31DaysOfPurityThrough the month of March, I have invited you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. We have drawn to the end of the month at last. Here is day thirty-one, the final day in this 31-day challenge.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.  (Jude 1:24-25)

This closes our 31 days together, but it does not close our lifelong pursuit of sexual purity. In fact, we have only just begun. Today we are praying for ourselves and for one another that we would continue to persevere in purity. Keep going, men. The battle is not over. Tomorrow morning you will need to start over in your pursuit of purity. And as you do, remember that the Lord Jesus—and only the Lord Jesus—is able to keep you from stumbling.

One day we will be presented blameless before the Lord and there will be great joy. Though that day is not yet called “today,” it is absolutely certain. Therefore, let us press on all the more as we look forward to that day. Why don’t you grab a friend and go through this challenge again?

Lord, thank you for all those that have prayed and battled for purity these 31 days. I pray that they would continue on in the battle. Help me to continue praying with them and pursuing purity together. Cause us to endure in this great endeavor. May Christ be glorified through us. Transform our hearts and our homes for His name. I am thankful that you are able to keep me from stumbling. Help me press on in purity, all the while looking forward to the day when I will be presented spotless in Your presence. Amen.

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31DaysOfPurity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-nine:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment that we lose all sense of perspective. We become like the man who stands before the sweeping mountain vista, but will only gaze at the ground beneath his feet. What he sees is real, but it is so small and so limited. We need to lift our eyes to catch the bigger perspective—the eternal perspective. Like Paul, we need to fix our eyes on what is unseen and eternal.

This life matters. But this life is short. When we put our lifespans in the context of eternity, they are but the shortest blip, the shortest dash between the two dates on a gravestone. While another evening of battling sexual sin can seem like the longest and most difficult night of our lives, it is but the shortest tick of the clock in the context of eternity. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). Even this temptation, this affliction, is so light when we compare it to the joy that awaits us.

Father, help me to keep my eyes fixed on what is unseen and eternal. Help me to view my life, and my moments of temptation, in the context of eternity. While these temptations can feel so weighty and so difficult, I want to know and believe that they are but light and momentary afflictions compared to the eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison you have prepared for me. I long for the day when I will be with you forever. Prepare me for that day by giving me your grace to battle sexual sin today and every day.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

The False Teachers

A few weeks ago I set out on a series of articles through which I am scanning the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notable false teachers and to examine the false doctrine each of them represents. Along the way we have visited such figures as Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Ellen G. White (Adventism), Norman Vincent Peale (Positive Thinking) and Benny Hinn (Faith Healing). Today we turn to one of the chief proponents of the popular but sinister prosperity gospel.

Creflo Dollar

Creflo DollarCreflo Augustus Dollar, Jr. was born in College Park, Georgia on January 28, 1962. Though he was raised in a church-going home, he did not have a conversion experience until the summer following his freshmen year at West Georgia College. Even after this experience he felt no pull toward full-time ministry as his heart was set on being a professional football player. It was only after that football career was cut short by injury that he began to consider other options. In 1984 Dollar received a Bachelor of Science degree in education and soon began work as a educational therapist. The next year he married Taffi, with whom he would eventually have five children.

While recovering from his football injury, Dollar had begun to lead Bible studies among his fellow students and he gained a reputation as a skillful and charismatic teacher. He called his study “World Changers Bible Study.” By 1986 he had determined that he was not meant to be a therapist but that the Lord was calling him into full-time preaching ministry.

He and Taffi founded a church and they held its inaugural worship service in an elementary school cafeteria. Only eight people attended that service, but the congregation soon grew and was renamed World Changers Church International (WCCI). In less than ten years the church had grown exponentially and Dollar’s sermons were being broadcast over the radio through Creflo Dollar Ministries. In 1995 WCCI moved to its current location, the 8,500-seat World Dome in College Park, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.

