8/11/16 The Difference Between Sinning Believers & Unbelievers

“When I wrote to you previously, telling you to have nothing to do with any brother or sister in Jesus who practices sexual immorality, I did not mean to stay away from unbelievers who do the same.  I must make this distinction clear, so that you understand what I am telling you.  When you allow a brother or sister in our faith to remain among you after you discover that he or she is practicing sexual immorality, you are doing two very disastrous things.  First, you are condoning the action in the eyes of the world, and thereby telling the world that God has no power to take away the sinful desires of your hearts and change your lives.  If that is true, then what is the point of believing in Him?  Second, you are telling that brother or sister that it is alright for them to keep sinning, that it is not harmful to them at all, and that you will support them in whatever kind of life they desire to live.  This is cruel, because you are allowing them to sink deeper and deeper into a pit that, if they go deep enough into, they will never be able to climb out of.  You allow them to drift farther and farther away from God by not confronting them in their actions, and eventually they may turn away from Him completely and be lost forever to their sins.  But those who do not know Jesus are in a different category.  They don’t have the Holy Spirit within them to guide them in how they should live.  They don’t understand what sins do to their hearts and lives, separating them from the God who created and loves them.  If you don’t go to them and lovingly minister to them, teaching them as you work with them about Jesus, how will they ever be able to get free of these sins in their lives?  Besides this, if you don’t associate with them, it will mean withdrawing from the world completely, since everyone is a sinner at heart.  It is not my place to judge those who do not know the love of Jesus.  Only God can judge them.  But I may judge the actions of a fellow believer, taking care to do so with pure motives and in love, because my sinning brothers or sisters have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and know what it means to follow Jesus with a pure heart.  As God commanded us in the book of Deuteronomy, ‘Put away from among yourselves the evil (sinning) person.’”

 

1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Deuteronomy 17:7, 19:19, 22:21, 24:7

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