The Sin Fighter
Last week’s sermon said that Christians actively “fight sin in one another, and forgive constantly”. There is perhaps no better time than Good Friday to revisit what this means.
It does not mean constantly criticizing one another; gossiping about one another; “right-sizing” one another; or judging one another by one moment, instead of the direction of their trajectory of growth. I don’t see these one-another’s in Scripture.
But this does not mean we should be silent. This too is not love. Proverbs 27:5-6: “5Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Verse 5 means that needed, open rebuke is in fact love. To hide this brand of love is in fact the opposite of love.
Two common flaws cause us to hide our love, when its form must take rebuke. We are cowardly, timid: we let our fear of blowback have the last word. And we’re lazy: we prioritize our own present comfort.
Regardless, we are prioritizing self over the other’s good, which is the same thing as causing a roadblock to God’s glory.
Leviticus 19:17 - “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor . . .” - is followed by Leviticus 19:18 - “. . . you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” That last phrase means God’s glory is the top priority. We forget how God glorified himself to us: we beheld Him, and loved Him, and rejoiced in Him. But for these to happen, He had to remove sin. We did not need Someone to just profusely kiss us, and tell us we were OK - leaving us blind to the glory of God. We have already have an Enemy who’s really good at that. To hide wise, rebuking love is to be like that one.
No, we needed a Lion, bold and clear, holy and just, who would not shrink from declaring sin sin - who would roar in wise anger against it. Jesus is that for us - the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5).
But we also needed a Lamb, who would be so filled with wise love that he would take all our sin upon himself, becoming sin itself, thereby removing sin from us. Jesus the Lion is that Lamb (Rev. 5:6). Behold the complex love of God for us, which maps so perfectly upon our needs! May He channel this love through us, as we behold Jesus, our Lion-Lamb.