Home > Simply Church > Simply Church: Making A Practice of Sin

Simply Church: Making A Practice of Sin

Sin is always a part of the gathering of believers. But sin doesn’t belong in the gathering of believers. Sin doesn’t make sense in the gathering of believers. Individuals in the gathering can not believe that it is okay to make a practice of sin while claiming Jesus as Lord. Living this way is an indication of not belonging to the the family.

When one who calls Jesus “Lord” continues in sin, that person has communicated that Jesus isn’t Lord. Their confession of His Lordship is nullified by their lives. Their confession of Jesus’ Lordship becomes just words, not an acknowledgement of what is true. John, who is very clear that everyone sins, talks about this continuing in sin quite a bit:

“Whoever says, ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him…” (1 Jn 2:4)

“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 Jn 3:6)

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 Jn 3:8)

Those who claim Jesus as brother and YHWH as Father, yet live life in a continuing practice of sin are not a part of God’s family. And we are to treat them as if they are out of the family,* because they are claiming to represent our Father while living like they represent the devil. They are continuing to work against the family by doing the exact opposite of what the family is supposed to do, accurately make known what our God looks like.

In some of Paul’s letters to different manifestations of the body of Jesus, he discusses what to do with those who are living in this way. Paul is most clear about this concept in 1 Corinthians:

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of the brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, revile, drunkard, or swindler– not even to eat with such a one.”

We are to reject those as family who claim to be family and live without love for the Father or our older brother who made the relationship with the Father possible. We are to be clear in our words and actions toward them that they are not family. Frequently in his letters, Paul mentions names of people who have been put out of the family because they claim to be a part of the family and are constantly working to destroy the family. Like most people from my culture, this idea makes me uncomfortable.

Why? Why can’t someone continue in sin and still be a part of the family? Why would our family throw someone on the streets? What kind of love is that? Isn’t grace enough?

It is not that the grace from the Father and brothers and sisters in the family isn’t enough, it’s that by stubbornly continuing in sin grace has been rejected. They reject grace while thinking that they have accepted it because they misunderstand what grace means for their lives. The purpose of the grace includes forgiveness, but it isn’t a free pass to sin without ceasing, it’s a free pass to cease from sin. Letting this misunderstanding of grace continue not only severely damages the family, but it is a death sentence to the one who continues in their misunderstanding. It would be unloving to allow them to continue in their sin and continue claiming YHWH as their Father.

With that, I also need to be clear that I believe there is a distinction between someone who is stuck in sin and someone who is continuing in sin. I know a lot of people stuck in sin. At various points in my life I have been stuck in sin. I have some things to say for people stuck in sin. Someone who continues in sin is not contrite about what they’ve done, not are they intending on turning toward Jesus and away from sin in their lives. Someone who is stuck in sin is contrite, turns toward God and away from their sin, and needs to figure out how to stop turning away from Jesus and back to their sin. These people need compassion, encouragement, forgiveness, mercy, teaching, prayer, and strong admonition, but they are siblings – as long as their repentance is sincere.
*I say all this with a lot of heavy sighing.

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Categories: Simply Church Tags: , , ,
  1. January 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Difficult issue to face when it becomes reality in one’s own community.

    “It is not that the grace from the Father and brothers and sisters in the family isn’t enough, it’s that by stubbornly continuing in sin grace has been rejected.”

    As you highlight, our understanding of grace is essential. Jesus calls us into new life, better life, full life, so to reject His call to deal forthrightly with sin is to pridefully belittle God as creator, father and king. Jesus invites us to humbly admit our failures, seek wisdom and direction in community, and experience restoration through his Spirit in us. Because of the Gospel, Jesus has imparted power and authority for us to deal with sin and move forward, reconciled to God and others. Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.

  2. January 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    yeah I read that shit 😉

  3. January 13, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Definitely a difficult one John. Awkward and confusing too.

    Jared -This really isn’t a good post to just jump into. Of all the posts I’ve discussed and recommended over time, this is the one you choose. Unbelievable. Also, watch that dirty mouth of yours on my blog you son of a bitch. Love you.

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