Sin is so comfortable . . .
We take sin lightly in today's culture. We think that, maybe if we just love these people a little better they'll turn to God, or maybe if we are more inviting to them they'll come into the fold. If we accept their sin, they'll be more apt to accept us or will be more open to consider our religion (yes, i am calling it religion at this point, and not in a glamorous light).
We're sinners, too. Keep that always in mind.
Christianity is a stated fact from God. The reality of it is Heaven and, just as real, Hell. The possibility of achieving righteousness is as far away from us as it was for Cain the moment He killed his brother out of jealousy. We are Cain. We are murderers and adulterers, according to Scripture, if we have hated our brother or lusted after a woman. Guys, let's not sugar-coat it, you're an adulterer, i'm an adulterer; you're a murderer, i'm a murderer, even if we've never so much as touched a woman or held a weapon. In pre-Christ times, a man guilty of physically committing either of those sins would probably be put to death or else castrated, yet Christ and John tell us there's no distinguishing features from the emotion and the committed act. This is because God knows that, if not for His law and man's law, if there were no repercussions, no accountability, no shame, mankind would kill and fornicate profusely (as many in this world do regardless), and therefore puts our hearts in such a stalemate that if we were without law or penalty of any sort, we still would not commit such acts.. He knows the heart's intent. And He judges by it.
But here we have the majority of the world denying or unknowing of Christ. But it's not a matter of belief in existence. It's a matter of believing who He is, and not only that but believing Him unto repentance (do Satan and those under his unholy dominion not also declare that He is, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God?"--belief in His existence and identity serve no good without taking up the charge to follow Him) As a fact, it has to be denied or accepted as it is, unaltered and unopposable, just like any other fact.
"We as believers should so back people into a corner with the word of our testimony that they have to say one of three things: Either you are a liar, you are completely out of your mind, or what you're saying is true. People shouldn't be able to say, 'Well, that's what you're into, but it's not really my thing--but no! It is either for everyone, or it is completely false. Christianity is not an opinion, it is the truth of the universe in which we live." *When Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, the Bible says that when He saw the city, He wept over it.
This is not just some, "Oh, this makes me sad" kind of cry. This is weeping, this is a Brother clinging to His beloved sibling who is dying of lung cancer from smoking, saying, "If you had only listened!"
And here is where we are to step into Jesus' shoes and look at not just the state of the nation or the world, but the state of the Church, and say, weeping for them, "Listen while you still can!"
We take sin so lightly in today's Church that we don't condemn it, but rather invite it in as a part of the sinner (as opposed to being apart of the sinner). Sin is a catalyst for death, and Christ the catalyst for life, and these two go together like water and oil. And i know what you're thinking; under certain conditions, water and oil can mix. They did on the cross, and never will again.
Sin will lead nowhere but Hell, and it leads there as an interstate; straight and fast. And here, we are letting sin run rampant in our lives because we're too afraid of offending people. We put up with it from others, saying, "Well, I'm not contributing," but are we actually opposing?
Here's another analogy for it; picture your closest friend who is not a Christian, or else is a Christian in title but not in deed ("Sunday Christians"). It seems alright to leave well enough alone so long as they're not doing anything that will harm them, but go a little deeper into it with me. Sin leads to Hell; it leads to death. Picture them now holding a gun that they think is unloaded but actually has a bullet chambered. They're playing with it, taking it lightly, and they put it to their head. Do you stand idly by, saying, "Well, maybe it won't kill them"? Do you hope they pull it away before firing? Or do you do whatever it takes to stop them from splattering their gray matter across the sidewalk (perhaps a rough bit of imagery, but perhaps necessary).
This is a more real situation than if they had a real gun in their hand. This is the rest of eternity, not just the rest of a 65-70 year lifespan, a vapor.
If you're of the sort that says that we have authority over sin and we need to just keep praying for our country, i want to point out a few things real quick.
The first being that you're right, we do have authority over sin. We have authority to eat healthy, we have authority to abstain from sex, we have authority to pluck our eyes from our faces rather than to gaze upon something unholy or to cut off our hand if it causes us to sin. But how many actually exercise this authority? Faith . . . Action . . . Get the picture? They are married; they mandate other or they're pointless.
Another thing i want to mention is that suicide is at the highest rate in recorded history. Sex-related crimes such as rape and pedophilia and incest are also at all-time highs. Abortion, other forms of murder, alcoholism (in the form of drunkenness), recreational use of drugs; all these things are either at all-time highs or else on the rise. Your prayer life may be perfect, but if your faith (as married to and inseparable from action) life is complacent and careless, your prayers are nothing. There are even prayers that God sees as an abomination--but don't tell anyone in church that. It might offend them out of the pews. Better they offend God than for us to offend them, right?
The practicing of homosexuality is no longer seen as filthy and amoral, but is now celebrated as some sort of boldness.
Now look at these facts and tell me that we have authority over sin and that we just need to keep praying. We do have the authority, and we do need to keep praying, but until we exercise authority in our own lives and encourage it in the lives of those around us, there will never be a change--at least not one for the better.
I'm not claiming to be perfect, but i am claiming to be exercising authority over certain areas of my life that i have in the past given over to sin. I'm not acting as if my faith or prayer lives were perfect, but i am practicing them in the name of Jesus Christ, the Perfector** of our faith. I'm not saying i'm holy because, as said, we are impossibly distant from achieving righteousness, but i am saying i follow the only Righteous One.
In all this condemnation of flesh and sin, it is necessary to close this by mentioning that Jesus Christ died in your sin so you wouldn't have to die in it. He was resurrected on the third day by God, and the invitation to live in Christ's grace is available to you. All you have to do is ask, and then let Him work in you any way He will. It might hurt, it might require cessations of things you want to perpetuate, it might mean losing much of your life, but these things are not worth comparing to the glory of following Christ.
He is hope, peace, mercy, grace, and above all He is love.
* Mattie Montgomery, from his sermon, "The Blood Of The Lamb And The Word Of Their Testimony," February, 2012
** It is my opinion that perfector is a more logical spelling than the accepted form, perfecter