Today World Changers Church International serves nearly 30,000 members each week through the main campus, 6,000 through an affiliated congregation in New York City, and thousands more through many satellite campuses across America.

Dollar is known for his extravagant wealth which includes two multi-million dollar homes, expensive cars, and even a private jet. Creflo Dollar Ministries made headlines several years ago when it was one of six ministries audited by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley. “My goal,” he said, “is to help improve accountability and good governance so tax-exempt groups maintain public confidence in their operations.” The ministry was deemed uncooperative. MinistryWatch, an organization that reviews Christian ministries based on their financial accountability and transparency awarded Creflo Dollar Ministries an F rating and has added it to their Donor Alert listing. Dollar made headlines again in 2012 when his daughter called police to their home, charging that Dollar had choked and hit her. Dollar denied the charges which were dropped after he completed an anger-management program.

False Teaching: Prosperity Gospel

Creflo Dollar is one of the foremost proponents of what has become known as the prosperity gospel. This doctrine teaches that God has promised his people financial and other forms of prosperity in this life, if only God’s people will take the necessary steps to claim it. A uniquely American creation, this false teaching has since been exported across the world where it has especially taken root in the developing world. In one of his Bible studies Dollar lays it out:

As the righteousness of God, your inheritance of wealth and riches is included in the “spiritual blessings” (or spiritual things) the apostle Paul spoke of in Ephesians 1:5. Based on Psalm 112:3, righteousness, wealth and riches go hand—in—hand. You have every right to possess material wealth—clothes, jewelry, houses, cars and money—in abundance. It is that wealth that not only meets your needs, but also spreads the Gospel message and meets the needs of others.

The Bible says that wealth is stored up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22, New American Standard). However, it will remain stored up until you claim it. Therefore, claim it now! You possess the ability to seize and command wealth and riches to come to you (Deuteronomy 8:18). Exercise that power by speaking faith-filled words daily and taking practical steps to eradicate debt. Like God, you can speak spiritual blessings into existence (Romans 4:17). Remember, doubt keeps silent, but faith speaks!”

The way such prosperity is activated is by the planting of seeds, so that the person who wants financial prosperity must plant a seed of financial prosperity. Needless to say, such seeds are usually through a donation to a ministry like Dollar’s.

You can say, “Oh, God, I need money! The rent is due. The baby needs shoes. And what about my breakthrough?” But if you haven’t sown financial seed, how can you expect a financial harvest?

If you wanted to grow apples, would you plant cucumber seeds or pumpkin seeds? You would not! So why do people expect to receive financial increase when they purposely plant anything and everything but what is needed? They will plant hope seed, shout seed, dance seed, and even “claim it” seed! All of these are good things, but alone and without the appropriate seed, they are unproductive.1

Followers & Adherents

Creflo Dollar is one of the most prominent and most successful teachers of prosperity theology. He preaches live to tens of thousands of people each weekend and his “Changing Your World” broadcast extends to nearly every country on earth. He publishes CHANGE magazine which has 100,000 subscribers, and he has written several bestselling books. His voice extends around the world and every week hundreds of thousands or even millions of people listen to him.

What the Bible Says

The foremost concern with the prosperity gospel is that in all its emphasis on financial prosperity, the deep need for spiritual prosperity is inevitably displaced and eventually lost altogether. In this way a relationship with Jesus Christ becomes little more than the key to unlocking temporal wealth and abundance. In his infamous song Fal$e Teacher$, Shai Linne says, “If you’re living your best life now you’re headed for hell!” David W. Jones and Russell Woodbridge helpfully distill the doctrinal errors of prosperity theology to five key points.

