Two things were emphasized in the Lord’s admonition to the woman caught in adultery; “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more”. Both ingredients are needed by the sinner. It seems to me in my years of counseling that more emphasis is given the first admonition; “Neither do I condemn you” than the second; “sin no more”.
Often a person claims to be a Christian when there is little evidence of it in his lifestyle and he justifies himself by a remembrance of a decision he made for Christ somewhere in his past. Now, it may or may not be a legitimate conversion, but after admonishing a person to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith”, (II Corinthians 13:5), many have concluded that they were still dead in their trespasses and sins.
I am often reminded of characters in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Mr. By-Ends is from the town of Fair-Speech along with his friends, Lord Turn-about, Mr. Facing-both-ways, and Mr. Two-tongues. They all detest the true gospel and confess to never strive against wind and tide. If the way of Christianity seems difficult they will choose the way of compromise. Thomas Scott, D.D., comments on these professors of Christ. He writes, “When rest is given to the church, hypocrites often multiply more than real Christians.”
A sinner certainly needs to know that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but let us not stop there. Jim Owen, the author of Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word, has it right when he says that things have gone away from the truth. The terminology of the day is; “People hurt. They have diseases. They are traumatized. They are addicted. They are dysfunctional. These words fit into a victimized world much better than the words ‘sinner’ or ‘rebel’ or ‘wicked’.”
Let me say that sin must be addressed as the root of all those experiencing addictions or bondage. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 107:10-11; “Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons- Because they rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.”
Maybe you need to look at sin as the reason for your bondage. You must cry out as Paul did in Romans 7:24; “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” And, of course, he points to Christ who will redeem us from the law of sin and death. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Secular vs. Christian
Is the world’s view of what composes a professional man the same as God’s view? I found myself questioning that while at a Christian renewal center for help with my addictions.
When placed under the care of a Christian counselor, I found myself very disillusioned. He hadn’t been trained in psychology nor was he a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. This created a conflict within me. Whatever the source or origin of this dilemma is not important. Whether it was my own personal denial, Satan, or just the world’s view implanted in my mind for so long, I did not see him as being qualified to treat me; even though God did. Knowing the Christian lifestyle all too well from growing up in a home that promoted it as the key to success in life made it all too easy to take those values for granted. As I began to open up to Christ again and let Him guide my steps, I began to realize that secular textbooks place man’s knowledge and intellect far above anything else, but my counselor’s Textbook is the knowledge from a God that we cannot even begin to fully fathom. The textbooks of the world teach of chemical imbalance and a disease that we will always live with. His Textbook teaches that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus; “old things are passed away and behold, ALL things are become new”. All in all, I had to come to a place where only God’s grace can put us to fully comprehend that there is a big difference between man’s idea of truth and The Truth. That Truth is Jesus Christ.
Bethel student, August, 2004