of this person's sin is actually not in regards to their oppressor: they're not abusing their oppressor! Their true responsibility is to the truth and is in ensuring that they do not remain in abuse. Their sin might be actually staying, not leaving! Their accountability then too is leaving and not staying.

 

Once they've obeyed this then they can see where they are to obey Christ further. Where they must not allow these people to provoke them to impatience or wrath.

 

But in order to be able to actually do these things, then they must be allowed to actually use the means to do it! It's quite wicked and bitter to tell a person they're responsible to build a house when you bind their feet and tie their hands behind their back. And it's absolutely cruel to expect people to walk in patience and a right heart when you forbid them from the methods necessary to do so.


And so within all of this, the person may have much sin to confront and deal with, but this does not justify the abuse that has been done to them. On one hand they still have every need of justice, and on the other, we should not fail them by being so “compassionate” that we fail to call out their other sins and responsibilities in which they oppose God and are proud against others, for this is often the sin that God is after in their suffering. When speaking with one who is suffering oppression we should take extra care to address both aspects as separate things and not mix them together and thereby eliminate the value and gospel power of both. This is a duality that God is often working within suffering and we have great need of operating correctly to both ends of it. We must not allow our call for repentance to overrule our right compassion to seek justice for them, and we must not allow our compassion to overrule us rightly calling them to repentance for certain sins.

#5 God’s hand using oppressive circumstances to reveal sin.

The fourth area of sin is the one many expect to always find: the person who is greatly oppressed and has done no wrong and has done nothing to be entangled with these oppressors. We picture a little widow in her house and some cruel, ratty looking landlord saying he’s going to throw her out on the street if she doesn’t pay him double rent. Or we see some child in slave labor. These things are very real but you’ll miss a very important point as well if you fail to understand that these people, too, are sinners. In these specific circumstances they are entirely, 100% without sin (yes, that’s possible), but still that does not mean their lives are sinless. This is important to understand because as we seek to give aid to the poor, the oppressed, we must not forget that we must also bring them the Gospel, which says, “Repent and believe…”

Covetous for glory.

In this example, we may be wanting to be more than a simple Christian—wanting to be a superhero. In this we certainly pursue trying to be more than others (not for right reasons). In our desire for this we twist the things of God into being things for ourselves and spend our efforts pursuing “heights” rather than the low and simple valleys of humility, obedience, repentance, and faith to which Christ calls us.

 

And the danger of this is that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov 16:18) And, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) What many of us do not want to ever acknowledge is when God’s judgement of us is just. 

 

Many of us (not all!) are often disciplined by God because of our pride. And often He will allow sinful people to come into our lives so He can show us our sin. This is a very hard truth, and must be held rightly with this other truth: these people do not have the right to do evil to us. Yet God has the right to rightly judge us for our sins. Our pride sins against God and it sins against our neighbor. This is no small thing. 

 

It is also a danger to us of being entrapped with abusers because when we love “high” things we especially love flattery. While abusers absolutely only care for their own pride, one of the ways they fool people is because of our own desires to be “great”. Many of us think we’re innocent for having been deceived here, but it was because of our desire to be more than others and to not serve God as He commands that we were flattered and seduced.


God rebukes us for our pride, for it is very evil. It is contempt against our fellow man and it is great evil against a Holy God. So many of our “pursuits of God” are secretly nothing more than contempt against our fellow Christian and our seeking to “be like God” (Gen 3:5). Rather than seeking to have Christ as the Savior we want to be. And God exposes us for this.

Chasing heresy.

Many people begin right with things of God, but they become wayward. In this is the very real danger of heresy. Because our feet do not stay home, we run after things that we imagine are right but their end is death (Prov 14:12). These are most notably false doctrines that profess to be “Christian” but they serve the pride, self, and greed in man. Rather than putting the self to death, and living no longer for ourselves but for Christ (2 Cor 5:15), we only seek God for whatever power, glory, pride, greed, and selfish ambition we seek to enjoy. There are many false doctrines out there: the prosperity gospel, word of faith movement, progressive Christianity, etc. And it often takes intense suffering in our lives in order to cause us to realize these things for what they are and repent of them.

Refusing to accept our own sinfulness.

Many of us refuse to acknowledge our own sin and thereby make God a liar (1 John 1:10). Our self-righteousness is something we all cling to, but we can cling to it in different ways. We easily hide where we are proud by having contempt upon how others are proud. All of these examples may be rooted in this one sin. And often God bends us to breaking so that we would see our own sinfulness and repent of it. This is a great mercy of God.

Unrepentant of all sins.

Often one of the most difficult places for God to get at is the place in which we continue to permit sin. This is because we are often walking in repentance regarding many other sins, yet we are not repenting of all sins. We continue to spare the ones that are most precious to us. Often it takes deep suffering for us to be willing to truly obey God, to lay down our own wills and and cut off even our most precious sins (Matt 5:30).

Selfishness.