  1. The Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement. Prosperity teachers look to God’s covenant with Abraham and see its fulfillment as providing material prosperity to Christians today. Dollar’s mentor Kenneth Copeland says, “Since God’s Covenant has been established and prosperity is a provision of this covenant, you need to realize that prosperity belongs to you now!”
  2. Jesus’ atonement extends to the “sin” of material poverty. They hold that Jesus’ atoning death provided not only for our spiritual needs but also for our financial prosperity. Thus it is only sin that keeps us trapped in poverty or anything less than abundant wealth.
  3. Christians give in order to gain material compensation from God. Creflo Dollar and others like him teach that giving to the Lord’s work is primarily a means of gaining further compension from God.
  4. Faith is a self-generated spiritual force that leads to prosperity. Many prosperity gospel preachers, Dollar among them, teach that we, like God, have the ability to speak reality into existence when we speak in faith. Thus faith becomes a force that allows us to speak prosperity into our lives.
  5. Prayer is a tool to force God to grant prosperity. Dollar writes, “When we pray, believing that we have already received what we are praying, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass. … It is a key to getting results as a Christian.” Thus prayer is little more than a means through which we bring about our desires for wealth.

Al Mohler says it well: “Prosperity theology is a False Gospel. Its message is unbiblical and its promises fail. God never assures his people of material abundance or physical health. Instead, Christians are promised the riches of Christ, the gift of eternal life, and the assurance of glory in the eternal presence of the living God. In the end, the biggest problem with prosperity theology is not that it promises too much, but that it promises far too little. The Gospel of Jesus Christ offers salvation from sin, not a platform for earthly prosperity. While we should seek to understand what drives so many into this movement, we must never for a moment fail to see its message for what it is — a false and failed gospel.”

 

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-nine:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Our bodies follow our minds. This is the consistent witness of Scripture, which always places mind before body. Throughout his life, the Christian is to be renewing his mind by the Word of God, to take it into captivity and bring it into conformity. As he does this, his words and his deeds, and even his thoughts, will necessarily follow.

If there is any area where we let our bodies dictate our thoughts and our actions, it is here in the context of sexual purity, in those times when the body seems to cry out in dissatisfaction. When we wallow in sexual sin, we fill our minds with what is impure, as if Philippians 4 commands us to think about whatever is false, whatever is deplorable, whatever is unfair, whatever is impure, whatever is ugly, whatever is critical, if there is any depravity, if there is anything worthy of rebuke, we think about these things. And, not surprisingly, our bodies follow our minds.

It is so much better to heed and to practice Philippians 4 which commands us to think about what is good and noble and pure. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Think about those things, brother, and let God transform your thoughts and your actions.

Father, I pray that you would do your work of mind-renewal within me. I know that my behavior follows my thoughts, so I pray that you would help me to think about those things that are true and beautiful. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, I pray that you would help me to think about these things and to love thinking about these things.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Trish Ramos

“Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

What a comforting verse.

Seriously.

Because it means that trials, persecutions, and tribulations are to be expected for any Christian that is earnestly contending for the faith. Whew, what a relief!

Think about it, we've gone from being Satan's friend to his enemy. Of course he's going to throw everything he has at us so that we won't be victorious.

But, oh, how much sweeter victory is after a hard fought battle!

So brothers and sisters, keep contending, keep moving forward, keep fighting the good fight, knowing that the battle has already been won.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-eight:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God tells us that victory over sin is certain—even those sins we have held to for so long. This can be hard to believe when we look to the past and see only failure after failure. It can be hard to believe when sin’s power is so strong and when giving in to sin promises such satisfaction. Yet we must believe that in Christ we are new creations—the old has gone and the new has come. In Christ we are becoming who we are, increasingly taking hold of who we are in Him. Where we once delighted to do evil, we can have confidence that one day we will delight to avoid evil. Where we once hated to do what is right, we can have confidence that one day we will delight to do what is right.

We really can hope and believe for such radical change. However, there may be a long period of time and many struggles between the two extremes. It rarely happens overnight. In that period where you are battling hard against sin, where you are developing new patterns of doing what is right instead of doing what God forbids, be sure to celebrate the small victories. Each of those victories is an evidence of God’s grace in your life. When you choose to do the right thing instead of the sinful thing, give thanks to God. When you have gone longer than you’ve ever gone before without succumbing to the temptation, celebrate with a friend and thank the Lord. Celebrate his grace by praising his name.

