Resource Guides for the Week of 16 March

We have all seen the sandwich boards announcing God’s impending judgment on America for some tabloid sin that the sign-bearer feels God has singled out. Some make make fun, but most of us walk by ignoring the “prophet” with indifference or with silent disdain. The truth is we all have “an invisible sandwich board" with the sins we find most offensive. The growing relational challenge, within Christian communities is the “kingdom standoff” that is created when one person or group confronts another’s sins. The response will frequently be a swift defensive response that points out the sins of the “accuser” or Church that are more significant.

How dare we discuss sexual sins when God cares for the poor? Would you really exclude someone who is living together from leadership when there are more scriptures addressing greed? Could someone indifferent to the poor be on leadership? Gossipers? What about people who are divorced? Any discussion of sins — especially those we are uncomfortable recognizing ourselves— inevitably leads to charges of inconsistency, duplicity, and/or hypocrisy. And the truth is these accusations are true … true for every one of us! This is what Paul is saying in Romans 1.18-3.26 and concisely summarized in Romans 3.23: “Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”

Unfortunately, the legalist within us fixates on Paul’s sin lists by ranking the sins on a scale of relative depravity. This completely misses the point. The purpose of Paul’s list is to illustrate the sin we share and the comprehensive and relentless grace that can completely cleanse us.  There is no reason for me to downplay, redefine, or hide my sins before God. Their power, their stain, and their alienation disintegrate before the Cross where "God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5.21)

Let’s celebrate this full grace … and enjoy your LifeGroup!

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