I have heard a lot of criticism about people that have lifestyles contrary to scripture. I have heard stories of people that ministers wouldn’t marry because they were living together. People go on television and state that homosexuals should be killed for violating scriptures. “They’re sinners and their going to Hell!”
Well, so am I. I am a sinner, and I was going to Hell. The Bible had clear rules about what I was and was not supposed to do, and I did them anyway. I am a single mother with a daughter. Leaving out the circumstances of how and why, I am still in violation of scripture. I am supposed to be married to her father, and divorce is not an option. If we do not get to go to heaven because we are sinners, then no one would get to go. How can I be saved if I am a sinner, but my brother or sister cannot be? Isn’t the judgment of others also a sin?
Romans 2:1 NIV
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Matthew 7:3 NIV
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
The Bible states that we are not saved by works, so that none can boast. You can’t be good enough to go to heaven. If that is true, then you cannot be beyond the mercy of Jesus Christ. Actually, the Bible says that all sins and blasphemies are forgiven but one, which is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. As I understand that would be to turn away from Jesus Christ and accept the debt for your sins.
Mark 3:28-29 NIV
I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.
It is true that in the Old Testament God had a list of rules and a list of consequences for the violation of those rules. People were stoned and executed for breaking God’s law. People paid the debt of sin through animal sacrifice to become clean. However, Jesus Christ is part of a new covenant. He is the sacrifice required for the forgiveness of sins. He is the one that offers pardon to the sinner. We do not have that power or authority to grant salvation, so we cannot have the power to condemn.
The Bible gives us the law so that we can see how far from perfect we are, not so that we can measure how far from perfect our neighbor is. For it is only in seeing our own shortcomings that we can accept the grace of God. It is God’s word instructing us on how to be obedient and pleasing in His sight, not as a tool used against your neighbor in condemnation.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible also shares the teachings of Jesus Christ that told us to love and forgive our neighbor, and not to judge. He actually spent a majority of his time with the sinner, the diseased, the forgotten, and the unclean. He brought them love and mercy. He stood between the mob and a condemned woman and challenged them to cast their stones, and these were men and women who thought they were obeying God’s law.
John 8:7 NIV
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
It was never our commission to criticize or judge. That responsibility belongs to the Father alone. There are many people whom we would say were not deserving of salvation. There are many people we would look at and say of them, “They are not a Christian.” That determination is beyond our scope and understanding. We don’t get to make that decision. How many of us would feel that a man being executed on death row deserves heaven? Jesus did.
Luke 23:39-43 NIV
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This man had lived in sin his whole life. It was only at the moment of his death that he turned to Jesus Christ for salvation. He wasn’t baptized, he didn’t attend church, he didn’t tithe, and he didn’t put in volunteer hours or charity work. He confessed his faith to Jesus Christ, and he was saved.
Our responsibilities are to share the teaching of the Bible, the message of salvation, and the gospels. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves as Christ loved us, which means while we were still sinners. We are to forgive those that persecute us, and pray for our enemies. We are to be a model of Christ’s mercy here on earth to our brothers and sisters.
Worry about your own batting average and let Jesus be the umpire and decide who is out.