Father, I am thankful that in Christ I am a new creation. I believe what you say: the old has passed away and the new has come. Let me be who I am in Christ. Let me take hold of all Christ offers. I thank you for giving me grace—grace to see my sin, grace to hate my sin and grace to overcome my sin. All of this is an evidence of your work in my life, and I thank you for it. Help me to celebrate day-by-day what you are doing in and through me.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

The prosperity gospel has not produced a new generation of great Christian hymns. Neither have Positive Thinking or Progressive Christianity. There is a reason we would not expect them to. The fact is, the deepest songs come from the deepest truth. The most faithful songs come from the most faithful expressions of the Christian faith. The richest songs come from the richest understanding of who God is and what God has done.

As Christians we are told to sing from the gospel, for one another, to the Lord—a ten-word summary of Colossians 3:16 which says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” As Paul writes to this Colossian church, he wants them to realize that every Christian needs singing lessons. If we want to sing a song that glorifies the Lord, we first need to apply some lessons.

The first lesson is this: The gospel must be the basis of your song. Before you can sing a song that glorifies God, the word of Christ—the gospel—needs to be dwelling within you. Paul has just said: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” That is a glorious message, and one worth singing about. There is, quite literally, nothing better than this in the entire universe. You will never hear a better, richer, sweeter message. If you want to sing a God-glorifying song, you first need to have that rich, sweet message dwelling within you.

The second lesson is this: The gospel needs to dwell richly within you. It is not enough to let the gospel dwell within. Before you can sing—really sing—you need to have that gospel dwelling richly within. To dwell in you richly, a message must be rich. You can’t fill yourself with a shallow, trite, silly message and expect that it will dwell richly. And this is exactly why the prosperity gospel has not produced the next generation of great hymns of the Christian faith. This is why we don’t look to churches dominated by positive thinking for rich, gospel-centered songs. Where there is a shallow and unbiblical message, there must also be shallow and unbiblical songs. Conversely, a rich message generates rich dwelling, and that rich dwelling generates rich contemplation, and that rich contemplation generates rich songs.

As we sing to God, we proclaim who he is, what he has done, and what he requires of us. We also cry out to him in supplication, asking him for those things that he delights to his people. If this is true, it is a call to substance in our songs. We have thousands of great songs at our disposal, so why would we waste our time with songs that don’t say much at all? The richer our understanding of God, the richer the expressions of praise and the richer and bolder the requests we can make in our song. If we know God only as the one who dispenses riches, our songs will ask for nothing more than wealth. If we know God only as weak and barely holy, our songs will tell of a too-small God, a God unworthy of our worship. But if we know God as he is and if we know what he has accomplished through his Son, our songs will be full of rich, sweet truth.

We sing best when that gospel is dwelling richly within us. God is not looking at the quality of our tone or the perfection of our pitch. He is looking at the heart. Tone and pitch matter, but when you stand with the congregation and sing to the Lord, it is your heart that is far more significant. You can be utterly tone deaf and sing beautiful music in the ear of God when the gospel is dwelling richly within and when you are singing to exult in the Savior.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

 

hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner-NS-770x355-300x138

Member Mailbag – I hear this term a lot: “hate the sin, but love the sinner” or “hate the crime, but not the criminal.” It sounds like an excuse to hang out with people, while ignoring their sin.

I find it hard to separate the sin from the sinner. I’m not saying I hate people. The analogy I’ve come up with is if someone broke into a home and killed a wife or child. Or maybe a drunk driver slammed into a family and killed a spouse.

I would blame the person and hold him responsible. I would not blame the sin for what happened. Surely the people who say, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” would want the person in prison.

While I don’t want to ignore my duty to love the sinner and hang out with them like Jesus did, I’m confused. Something does not sound right.

