Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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God’s Attitude Toward Sin

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

It has been established that God is holy, and demands holiness from those who would belong to Him. God demands and rightfully expects obedience from man because he is God, “Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:37).

Men today are involved in all types of sin. This is no different from times past, but it seems men are terribly wicked in our time. Especially in America, men seem to have a skewed set of values, which lead them to ungodly actions. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

The Apostle Paul explained the cause for such ungodliness in describing the sin of the Gentiles in his epistle to the Romans. “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:21-25).

If men are determined to disregard God and go their own way, He will allow this to happen. Those who wish to self-destruct will be allowed to self-destruct. In the same context, Paul wrote, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (vs. 28). It must be understood that when such ungodliness is present, God has not part in it.

James wrote, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15). Sin is the province of man. God, because of His holy nature, has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Because we today live in a dispensation where the grace of God is available through the gift of His son Jesus, some believe that God is tolerant of sin. Such a cheap view of grace leads to licentious living and willful worship. Paul indicated clearly that such a view of grace is incorrect. He wrote, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:14-17).

It is abundantly clear that under the present dispensation, God does not tolerate sin. In fact, the call to holiness is of a higher order because of the greater blessings we are privy to today. Paul told the Athenians in Acts 17, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (vs. 30-31). In times past, God allowed certain sinful practices to pass because of the ignorance of the time. The age of ignorance is past, men have been given the perfect law of liberty, and God holds all men accountable for every sin. God is no longer tolerant of any sin of man. The Hebrew writer clearly established this, “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:2-4). God does not demand less of us because of grace, he demands more.

God abhors sin. He always has. Under the present dispensation he holds man accountable. No one can sin and escape the consequences of the act. Any doctrine or attitude that minimizes the destructive nature of ungodliness, or seeks to portray God as a tolerant, indulgent deity is fundamentally wrong. This is true both with regard to moral sins, and doctrinal error. Though men may treat sin lightly, God does not. Those who are immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God (cf. Galatians 5:21; Romans 1:32). Those who disregard or modify God’s will for man will likewise suffer dire consequences (2 John 9-11).

By remembering God’s attitude toward sin, perhaps man will be motivated to live righteously before Him. “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.” (Revelation 2:2).