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FIRST WAY TO BE HOLY: STOP DOING EVIL

FIRST WAY TO BE HOLY: STOP DOING EVIL

By: Carol McClain

The early chapters of Isaiah have me seeing our precious church and the miracle of grace portrayed poorly.

Isaiah 1:16b-17 reads:

  1. Cease to do evil.
  2. Learn to do good.
  3. Seek justice.
  4. Rebuke the oppressor
  5. Defend the fatherless
  6. Plead for the widow.

Sometimes our society has a good reason to malign Christians. Isaiah 1:15-16 commands us:  15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you multiply your prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.”

Sadly, the church can take our grace–the fact that our deeds (thank you, Lord)–don’t earn us salvation, and turns it into a license to do whatever pleases us. If I cheat others, God will forgive me. If I live with my boyfriend, everyone else lives with theirs–I AM monogamous, after all. How about if I judge? Spew hate? Live lies? We know we’re forgiven. But …

Paul says, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1). Listen to his answer: By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

The easiest way to see this, and the way the bulk of America sees the church, is through its big-name leaders.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. had been asked to resign as president of Liberty University because of sexual misconduct. Enough said. More recently, the Southern Baptist Convention faced allegations of sexual abuse by some of its pastors.

We couple Falwell’s sin with those who’ve fallen before him: Brian Houston of Hillsong Church and Jimmy Swaggart also fell to sexual sin.

Aside from sin, we have self-aggrandizing ministers like Benny Hinn and most recently, Kenneth Copeland claimed he had to have private jets because he couldn’t stand flying with demons.

These people are diametrically opposed to Jesus’s examples.

THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES.

Let me rephrase that:

THESE PEOPLE REPRESENT THE EXTREMES OF WHAT WE, OURSELVES, DO:

  1. Falwell, et al, indulged in sexual sins. How many ordinary Christians live with their finances or view porn? How many watch explicit movies (marginally not porn)? How many lust after women or men?
  2. Hinn and Copeland are greedy. How many of us do not tithe (or even give an offering) because we need the money ourselves? How many envy luxurious beach homes and are not grateful for our own? Who cheats on taxes or doesn’t return an item the cashier forgot to scan and you got for free?
  3. Copeland, specifically, despised others less fortunate. Do we turn our backs on the migrant or addict? Do we judge the homeless or welfare recipient as being slothful and getting what he/she deserves?

Romans 2:1 says: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

As Falwell falls, so do we.

If we, as a people, refuse to do evil, our social profile will improve. Joshua says if God’s people humble themselves, the land would heal. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

It’s time to start.

Improve the perception of Christians: Refuse to do evil.

1 Comment

  1. “Everybody does it!” “If so and so can does it, it’s okay!” How often do we hear those statements as the moral standard today? Too often. Throughout these current years of self-proclaimed Christians conducting themselves in un-Christian behavior, I have often thought of my parents’ question and answer: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Yes, you are!” Great blog, Carol, and so timely!

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