You raise a good and thoughtful question about a phrase that has been tossed around Christianity for a long time. It is one of those bumper sticker statements or fiery pulpit lines that sounds good in the moment, but lacks depth and needs more explanation and nuance, hence your question.

It reminds me of the caricatured conservative Christian lambasting the gay community. If we “hate the sin and love the sinner,” but never practicalize what God’s love fully means as it relates to the sinner, then we are missing something important.

Though the intent of the statement is good, the danger is it can lead us into the pluralistic relativism we so despise in our culture today. Hate the sin, but love the sinner is a forced juxtaposition of Bible thought that can abuse the word love, while obscuring God’s plenary character and attributes.

Whenever we take two thoughts like this–hate sin/love sinner–and put them together and try to create a doctrine out of it, we can create an unnecessary tension that can perpetuate Biblical ignorance while confusing the unregenerate world.

Though the goal may be noble–Christians should love everybody–the result can be bad: God’s justice, holiness, and wrath will be siphoned from His character. What you will end up with is a god that is amenable to our culture, but unable to save the ones you want to reach.

Can we hate?

My sister-in-law shot my brother five times with a gun. He died. She murdered him and was released from her crime by serving a couple hundred hours of community service. His death is a real illustration of your point: how am I to hate the sin and love the sinner?

I am using my illustration because it is real and I have had to wrestle with the “sin/sinner” juxtaposition. This situation affected me deeply as I had to work through what God was writing into my life.

There is no use for me to interact with the “hate the sin” part of your question because I think we all can agree that sin is to be hated. One look at the cross and we all can say in unison, “We hate sin. We hate that our sin caused the death of the LORD’s dear Son.”

The world may love their sin, but we do not love our sin. We hate our sin with a passion. Even if we find temporary pleasure in our sin, we always come back around to a biblically informed, heart motivated hatred for sin (Hebrews 11:25).

The more contoured issue for us to think about is what does it means to love a sinner. Unfortunately, in an effort to communicate that Christians are loving people, some of us have twisted love into something that looks more like our culture’s view than our LORD’s.

What is love?

If hate implies not accepting something—I reject your sin—then it makes sense for love to mean the acceptance of something. That is the message the Christian wants to communicate to the sinner. The problem is that this simple slice of love can easily run afoul without a deeper explanation of the whole.

If we are not careful, we can say, “The sin is not about you. You I love; it is your sin I hate.” As you have already noted, this is a biblically awkward juxtaposition. There is no nuance or deeper reflection about what love should be, can be, or how we are to live it out in light of the real threat of personal sin.

Love is deeper and broader than I accept you. There are other aspects of love that must be part of our definition and when they are, we will be able to represent God more impressively and comprehensively, whether it is in the evangelism of our friends or the sanctification of them.

Love without justice leads to a low view of sin. Justice without love leads to fear.

God of love

  • God is love and He will allow a person to go to hell because of their choice to live in sin.
  • God is love and His wrath is on a person who chooses to live in sin (John 3:36).

Our God, who is love (1 John 4:8), is also the God of wrath (Romans 1:18). God so loved the world (John 3:16) and His wrath is currently on any person who chooses to live in sin. The fact He allows a person to choose hell does not diminish His love at all.

  • God loves sinners.
  • God punishes sinners.

There is on contradiction here. If we interpret love without understanding God’s wrath or justice, we will have a gushy, post modern, to-each-his-own, cultural world view of love.

I love my former sister-in-law, but I demand her sin be punished. If her sin is not punished, then I am making light of my brother’s death and I am placing little significance on his life or how he died.

The hard truth is that her sin cannot be punished unless she is punished. It is also true she cannot experience the depth of God’s love until she realizes the depth of her sin (Luke 7:47).

God’s love for me is as profound as my understanding of my sin. If He ignored my sin, then His love would be without force. And I would have never understood the love of God or experienced His love to the depth that I have if he had not confronted me about my sin.

