My Sin is Not Your Hope
“If that is the way Christians act, then I don’t want to be a Christian!” You have likely heard this many times and may have given tacit consent to the thought, having strong distaste for hypocrisy in religion.
There is no denying that followers of Christ should live so as to attract rather than repel; and we make no excuse for those lights who have gone out, or slat that has lost its savor. But one who uses the “If that is the way…” excuse is also copping out on responsibility.
Christianity, it its true sense, is not determined by what any person, high and noble or low and vile, does or says. The church, in its purest stage, is the product, not the mother of Christianity. God has not abdicated his throne nor Christ his divinely appointed roles. God distributes the rule (inspired truth) which reaches to all alike (2 Corinthians 10.12-14).
If I mislead someone by my conduct or teaching, I must answer for this in judgment (1 Corinthians 3.12-15). But my sin is not his righteousness. He is not released from his obligation to God because I failed to meet my obligations. Or, to put it another way, offense’s must come [sin and injustices will continue so long as this age lasts] but this does not excuse him “by whom the offense comes” (Matthew 18.7). The inevitability of sin does not excuse the sinner.
Are we to assume that the one who is disgusted by hypocrites has no need of forgiveness? If he knows what Christianity is not, does he know what it is and refuse to conform? Or has he confused a “good moral life” with Christianity?
True followers of Christ are morally upright, but they know they cannot trust in themselves for justification. Freely acknowledging their need for forgiveness, they trust in Jesus Christ for mercy and redemption. One has not learned the real meaning of Christianity until he so learns Christ.
And we do not learn Christ by studying the faults of others. We must turn our attention from the disciples and center it upon the Master. [From Plain Talk, Sept. 1979]