Remember when mild cuss words were deleted from TV and radio?
It was nice. It didn’t make shows or songs one bit less interesting. Quite the contrary.
But things have changed. Americans are now comfortable with profanity: 72% of men and 58% of women swear in public. In one study, 64% admitted they use the F-word (source).
But God hasn’t changed. He still expects Christians to “censor” all bad language from our speech. In our “warped and crooked generation,” we are commanded to “shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:14-15).
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11
“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth.”Ephesians 4:29 (AMPC)
The verses above should convict us to clean up our speech, but here’s this additional word from Jesus: “Everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Matthew 12:36
Many Christians have bought into the cultural lie that people are born good and corrupted by their environment. This means people sin because they have needs that haven’t been met.
But this popular belief is a lie, dear Christians, a lie that affects how we view ourselves, how we parent, how we counsel, and how we talk about sin in general. Instead of accepting what the Bible says, we excuse, justify, and blame-shift people’s sins onto their environment, circumstances, parenting, mistreatment, etc. And this seems to be especially prevalent when talking about LGBTQ+ sins.
But the gospel is perfectly clear: everyone is born selfish and sinful. No one has to teach us how to sin. Our environment affects us, but it never forces us to sin.
“Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15
God created man in His image, but Adam damaged that image by his willful sins causing all of mankind after him to be born with a sin nature, a propensity to make selfish, sinful choices (Genesis 5:3).
Before Christ, all of us “were dead in [our] transgressions and sins…gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:1-9; Romans 8:7-8).
Sin always has been and always will be an intentional choice.
Eve is held fully responsible for her sin, but Adam is held responsible for sin entering our world. Adam was the first created human, a representative for mankind. Romans 5:12-14 says sin entered the world “through one man.” And 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
1 Timothy 2:11-14 explains that Eve was deceived by the serpent and Adam was not deceived. As the head of his family, he didn’t lead Eve away from sin. He followed her into it.
⮞ We were and still are created in the image of God.
Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
⮞ But when Adam sinned, he damaged that perfect image, and all of us born after Adam have a sin nature.
Genesis 5:3: “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.”
Commentaries on Genesis 5:3:
“As Adam was created in the image of God, so did he beget ‘in his own likeness, after his image;’ that is to say, he transmitted the image of God in which he was created, not in the purity in which it came direct from God, but in the form given to it by his own self-determination, modified and corrupted by sin.” Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
“Adam was made in the image of God; but when fallen he begat a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail, wretched, and mortal, like himself. Not only a man like himself, consisting of body and soul, but a sinner like himself. This was the reverse of that Divine likeness in which Adam was made; having lost it, he could not convey it to his seed.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
False teachers use a method theologians call “eisegesis.” This means they start with a belief and try to find Scriptures to fit that belief. In contrast, true teachers of God’s Word use “exegesis,” which means they start with Scripture and formulate their beliefs according to what it actually teaches.
Eisegesis teachings take random passages out of context, read something into the text that’s not there, and ignore the obvious overall teachings of Scripture.
Wouldn’t it be nice if no matter how much weight we gained, we could still fit into the same size clothing? Well, if you use certain clothing distributors, you can!
You see, over the last several decades, certain manufacturers have gradually changed size measurements, meaning what they sold as a size 10 in 1960 they now sell as a size 2 or 4.
It’s called “vanity sizing,” and it’s another sign of our human problem: we’d rather fool ourselves than face the truth.
When we’re judgmental, we say we’re discerning.
When we forget responsibilities, we say we’re busy.
When we lose our temper, we say we’re stressed.
When we refuse to reconcile with loved ones, we say we’re putting up godly boundaries.
When we remain silent about God’s commands, we say we’re being loving.
These explanations sound better than saying we’re proud, irresponsible, selfish, stubborn, or weak.
You might say that we’re trying to downsize our sinfulness, trying to convince ourselves that we’re a size 2 instead of admitting we’re a size 10.
And when we downsize our sins, we fail to understand the full refreshment of forgiveness.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9
Most people are easy enough to get along with. They have their faults just like we have ours.
But there’s a small percentage of people I’ll call “prickly.”
They’re always causing relationship problems but blaming the problems on others. They may be chronic liars or simply negative, critical, stingy, ungrateful, or self-focused.
If we’re not careful, they can suck the life out of us.
It would be great to simply avoid them, but often they’re in our family, workplace, or church, so we can’t.
So here’s how we can deal with them biblically:
1. Forgive them and move forward without keeping a list of their offenses (Colossians 3:13).
2. Be willing to discuss problems and attempt reconciliation even if it fails (Matthew 5:23-24).
3. Realize that no matter how hard we try, some people will cut us off or refuse to talk through our problems (Romans 12:18).
4. Focus on the good people in our lives (Philippians 4:8).If we do these things, we will avoid becoming prickly ourselves! In fact, prickly people can actually have an important function in our lives by refining and strengthening our character (Romans 8:28).
They can teach us how to deal graciously with bossy, negative, and manipulative people without becoming bossy, negative, and manipulative ourselves. Romans 12 offers excellent advice in this area.
So consider difficult relationships a faith lesson, and do your best to please God even if you can’t please others.
Psalm 22 is an incredible messianic psalm giving exact details of Christ’s death, written approximately one thousand years before it happened.
Unbelievers might want to claim that it was faked, but ancient manuscripts of this psalm prove it was written long before Christ’s birth.
Old Testament prophecies are numerous, and they are only part of the many proofs God has given us that Jesus is the only way of salvation. It’s so clear that God wants to give us every opportunity to believe.
Scripture tells us that He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Psalm 22 was given so “future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” (verses 30-31).
Sadly, Scripture also tells us that most people will reject Christ: “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Let’s celebrate Christ’s resurrection by praying for the unsaved and being sensitive to share the gospel when God gives us opportunities. We cannot remain silent about so great a salvation!
It’s popular for unbelievers to think of Jesus as a cool guy who made everyone feel good about themselves, never confronting sinners, always pleasant and affirming.
But sin and repentance were central to Christ’s ministry:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” ~ Jesus, Matthew 4:17
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” ~ Jesus, Luke 5:32
“Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” ~ Jesus, Luke 13:3
People hated Christ’s straightforward emphasis on sin.
When his unbelieving brothers confronted Him, He said, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil” (John 7:7).
In addition, Jesus clearly explained that our mission is to tell people that they will die in their sins if they don’t accept His forgiveness (Luke 24:46-47). If we obey Christ, we’ll address sin and be unpopular with the world (John 15:18-21; Mark 13:13).(1)
On the day of Pentecost, Peter’s message to unbelievers wasn’t soft and fluffy. It caused many to be “cut to the heart” by their sin (Acts 2:37-38).
When Paul preached to the Athenians, he said, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
If we go around affirming people without mentioning their sins, we’ll be acting like Satan, not Jesus. And we’ll have missed the incredibly important truth that “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).