  • Love without justice leads to a low view of sin.
  • Justice without love leads to fear.
  • Love and justice lead to holy, worship-filled awe, and reverence.

God of justice

To ignore sin is to say it does not matter. What would God be like if He did not punish sin? We would most certainly conclude that sin was not a big deal to the LORD. This is not the God you want to worship.

You want a God who believes in justice, a God who does not let sins go or sinners escape. You want a culture like this too. No justice for all the wrongs committed is a world that even our culture does not accept. To some degree they have a sense of and desire for justice. They would even say this is love.

Love is so large that it encompasses justice. To love well is to demand justice.

The hate the sin, but love the sinner mantra does not fully or accurately communicate the seriousness of the problem and can easily miss the eternal judgment that is certain to come on any sinner that does not repent. To love well is to punish sinners. This truth cannot be avoided.

If you have a gushy view of love, you will not punish the sinner. You will see it as hate. Sometimes love is confrontational. Sometimes love requires a sacrifice for sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:10).

The LORD has no choice: He has to confront sin, which means people will be punished. To punish sin and to punish sinners is the right thing to do. The justice part of love demands this.

Mercifully, our great God of love chose to punish His Son so we, who should be punished, do not have to be punished. The justice part of love was served. God hated our sin so much that He punished the Innocent.

The hate the sin, but not the sinner forced juxtapositions makes preaching from a pulpit easier to listen to, but it can twist our understanding of God by weakening His attributes, specifically His justice.

God’s love for me is as profound as my understanding of the depth of my sin.

Can we love?

If you mean you hate the sin and love the sinner enough to tell him the whole truth about God’s current and future wrath, then you would be using the expression in a theologically precise way.

If you mean you hate the sin, but you want to show him how loving you are, and part of how you do this is by compromising the love of God, then your understanding of the love of God is insufficient.

Still yet, there is a deeper issue for us to explore. Rather than thinking about our topic in a generic or theoretical sense, let me ask you this question:

What does your love look like for the sinners who sin against you?

Let us suppose you are in a difficult marriage and your bitterness, un-forgiveness, and general disappointment toward your spouse continues to grow, even if it is imperceptible to others. How much do you love those who sin against you?

  • How much do I love my sister-in-law?
  • How much do you love your spouse?
  • How much do you love the person who hurt you?

Let us circle back around to our mantra, hate the sin, but love the sinner. Is that really true for you? Is there someone in your life who has sinned against you and you are not able to actively love them by your kindness, affection, and desire to serve them? We can abuse our love the sinner mantra in two ways:

  1. We want sinners to like us, so we do not tell them about the LORD’s wrath.
  2. We dislike sinners who have hurt us, so we refuse to love them the way LORD does.

My experience has been that most people have a hard time loving those who have sinned against them. As an example, there are too many Christian spouses who have a genuine disdain for the person they married. They may say they hate the sin, but love the sinner–except when the sinner sins against them.

If you are really going to love the sinner, then love them the way Christ did by dying for them (Ephesians 5:25). Let us lower the platitude flag and get in the trenches with them.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19-21 (ESV)

I mean, if we really do love the sinner and hate their sin, then we should be spending time with them, helping them, serving them, and genuinely leading them away from their sin.

Jesus is our perfect example of someone who hated sin, but loved sinners. He had comprehensive love that encompassed any kind of person. All sinners and any sin fell within the parameters of His Gospel love for them.

  • He gave them time – Jesus never turned a person away when they came to Him, e.g., Nicodemus and the rich young man.
  • He gave them truth – Jesus never compromised what God’s love meant, which included speaking about the LORD’s justice, wrath, and holiness.
  • He gave them love – Jesus was never sinful to anyone, no matter how sinful they were to Him. He never responded with unkindness or un-forgiveness toward others.
  1. Do you hate the sin, but love the sinner? If yes, then…
  2. Are you willing to love them enough to explain the wrath that is on them?
  3. Are you willing to love them even when they hurt you?
WWUTT

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJbK3RBKj0E” autohide=”0″ fs=”1″ hd=”1″]

To Atheists who had been commenting on this video:

“How can you say I know there is a God?”

