“If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” We’ve all heard that saying, but this time it came from a sister in Christ sitting in my counseling office. As we continued to talk about the role of women, this time about submission, she said, “I’m an educated woman! Why should I submit to him?” Since then I’ve heard many such comments, but I’ve never forgotten how saddened I was by her statement and the awareness of how much feminism has infiltrated the church of the Living God.
But the truth is, many of us, though we want to live godly lives, chafe against some of the Bible’s teaching on women or passages on modesty or authority. We’re too often tempted to think, “That’s not fair!” or question why God would give us certain commands. So how are we to understand these things? Continue reading →
FREEDOM … we love it and in Christ we have a great deal of Christian liberty, but we are also called to love and prefer others. So how much freedom are you willing to give up out of love for your spouse or your brother or sister in Christ?
We love freedom. And we should. Christ suffered and died to set us free from the power and penalty of sin. His truth and grace sets us free from both religious legalism and the hopelessness that a life of sin can bring. But freedom, though precious and valuable, should be used carefully. Paul said it this way:
“… beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak” (v. 9).
And he ends this chapter with these thoughts:
And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble (vss. 12-13 NLT).
What are you willing to give up for your weaker brothers and sisters? What are you willing to forego for the cause of Christ?
Are you willing to give up that glass of wine? Or the latest movie?
Ladies, are you willing to quit wearing that new blouse if it might tempt your brother in Christ with wrong thoughts? Or your sister in Christ to wonder where her husband’s eyes are going?
Men, are you willing to forego going out with the guys and doing something you consider harmless if it causes your spouse distress? Continue reading →
Sin is disfiguring and highly contagious. Paul warned that we can catch it from others and that it’s better to be thrown into the sea with a weight around our necks than to be a carrier spreading it to others.
Have you exposed yourself to some contagious sins? Are you guilty of spreading some sin to others?
Leprosy! What could God possibly have for us in all the discussion of bright skin, white skin, scales and scabs?
Notice that God called this leprosy an uncleanness, not a disease. It was not the same disease we refer to today as leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). It is said that Pharaoh (of Moses fame) was infected with it and may have died from it. So it may have been associated with the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians. Even in the New Testament, when Jesus came in contact with lepers, it says He cleansed them, not that He healed them.
Leprosy in the Bible is a type, or a picture of, sin. When God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt, he told them:
“If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex. 15.26).
God used leprosy as an immediate judgment on sin numerous times in the Bible. When we get to the book of Numbers we will see Moses’ sister Miriam was struck with leprosy when she murmured against her brother. She was cleansed when Moses prayed for her.
We know that the Israelites frequently disobeyed God’s commands by involving themselves with the pagan culture around them, so at times, it may have been a judgment on sin, either in the individual’s life or on the nation, as a whole.
Contagious & Disfiguring
What does this picture for us? As with sin, leprosy didn’t kill outright in most cases, but it greatly disfigured its victims. And like leprosy, sin is extremely contagious! Paul said
“Do not be deceived. ‘Bad company corrupts good morals'” (1 Cor. 15.33).
Not only can we catch sin from those we associate with, but we’re warned not be carriers!
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk. 9.42).
Sins like anger, bitterness and gossip, as well as others, are highly contagious.
Just as leprosy resulted in separation from the rest of the people, sin separates us from others! First and foremost, It separates us from God. In the case of unbelievers, sin separates them from the life of God here and from spending eternity with Him. If we are truly believers we don’t lose our salvation, but it hinders our fellowship with Him when our hearts are clouded by sin.
There are, also, times when we are commanded to put sinners, even our brothers and sisters in Christ, outside the fellowship, or “camp,” where God alone deals with them (1 Cor. 5). Continue reading →