To be honest, I am getting tired of listening to so-called believers making cheap excuses for their sin. They seem more intent on justifying their selfish and sinful lifestyle than in walking with Jesus in the only way he told us to: by picking up the cross, denying ourselves, and following him.
Just about every lousy sin in the book has been excused by one Christian or another, by one church or another. It is time for this to stop. I am more convinced than ever that there will be plenty of surprises come judgment day. Plenty of folk who were certain they were making it into heaven’s gate will find a rude awakening and a quite nasty surprise when they meet their maker and judge.
And I believe there will be many who did not think they would make it in who will be pleasantly surprised. Jesus was quite clear about this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
I cannot agree more with A.W. Tozer on this: “This is the day of excusing sin instead of purging sin. An entire school of thought has developed justifying sin within the church and trying to prove that sin is perfectly normal, and therefore acceptable.”
Let me give you a recent example of this. I had a guy come to my site with a comment saying he is a “pot-smoking Christian”. He went on and on trying to justify his lifestyle, and he asked me what was wrong with all this. I prayed and thought for a while, then felt led to respond as follows:
“Let me cut to the quick, because I am not interested in playing any games here. I am sick to death of carnality in the churches, and you are not alone in this regard my friend.
“The issue here is this: it is not about your stupid marijuana. You can substitute anything else here for that, and we still have the same core problem. The way I read it is this: right now Jesus Christ is not Lord of your life – you are. You are so interested in defending your selfish lifestyle choices that you have effectively put marijuana as your god right now.
“You are more intent on justifying a selfish lifestyle of getting high than giving Jesus Christ 100 per cent of your life. Until you do my friend, stop kidding yourself. Jesus is either Lord of all or he is not Lord at all.
“And don’t tell me what other ‘Christians’ are doing. I don’t care if they too are living a life of sin and seeking to justify a me-centred life. You have only one person you are responsible for, and that is yourself. So stop looking to others, stop making cheap excuses, and start repenting of your selfishness and sin.
“Jesus did not come and die a horrible death on the cross so you can justify getting high all the time. He did not live a life of suffering, rejection and opposition so that people could go around flaunting cheap grace, thinking they are believers when they are still living lives straight out of the pit of hell.
“Jesus is worth all, since he gave us all. So forget this selfish nonsense about your right to get high, and get on your knees and get right with God. That is what you need right now.
“You asked for my advice, and I gave it. And this applies to everyone else who is pretending to be a Christian, when instead all we have is self still on the throne, with Jesus so very far away on the sidelines.”
One of the most common forms of excusing, justifying and promoting sin in the churches today concerns the issue of homosexuality. Deception abounds here, as so-called believers seek to tell us that this sin is just fine, that God makes us this way, and that we can fully bless it in our churches.
This is abhorrent. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to someone who has been there and done that. Michael Glatze was a leading homosexual activist in the US who had a life-changing encounter with the risen Christ. He is now shocked at how some Christians want to wed a holy God to a sin-soaked lifestyle.
Parts of his story are worth recounting here: “I was once a gay activist, and the editor of a national gay magazine. I lived a life with a same-sex partner, with a dog, a house, and many friends. Then, I got saved, and realized that I couldn’t be gay and Christian – because, that would be living a lie. Soon, I found help to heal from homosexuality, and found myself living a new life, as a heterosexual man – complete with memories and a certain perspective of what it’s like to be under the grips of a life lived in the excuse of a sin.
“Jesus provides a way out of all temptations that are common to man. Homosexuality is one of those temptations that some people face. There will always be the temptation to dive in, completely, becoming identified with a sinful behavior; in fact, this temptation has become a political movement – supported by many politicians and courts in our land, as well as other countries in this world. But Christians aren’t to be afraid of the pressure of an increasingly prevalent world system; we are not to be yoked together and conformed to the ways of this world.”
He says that “it is frustrating when Christians lose their principles and compromise on the brilliant truth and the power of the gospel to save people from all sins. It is frustrating when Christians take the side of the enemy, against fellow believers. And it is frustrating when Christians re-crucify Christ, through their obsession with never-ending transgression. But, all these things – and, so much more – needn’t make us afraid; they should make us more ready to love.”
He acknowledges how tempting compromise is these days: “For Christians, today, this is a period of testing. As the devil increases in strength, forcing apostasy within the Church, taking over our Christian country – unless we stand strong – the only way to success in Christ is to let Him love others through us. This means we do not re-write the Word of God. We do not re-write the Holy Scriptures. We do not say, as some so-called Christians have said in recent times, that somehow the apostle Paul just ‘didn’t understand’ modern times. We trust Jesus, not our own understanding. We give up any notion we have of our own understanding, humble ourselves to the power of the gospel to save, and love through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the Holy Spirit within us; we do not want to grieve Him.
“For me, it is remarkably frustrating to see some people within the so-called ‘Christian’ sphere compromising the Word of God on the issue of homosexuality. It terrifies me to think of what might happen to these people’s souls. I know that homosexuality is a powerful force in today’s world – but don’t forget that it was a powerful force in ancient times as well. Remember in the book of Judges, how homosexuality pops up at the end of a long, progressive apostasy? Remember how homosexuality is described as one of the lusts that enflames people, after they have turned away from God, causing in them the results of their transgression? Have we gotten so far from God that we are willing to attempt a revision of reality, simply because we’re too afraid to see how bad things have gotten?”
He concludes as follows: “Christians, we don’t walk the easy, wide road; we walk the more difficult, narrow road. But, when we have the grace to do so, we know that we are doing the right thing, because Jesus is leading the way. And what a blessing it is to stop resisting Him, to stop making excuses for Him, to stop justifying ourselves in the light of His more superior truth, and give in to Him – and let Him lead and let His love flow through us.
“It is in this love that we must continue to shine as lights in this world, helping people heal from their infirmities and helping people heal from homosexuality.”
Whether the issue is homosexuality, illicit drugs, or whatever, it is high time that believers stopped making excuses for sin, and stopped pretending they are followers of Jesus when in fact they are slavishly following the world, the flesh and the devil.
I can do no better than to allow Leonard Ravenhill the last word here: “All we have is a sinning-repenting cycle. That is not what Jesus died for! We need to shout from the housetops and tell people everywhere today—in the church and out of it— that Christianity is N.O.T., NOT a sinning religion.”