Because the Bible says so, and that is a solid answer. In line with scripture, because all things are the result of creation, the evidence is inescapable. You cannot even function in the world without accepting it on some level, whether you are conscious of that acceptance or not. A person can no more deny the existence of God than a Mac can gain sentience and deny the existence of Steve Jobs. Such an intelligence would actually have to refuse to think in order to make that assertion, right? You know the evidence. You just refuse to receive it. (Psalm 92:5-6)

“How would you like it if I said you don't believe in God?”

If it's mindless to say there is no creator, then it's mindless to turn the argument around and say we don't believe in one. Atheism is empirically inadequate. You cannot experience atheism. You cannot observe something coming from nothing. You cannot witness anything happening uncaused. It has no basis in reality. Whereas a person who believes in God can point to the evidence of creation everywhere. The computer, phone, or tablet you're reading this from? Created.

“But those are man-made objects you say prove creation.”

Say we asked you to give us an example of something coming into existence by accident, and you point to the universe. Then you ask us to give an example of creation, and we also point to the universe. Neither of us can witness its beginning. So we have to shrink our answers down to that which can be observed, tested, and experienced. Every single example from then on out will always point to a creator. If you can see the evidence of God in those things, you'll see it applies to the whole universe (Psalm 8:3-4).

“Oh yeah? Well here's a video that totally refutes yours!”

Implied Creator Paradox. You're actually affirming our argument that creation evidence is everywhere. It's not possible for you to refute anything in our video. You can be defiant, and that's it.

“Well if you were to flip a coin 1000 times…”

Implied Creator Paradox again.

“Okay, fine! Here's a sternly worded 450 word response!”

Implied Creator Paradox.

“Stop saying that!”

Stop implying a creator. Can an author write a story of a world with no God? The irony is that there is a god. It's him. You would not be able to read and fully deny the author's influence.

“Alright, then who created God?”

Unlike our Steve Jobs or author examples, God is eternal. He is uncaused with no beginning and no end. Only that which is caused requires an explanation for a beginning. You demand an origin story for God and think it's a solid rebuttal because you cannot discern spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).

“Okay, then have your God give us a demonstration.”

He already did. And then responded to those who said they wanted a better sign than that (Matthew 16:1-4).

“Stop quoting scripture to me!”

This is our channel. If you don't want scripture quoted to you, troll someone else's channel. There's no truth to be found except by the Word of God. (Psalm 119:160)

“Why are you not answering my question?”

We responded to a few, but we're not exactly in the habit of lending ourselves to responding to persons who only want to quarrel. We're always welcoming of those who seek answers, but that wasn't the nature of the comments we were receiving. If you want to contact us, our website is http://www.wwutt.com.

“HOW DARE YOU CALL ATHEISTS REACTIONARY!!!!!!”

If the all-caps seem like a straw-man, that's pretty mild compared to comments we received. We're fine with criticism. But the tactlessness was out of hand. We had so many f-bombs, including being told that we won the *F-er* of the Year Award. Someone told our team we needed to kill ourselves. One guy who makes atheist videos and gets millions of views kept coming back to comment on ours. Another gal made an angry video response when we barely even had a hundred views (thanks for the traffic, by the way). Comment after comment affirmed everything we said in this video, especially that “some” atheists are reactionary.

“How can we know who the creator is or what he wants?”

The Bible. Tried and true. If you read scripture with a discerning spirit, seeking God with all of your heart, you'll know to repent of your sins, your defiant attitude, willfully rebellious against God, and follow Christ. Then you will be saved from God's wrath burning against all unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son does not have life but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36). Yet he is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9). God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

All of the above are taken from actual comments. Thank you for reading. And watching! And subscribing and sharing our videos!