The Moral Sinner
A Journal Submission
Rev. William A. Whitcraft
The world is currently being led astray into darkness, like a black hole. Not by the ways of the Lord’s followers, but the way of the evil one, who has made his way inside the
church. Hiding heathen behavior behind moral coverings. Believe it or not, there are people within the church that are not Christians. They say they are Christians. They dress like Christians. They even listen to Christian music. We, as a church, make it easy. Indeed, there are people in the church who are leaning into a belief that some sin is acceptable. As if one sin were higher than another. If we are not careful and do not expose these issues in a way that glorifies God, we may well be a total failure in our part to fulfill the Great Commission.
Sin, according to the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) podcast, is “missing the mark” (Zacharias, 2018, part 1, web). Walter A. Elwell (1991), describes the biblical understanding of sin as not only an act of wrongdoing but a state of alienation from God (Elwell, 1991, p. 466). Moreover, in our context, sin is becoming commonplace, with acceptance from every corner of the West and beyond. As the RZIM podcast explains, Saul, in his humanly intent of the heart, slaughtered the sacrifice rather than waiting for Samuel. (Zacharias, 2018, part 1, web)
Sexual immorality is running rampant. The pornography industry is leading the charge. According to a recent article regarding virtual reality technology, “by 2025, such adult content is forecast to be a $1 billion business, the third-biggest virtual-reality sector, after video games ($1.4 billion) and NFL-related content ($1.23 billion), according to estimates from Piper Jaffray” (marketwatch.com, 2015, web). That is right; the entire world now has a reason to check out of reality. Seeing how much time is consumed by the average smartphone user in 2018, we can see these numbers quickly go higher than what we know. Tech time will also have an impact on human trafficking.
Persecution uprisings are being birthed by those who seek to destroy any sense of right and wrong. Many within the church wrestled with this and put it in the “it is not hurting anyone else” category. False prophets are rising and taking advantage of those in the dark and leading them into a falsehood of other religious worship. Peter foretells this, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves” (2 Peter 2:1, NIV). Need reminding of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Recalling a memory as a teenager, we had just come out of the Jesus Movement, and we headed into the anti-establishment era. [Also, the disco era but I suppressed those memories.]
All that can be said is it is unknown why we were protesting and fighting; however, the fact is, we were being led astray. If memory serves correctly, jobs to be an activist making $150.00 per week all expenses paid, and all that was required to do was get people riled up, were easy to obtain. To an impressionable 18-year-old, in the late seventies, that sounded like the coolest thing in the world. However, family values and the will of God turned these lives in a different direction. Point being, we were led astray because there were too many outside influences to catch our interest. If it had not been for the examples of the family integrity that make up the moral foundations in many of us, by Christ-following families, our lives could have had a whole different outcome.
So, are you saved? Are you “one who moralizes your life but does not know the moral lawgiver” (Zacharias, 2018, part 1 web)? Do we lie to ourselves? The author of this article used to. However, accepting an “all in” attitude helped me find my way to happiness. The kind of happiness I only saw in others. Accepting Jesus Christ, as Savior, saved this life for eternity!
“Pastor Bill, how can we be sure of salvation?” “I drive forty-five minutes to come to church every Sunday”; “I always give more than 10% in tithes”; and “I share all the Scripture posts on Facebook!” “I do not get drunk as often as I did.” “I cut out talking on the phone while I am driving.” “I am not that bad, am I?” “What more can I do?” “I am only one person!”
To this person, answer the question of this person with why drive forty-five minutes to a church each week? Is it because since living so far away, hinders being held accountable for lifestyle choices? Do they show sympathy for those that miss the mark on commandments that they were able to overcome (Zacharias, 2018, part 2, web)? If so, how are they helping others overcome? Have they publicly professed Jesus as their Savior through baptism? In other words, are they truly saved? Have they selflessly shared something with a stranger or invited someone on the street to sit have a meal, in order to share the gospel with him? Have they felt an overwhelming urge to seek more of Jesus and shape their lives around Him so that when people look at them, they see Jesus? Most of all, God gives us this ultimate forgiveness by grace not by works. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
If they can answer yes to all of these questions, ask two more. The first question to ask them is, is there hypocrisy in their lives? Do they cheat on the Lord when no one is looking? This question speaks directly to their integrity as well as their sanctification. The second is, are they willing to do anything short of sin to boldly step out of their comfort zone to bring people closer to Christ?
