Two weeks ago we looked at three passages from Matthew that remind us of the high value Jesus placed on actions. Believing the right thing is good, but for Jesus right action is equally good and maybe better. Seeing the high value Jesus placed on actions helps us understand his mandate throughout the gospels to, “leave your life of sin” or “stop sinning.” This may confront some of our attempts at evangelism and spiritual formation by reminding us that evangelism and spiritual formation must address sinful actions and lifestyles because people will be judged by their actions like a tree is judged by its fruit.
This idea is not new. Rather, for many of us it sounds old and worn out as if the day of preaching about sin passed away with our grandparents. Absolutely not. While we have needed to adopt a kinder and gentler way of talking about sin, we cannot stop talking about it because Jesus talked about it. We cannot stop talking about it because the road of spiritual formation (that is: becoming increasingly like Jesus) demands that we sin less and act righteously more.
Yet two issues hinder us from talking seriously about sin and righteousness.
- Our own ongoing sinful actions and lifestyle.
- Our confusion about what is identified as sin.
[to be continued next week…]