Pleading for Sin and Pleading for Righteousness

A friend mentioned I hadn’t posted in nearly a month. I’ve been working on my book about the Council of Nicea. 10 chapters done, 1 chapter to write, and 9 to edit. I also have to edit the glossaries. I hope to have it done within a month. It will be about 400 pages long, and there’s a lot of unique information.

It also does what I’m always trying to do with Christian History for Everyman: tell you stories to educate, entertain, and pique your interest, then put the sources in your hand so you can be an expert, too.

But I don’t want to completely neglect the blog.

Today I read in Jeremiah 23:14 about shepherds who “strengthen the hands of evildoers” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

It made me think of George Fox, founder of the Quakers, who said complained about preachers who would “plead for sin.”

The purpose of the Scriptures, according to Paul in 2 Tim. 3:17, is to thoroughly equip us for every good work. That’s great; there’s a pattern there because that’s the purpose of the new birth, too (Eph. 2:10).

How much preaching today, however, ‘strengthens the hands of evildoers’ by explaining why we can’t stop sinning and why works don’t matter?

Jesus’ blood does provide forgiveness of sin and access to the throne room of God. But aren’t we entering the throne room of God specifically to access the grace that teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Tit. 2:11-12), that causes sin to lose its power over us (Rom. 6:14), and that makes us zealous for good works (Tit. 2:14).

Admittedly, we all “stumble in many ways” (Jam. 3:2). All the more reason, then, that we don’t need help in stumbling!!! Let us plead for righteousness, considering how to provoke one another to love and good works.

Consider Strengthening the Hands of Well-Doers

Rather than strengthening the hands of evil-doers, let’s strengthen the hands of well-doers, for it is only those who do not grow weary in well-doing who will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:9). All cowards, liars, adulterers, and such have their part in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).

My daughter likes to tell me she’s bored every now and then so I can throw out suggestions about things she can do. Recently she reminded me that I once told her, “Why don’t you sit on the couch and stare at the wall.”

I have a new suggestion for those with time on their hands, bored or not.

Consider.

Doesn’t the command to consider suggest that we should be stopping and thinking? Maybe sitting on the couch and staring at the wall isn’t such a bad idea.

And what are we to consider?

How to provoke one another to love and good works.

Let’s be those who strengthen the hands of well-doers and who frighten evil-doers the way God wants to (1 Pet. 1:17).

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4 Responses to Pleading for Sin and Pleading for Righteousness

  1. Shammah says:

    Thanks, Faith. I adjusted the reference to include v. 12. I was citing from memory. I really thought the “denying ungodliness” part was still in v. 11. I better get back to memorizing the NT before I forget it all
    :-D.

  2. Faith says:

    Thanks Shammah. I’ve not looked at it that way, though obvious, that some plead for sin and indulgences rather than righteousness. Also that our good works were prepared before hand. He has a path for us each to walk.

    One note: your reference to Titus 2:11 should probably be 2:12 for precision sake 😉 Looking up your references and reading in context always helps and underscores what you teach.

    May the teacher’s reward- Gal 6:6 be your’s multiplied!

  3. Mark (Jon) says:

    I have never unterstood why forgiveness, grace etc. would be/is taken to mean an excuse for sin. If the God of the universe is kind enough to forgive your sin then surely you’d want to live for him, and flee from the rubbish that destroys your life. Infact, that wanting to live for him is salvation and a work of the Spirit.

    I am (albeit slowly) learning what it means to depend on Christ for deliverence from sin and strength for righteousness. It seems to be a case of daring to believe he can do it.

  4. Jeff says:

    Good stuff Shammah. Exactly right. Grace is great but liberty is not supposed to be a cloak for vice (or what ever else that’s sin).

    Jesus said to keep knocking and keep asking (if needed, as needed, I guess). In this case, I’d say if someone is earnest about God, and they still stumble all the time, or have their heart in wrong places, they need to ask God to show them what it means to be a real Spirit-led Christian.

    God said He would do that. But people have to want it too. Grace is a start to teach us to become more like Jesus.

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