Often the selfishness for which God judges us looks different than we expect. It’s the failure to have a heart that truly loves our neighbor. This means a love that is truly inclusive of others. Not in the sense of “inclusive” as the world defines it—accepting all people in their sinful state without rebuke and without worship of God alone. Rather, this inclusiveness is a regard for all people, that every one who is walking in Christ would find a place in the house of God. 

 

The problem here is that many people are so biased towards their own ways that they are completely blind to those around them who are different from them. An example of this is that when many people go through real suffering, abuse, divorce, etc, it is only then that their horrible assumptions and judgements of others are finally rebuked. This isn’t meant to demean their own suffering, for indeed, theirs also is real. But it is an issue of us continuing to permit a naivety in our lives, a lovelessness for others that are in true need, that God is often after. 

 

This is a lovelessness not of a “loud hate” but an internal “emptiness”. A kind that can look upon the suffering and needs of others with blindness and total indifference. Indeed, before we suffered, how much did we care about those who suffered? 

 

In part, I think this is what many people realize is wrong in much of the church. We see this in a way with the homosexuality issue. While Christians do realize on the one hand that we must not accept this sin (at least we should realize this), on the other hand, we must truly see how these people are not rightly cared for and helped in this confusion and difficulty. The same can be true for people who have suffered psychological or emotional abuse. These are people who also belong to Christ, and yet they’re neglected by the sheer failure on many Christians’ part to understand the real nature of what this abuse is, and to look intently within the Scriptures to rightly understand how to help them. We see this lovelessness again with those who are more prone to be the “liberal” type of person, and have had a loveless heart towards any of those who are conservative. Or conversely, those who are a conservative type and are loveless towards those who are more liberal. While we should always call people to be biblical and obedient, it is so often that we have contempt upon our fellow brothers and sisters because of our personal biases and preference. We are not considering the whole Body of Christ, only part, and until we suffer something that cuts us deeply, we refuse to acknowledge and repent for this.

Loving the world and the things of the world.

This is one sin that can encompass many of these listed before. It is the mentality of the world, and in this is much pride, self-righteousness, covetousness, and other sins. 

 

The love of the world is enmity with God and yet so many are bold to keep it. They imagine they are more loving than God by doing so. And they permit many sins in their hearts. They continue allowing a perverse pride to dwell in them, corrupt ambitions to be permitted, and foolishness to rule them. Failing to confess that these things are opposed to Christ, some go so far as to claim a different gospel that permits these things, rather than putting them to death. 

 

The love of the world is that which builds our pride, keeps us from true repentance, denies our submission to God, permits us some “right” to selfish ambition, and puts off obedience to God’s law. And when any of our “love” for others is based upon permitting others and ourselves (for that is generally what is motivating us to permit others this) these things, rather than calling them to repent of them, we are corrupt in said “love”.

 

The issue for many Christians is that as they come to Christ they are not obedient to put off the world. They continue to permit these sinful pursuits and do not conform their mind to Christ (Rom 12:2). They often fail to perceive what worldliness is and how it can hide within their hearts. Not seeing that all things within them must be tested to see if they are for this love of the world or if they are truly for the love of God. 

 

Everything from our morality to our love for people even to our obedience, all of these can come not from a place of true reverence to Christ, but can come from a love for the world. We fail to perceive how we run with all effort and full zeal and yet can still only be doing so in order to run after worldliness, a perverse gospel, and not Christ! We have to test all motives in our hearts, that they are truly putting Christ first, and man second. If Christ is not truly the head of our lives, ruled by pure obedience to Him, then our motivations are corrupt and so will our “obedience” be. 


This can be an extremely costly error. Many people build whole “kingdoms” of idealisms, and once rebuked, have much loss. It is the cost of repenting from such errors that keep so many people back from walking within the truth. Still, face these things. Repent to Christ, and trust Him. Don’t allow your pride or the pain of these losses to control you away from repentance and Truth. Whatever the loss is, pay it. And be true to Christ. (2 Chron 25:9)

Discernment About Our Own Sin

These areas can become even more confusing when we see that we can have a variety of all four. Often it’s not just one area but multiple. We may be innocent in these matters, and yet God is trying to awaken us to our sins; or we may be in sin that is entangling us and we have sins against these people in some measure. We have to truly submit to the Holy Spirit’s guidance to discern each way sin (or lack thereof) is within each of our lives.

 

All of these areas run together in this: that God works all of these things for our good (Rom 8:28). God is always disciplining His children for their good. To show them their sin, to bring them to a fuller repentance and a greater faith and obedience. In all our affliction we absolutely can and must keep this truth before us. God is sovereign over even these things, and He is using them for our good. Let us seek to know from Him what He is seeking to sanctify within us.


In all affliction there is great pain. Abuse especially can have great effects upon a person. We should not forget this. I fear many ministers are untouched with the feelings of our infirmities (Heb 4:15). We should not forget that regardless of any person's own sin, abuse is still abuse, and it has grievous and long-lasting effects.

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