Sunday, March 18, 2012
Compassion, Not Condemnation: Compassion Part Five
here, Part Two is here, Part Three is here, and Part Four is here.
When we understand and acknowledge what Christ did for us, we can extend that same compassion to others.
Romans 5:6-8 says, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
We are called to compassion. 1 Peter 3:8-9 reads, "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."
When speaking of the unsaved, the Bible calls them "sinners". While we all sin on a daily basis, Christian or not, the distinction is made between those who will die in their sin because they've refused to accept Jesus as their savior (sinners), and those who are forgiven their sins when they ask with a repentant heart and will live eternally with Jesus (the saved). So how did Christ treat sinners?
Matthew 23: 27-28: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
During a sermon a couple months ago, our pastor said, "His scorn wasn't for sinners, it was for the religious self-righteous."
The Pharisees were equivalent to the hypocritical believers of today. We can turn up our noses at the Pharisees' behavior, but how many times have we appeared beautiful and "having it all together" on the outside when we were actually dead and unclean on the inside? Jesus despises the "Christian on the fence".
Revelation 3:15-16 says, "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Sometimes associating with a Christian who is sinning (walking in blatant sin but still claiming to follow Christ) can be a bigger danger than hanging out with an unbeliever. The "Christian's" sins seem less obvious and we are quick to make excuses for them. We are also quicker to forgive them than we are unbelievers. Should there be a distinction?
When Jesus encountered the unsaved, he showed them compassion---not condemnation!
Luke 19:10: "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
John 3:17: " For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
This article was featured in Issue 54 of The Christian Home magazine.
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