When is sin, sin?

When is sin, sin?

The Original Sin photo by Paul Hocksenar

A local church has recently been the victim of embezzlement. Not just a few bucks for coffee, but of thousands and thousands of dollars. They plan on forgiving the sinner with a “truly repentant” heart and not pursue the matter through the courts.

The 8th commandment, “Thou shalt not steal” is a biggie. God has taken the idea of theft very seriously throughout the Bible. The old covenant was pretty unforgiving. People would be stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. But what happens under the new covenant of Jesus?

Jesus very clearly does tell us that if a “brother” sins seven times, that we are to forgive them seventy times seven. In other words, never stop forgiving until the sinner repents. What then? When is a sin, punishable? Repentances does not denote consequence.

I do not have a PhD in theology, nor do I care to get tied up in such things, although, bless those that do! I do have, like those with a PhD, the word of God at my fingertips and I have the whisperings of the Holy Spirit to rely on, especially when tasked with such moral questions. Jesus says render onto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Does that apply to the law as well? I say yes. A church has a moral and legal responsibility to protect its flock and its integrity.

If someone within a church commits sexual abuse on a child, the church is responsible, legally, for reporting it to the authorities to be investigated. If a spiritual life member is caught is a gross sin, like adultery, he or she is asked to remove themselves from their leadership role, until the issue has been worked on and then rectified.

I think what people tend to forget is the message of Paul in Corinthians, “you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” It doesn’t mean that Paul loved the man any less, but there needed to be a direct consequence of the sin. If there is no consequence of sin, then we make God to be a liar.

We find in the book of Acts, where a theft by a believer meant their death. Acts 5:3-11 tells the story of Ananias and his wife who withheld some of the proceeds from selling their property. It wasn’t a sin that they withheld some of the money, but they were punished immediately for their lie. A lie is the theft of the truth.

Sin is sin. God hates sin. Simple.

So what should you do to brethren that commit a sin against the Church?

Forgive them their trespass. Forgive. And then stand behind them as they are turned over to the authorities. A church cannot be in the business of keeping secrets, of holding certain things close to the vest and letting others go. The church needs to be united, not divided because of warm and fuzzy doctrine that has entered and diluted the Church. Believers need to see worldly justice, just as the world needs to see it. What the world also needs to see is the love that we have for our brethren that stumble. The world needs to see that that kind of love exists.

It is the hardest love, agape love.

Don’t be like the world. Jesus died for sin. Not for “shades of it.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

4 comments for “When is sin, sin?

  1. Deanna
    July 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Very well put. We agree with you. She needs to be reported and we need to forgive and love her through the process.

    • cvictory-admin
      July 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Deanna.

  2. September 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    It’s not always essential to involve the legal authorities. There is a big difference in our society between “illegal” and “immoral”.

    When the sin is both, it makes it much clearer.

    I’m somewhat surprised the perpetrator is not turning him/herself in to authorities willingly. Is one actually repentant when one is unwilling to face the consequences? We should learn the lesson from the Roman Catholic church in their unwillingness to have pædophiles charged with their crimes. If, God forbid, the perpetrator sins against someone else in the same way, we can be similarly complicit in their crimes.

    The flip side to that, of course, is the Sermon on the Mount. It can be hard to determine when to use appropriate legal means, when to “expel the wicked man from among you” and when to “let him have your cloak as well.

    • cvictory-admin
      September 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      There is a lot of difference in our society between illegal and immoral. There are shades of gray, even in the church. If a churches leadership chooses to not opt for legal means, then a body has to accept it. The body of the church may not agree with that decision and should be able to discuss those opinions openly. Prayerfully.

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts.

Comments are closed.