“Jesus describes the separation from God as a shroud of darkness” (Zacharias, 2018, part 3, web). This shroud is what some believe hid Adam and Eve from the Lord the day that they chose to betray our Lord God by eating from the forbidden tree. When we try to adjust the only angle which we can stand straight, the spiritually focused will “bring his life in tune with the Lord Jesus Christ so that he will be a reflector of the Lord” (Zacharias, 2018, part 4 web).
Once we acquire salvation, we should by the very nature of the Holy Spirit igniting a new life in our heart, set out to tell all we come across about the life saving good news we receive. Our salvation means freedom. Not freedom, to do as we wish; it is freedom from the penalty of sin. This freedom is a joyous revelation to which our mind is clear of doubt, allowing for the Love of Christ to shine on and through us.
it delivers from an evil heart, which is the source of all the sin in the life. It is natural for men to sin even while they hate it. The tendency to evil is in every nature, chained to it like a body of death so that when we would do good evil is present with us. It takes possession of the will and heart as a living death. It is offensive, it smells of the sepulchre, it is full of the poison of asps, it putrefies the whole moral being and bears it, too, down to death. Salvation frees us from its power and gives us a new nature. (Simpson, 1890, web)
We must first learn to give control over to the Spirit. We must read and learn God’s word so that we may share it with others. We must use the example of pure unconditional love with those that we come across. It would be ideal if we could stop to talk to everyone, but since that is next to impossible in a hustle-bustle society going at a hundred miles per hour pace, We suggest being intentional like Tommy who spends time once a week, helping inner-city kids learn carpentry. Theresa, who shares a book study once a week with hurting women. Also, Charlie, who gives rides to kids in the neighborhood, to church (with permission, of course). The fear here is that no one will react to this article. My fear and the fear of others should be, as revealed in a penning from A. B. Simpson, in 1890, that we might be saved alone.
So I can imagine a selfish Christian entering yonder portals. They meet him at the gates, “Where are your dear ones?” “Where are your friends?” “Where is your crown?” “Alas, I am saved alone.” God help you, reader, to so receive and give, that you shall save yourself and others also.
“Must I go, and empty-handed,
Must I thus my Savior meet,
Not one soul with which to greet Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?” (Simpson, 1890, web)
Note from the Author
If there is anyone that reads this and can relate to being distant from the Lord, or perhaps anxious to step out and help a friend or family member come closer to the Lord, I want you to know that I am praying for you. I am praying for you to overcome those fears and make progress in your next steps. My friends and readers God loves YOU! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God has an outrageous plan for your life! “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).
I leave you with these few verses and once you read them if you say that you believe and if you feel the Lord pulling you closer, please leave me a comment and how to get in touch with you or contact me by email at: info@ godatworkstories.com (space after the @ should be removed) or reach out to a pastor near you, so that we can help guide you in the next steps. Because of our sin, we are distant from God. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). The penalty for sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NIV). Jesus paid the penalty for our sins! “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV). If we confess our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved! “for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13, NIV).
“…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9,10).
Elwell, Walter A. (Ed). (1991). The Concise Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Abridged by Peter Toon). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House
Porn industry’s billion-dollar new frontier – MarketWatch. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-future-of-virtual-reality-depends-on-porn-2015-07-15
Simpson, R. A. B. (1890). The Fourfold Gospel. Retrieved from http://www.cmalliance.org/resources/archives/downloads/simpson/the-fourfold-gospel.pdf
Zacharias, R. (2018). The Lostness of Man, Part 1 | RZIM. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.rzim.org/listen/just-thinking/the-lostness-of-man-part-1
Zacharias, R. (2018). The Lostness of Man, Part 2 | RZIM. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.rzim.org/listen/just-thinking/the-lostness-of-man-part-2
Zacharias, R. (2018). The Lostness of Man, Part 3 | RZIM. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.rzim.org/listen/just-thinking/the-lostness-of-man-part-3
Zacharias. (2018). The Lostness of Man, Part 4 | RZIM. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.rzim.org/listen/just-thinking/the-lostness-of-man-part-4
*Special thank you to the following, for allowing the inclusion of their pictures for this article:
Img. 1. Wired.Com. Retrieved from. https://www.wired.com/2011/01/heavy-black-hole/
Img. 2. Public Domain Photography. Retrieved from. https://publicdomainphotography.com/photo/37021/Virtual-reality-headset—VR-glasses-with-action-sequence.html
Img. 3. The body. http://www.thebody.com/content/78797/why-are-hiv-groups-charging-gilead-with-bad-behavi.html
Img. 4. TV Tropes. Retrieved from. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LyingFingerCross