I must admit that I’ve visited their meetings.

I have been a some-time practitioner of the habits of some pretty dubious clubs.

I lodged no objection at the office, when someone not present was being criticized and slandered.

I chose rather to make my own contribution to the record. There was something somehow irresistible about feeling “better” than the one we accused. I felt a little guilty at the time, but not enough to be courageous. Not enough to stop it and walk away. Certainly not enough to observe that anything was amiss here.

The food at the party was incredible and delicious! There was so much to choose from so I chose not to. Some of just about everything. Had to loosen my belt a bit and felt gorged for the next 4 hours. It was all part of the party.

Friday and Saturday night’s wouldn’t  qualify as “The Weekend” unless we found some way of getting “ripped.” More than likely I’ve spent enough money on intoxicants to buy a new car. Wrecked one or two. Did a stint in the clink for DUI. I’m no saint.

I’ve gotten myself into some pretty questionable settings. There were those times, if it suited me, that my devious mind would spin a yarn—a fabrication—to hide the truth, to keep my dignity intact.

So yes, perhaps like many of you, I have been counted among the gossips, gluttons, fornicators, drunks and liars that the Bible says will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Not just as one who consorts, but as one of them. I have a proclivity that I’ve always possessed to do what I know is not right. I am, in short, a recovering sinner.

I speak now to Bible-believing persons who call themselves “Christians.” If that doesn’t describe you, then you’re not likely to see the point of any of this.

A dear friend of mine once told me of an esteemed mentor from his youth. He was described as an able teacher of the Bible. A giant of a man. In this case that description was apparently literal. This wonderful, loving, godly, man was morbidly obese. My friend related how, when he sat down to eat in the cafeteria, he consumed enough for a family of four. I had the temerity to suggest that this kind of thing was overlooked or “winked at” in Church circles when it is clearly gluttony. I questioned whether this was right when we make such loud remonstrations against other kinds of sins (such as sexual immorality). My friend simply smiled and quipped: “Now you’ve moved from preachin’ and have taken to meddlin.” There it is. Do we need to add hypocrisy to our list of sins?

Suppose I were to weary of this sin-sick world and my own urges to act out the moral deficiencies within? Suppose I have grown tired of the fight and the feelings of guilt?

Why, I might just selectively choose to close my eyes to the sins it would be inconvenient to acknowledge. I might even declare that, though I know otherwise, this thing or that is no sin at all.

What if I should all at once declare to all that I have grown tired of the struggle against sexual sin. Suppose, I have chosen now to give myself entirely to it and “explore the space”?  Suppose I want you to congratulate me on this achievement and celebrate my liberation”? I can tell you that my wife would not thank me.

It appears to me that there are those selective sins, even within the church, we have effectively declared to be, at worst, “idiosyncrasies” or personal foibles—certainly nothing to get excited about! After all, we’re loving. We’re tolerant. We’re inclusive. And we’re ALL sinners. So,…

But this is an unholy capitulation. It is NOT, in fact, love. It is NOT truth. We need so much to repent of these things and be holy as our Lord commanded us and equipped us to be. We ALL need to repent. I feel like the prophet Isaiah may have felt when he said of himself. “Woe to me, I’m gonna die. I am a man full of uncleanness and I live among a people like me.” (my paraphrase)

If we will not continue this joint effort to lay aside sin, being patient with one another in the process, then how can we expect a people who don’t even CLAIM to believe the Bible to do the same? For indeed, this is happening in our culture and in our day. What has for centuries been understood to be sin, is now the societally approved “new normal” of our age. Whether within the church or without, this throwing off of the will of God and approval and establishment of sin cannot end well for any of us who persist in it.

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