Two ways NOT to respond to sinners

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with Romans right now.  Loving it.  It is tearing me apart.  Separating joints and marrow indeed.

Here’s another crazy thing that Romans says: there are two ways to respond to sin that both indicate that we don’t get the Gospel.

1. Approve sin.  The first response that indicates a rejection of the Gospel in our hearts is the tendency to approve other people’s sin.

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32 ESV)

This is the degree of our sin: we are willing to not only sin ourselves, but we become cheerleaders for the sin of others too.

That’s why, when  you look around in the world, you don’t just see a couple of people struggling with lust, you see a billion dollar porn industry and an epidemic issue with sex-trafficking.  We don’t just sin ourselves, we approve others who do.

It’s the same reason we laugh at a story of someone over eating.  We approve their gluttony.  We do it every time we exploit someone’s approval idol for how easy it makes our lives if they’ll bow down to us a little more easily.  We approve their idolatry.

If we don’t get the Gospel, it will surface in our lives as approving sinful behaviors   But here’s what’s weird: we could have the very same heart issue and it could present itself in a very different form. If we don’t get the Gospel, it might surface in our lives as condemning sinners around us.

2. Condemning sinners.  Right after Paul says that our hearts are so dark that we approve sinners, he says this:

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. (Romans 2:1 ESV)

We learned yesterday that ‘sin’ is really a worship issue.  We better be confident that we worship God perfectly every second of every day before we start condemning someone else.  Otherwise every word we speak in judgement against them can be applied to us, cause we have the exact same heart issue.

Condemning sinners and approving of their sin are two sides of the same coin: a devastating display of how little we understand the Cross.

When we approve of sin, we testify that we don’t think someone else’s sin is that big a deal.

When we judge sin, we testify that we don’t think our own sin is that big a deal.

If we get the Gospel and if we grasp the darkness of sin, it won’t lead us to approve it or judge it, it will lead us to the Cross.

When we face the Cross we can’t approve sin.  How could we when we are faced with evidence of how serious it is and what it cost our sweet Savior?

When we face the Cross we can’t look to our left and right and condemn others.  How could we when it’s our own sentence of condemnation that we are watching Jesus serve?

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