I’ve heard various people in various circles say things like:
- “It’s the job of the Holy Spirit, not me, to confront people on sin.”
- “We preach grace, and therefore do not believe in addressing people’s sins.”
- “Jesus forgave all sins. Since our sins are under the blood, there’s no need to repent or even address believers as if they were sinners.”
Two problems with this kind of thinking:
- It’s incredibly unbiblical. Consider a few (of many) Scriptures showing this:
- Prov. 27:5-6
- Matt. 18:15-17
- 1 Cor. 5
- 2 Cor. 10:2, 10-11
- Gal. 2:13-14
- Gal. 6:1
- 2 Thes. 3:6-14
- 1 Tim. 1:18-20
- Titus 3:10-11
- James 5:19-20
- Jude 1:23
- Rev. 2:19-23
- It is incredibly unloving. For instance, what happens when a husband who behaves terribly toward his wife and kids is surrounded by believers who think this way? He is led to believe he is in the right on his actions, and it leaves his wife and kids abused without anyone stepping up to call the man out. Brothers and sisters, this cannot be!
The trick with the quotes given at the start is that all of them contain part truths.
Yes, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin, but we are mouthpieces of the Spirit, and so God frequently communicates by His Spirit through other people (read the book of Acts, starting with chap. 2 to see this in action).
Yes we should preach grace, but the grace of God teaches us to say “no to ungodliness” (Titus 2:12). The greatest act of grace was Jesus dying on the cross…in no way could one ever say that such an act of grace is passive toward sin–God forbid! It is God’s grace that takes an active stance against sin.
And, yes, Jesus’ death has purchased our forgiveness and brought us into a right standing with God (Col. 1:22, for instance). But, simultaneously, we are still called to “work out our salvation” (Phil. 2:12) and “be holy” (1 Pet. 1:15-16). In fact, 1 Cor. 10 gives a stern warning to all the Christians who claim that because they have believed and are baptized in Christ and have his Holy Spirit they can rest secure in their position and don’t have to worry about following the Lord in fear and trembling.
We all in the West (myself included) could probably use some of these more solemn N.T. teachings to remind us that our God’s attitude toward sin has not changed in the least. And the blood on His head and body testify to this.
Love in Him,