The dictionary says that to address something is to think about it and begin to deal with it. In my own opinion there are some major things that the big C Church needs to address, take a moment to think about, and begin to deal with. Few, if any, problems are solved in an instant, but addressing a problem is the first step. I don’t have all the answers, but I know Him who does. John wrote the book of Revelation around 90AD and Jesus addresses a list of problems going on in the different churches at the time, revealing that it didn’t take but a few years to develop issues. Jesus wasn’t criticizing the Church, His Bride, rather He was pointing them in the right direction because of His love. A lot of people today love to criticize the Church out of hate and offense instead of guiding out of love.
I see people swinging one of two ways when it comes to problems, they criticize out of hate, or decide to ignore the problem and say it isn’t a problem at all. The issue with that is ignoring a problem doesn’t help anyone. Jesus, our perfect example, did not ignore the problems individuals and the Church had, He lovingly guided them back onto the right path. Jesus didn’t ignore people’s dysfunctions or their sins, and He didn’t criticize them with anger either.
As He encountered a women caught in adultery, Jesus sets the example for a group of religious leaders. According to religious law the women deserved to be stoned to death. Instead of picking up a stone of hate Jesus address the problem with His perfect love. Jesus tells the women that she is not condemned. He isn’t full of anger and hate at the presence of sin, and He doesn’t give the woman the false love of ignoring her problem, Jesus’ goal is to direct the woman towards a life of true satisfaction and joy. After reaching out His hand and helping the women back to her feet, Jesus tells her to go, and to sin no more. Jesus didn’t want the woman to end up in a situation similar to what she had just narrowly escaped. He told the woman to go, and that she didn’t have to return to her old life, she could go and walk in freedom, He had freed her from the sinful problems in her life.
If Jesus simply turned a blind eye to the woman’s sin then she would have inevitably ended up in more trouble. Even though as Christians we don’t receive the death we deserve for our sins, there are consequences of living in sin. Sin produces death and calamity. It doesn’t discriminate, sin doesn’t care who you are.
“Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.” Proverbs 22:8
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8
“My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.” Job 4:8
Notice how these principals apply to everyone, in every culture. There isn’t anything we can do to avoid the fruit sin produces, other than not planting the seeds.
The only thing that ignoring sin does is prevent the problem from being solved. If a seed is planted, the only way to prevent the fruit of unrighteousness is to uproot the sin. How? The first step has to be addressing it. The Bible is clear about what sin is. Some people attempt to twist what the Bible says to fit their sinful lifestyle which only eliminates any possible solutions to their problems.
I want to be clear that living in sin and an occasional slip up are much different. Sin should not be a normal occurrence in the life of a Christian, because Christians are no longer sinners. Paul says that “While we were still sinners Jesus died for us” (Romans 5:8). ‘While we were’ means we aren’t any longer. Christians do not have a sinful nature, that was crucified on the cross with Jesus and is not a viable excuse for our sins. Jesus said that He would leave 99 righteous people who do not need repentance to go after the one who did (Luke 15:7). That means 99% of Christians shouldn’t need to repent on a regular basis. 99% of Christians should be living out what was said in Genesis 4:7 and rule over sin. We also need to be aware of what sin is so we don’t give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Know that the devil can’t take a foothold from us because we no longer have a sinful nature, we now have the choice to sin or not.
So what’s the point? There is a balance that we need to find between ignoring problems and wrongful living, and being overly righteous, angry at everyone who isn’t living a perfect life. Proverbs 24:16 says that a righteous man falls down seven times, and gets up eight. He doesn’t stay on the ground and doesn’t deny the fall, instead he admits that he has fallen and reaches out to Jesus to stand back up. We need to take a moment to see how Jesus dealt with people’s problems and shortcomings. One last key is when Jesus says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” John 14:15. This is not a threat or instructions for us, Jesus isn’t saying that if we don’t keep His commandments that we don’t love Him. What Jesus is saying is that when we love Him we will keep His commandments. It’s a simple truth that happens. If you’re caught up in sin and want to get free then your key to freedom is falling in love with Jesus.