For God, Against Sin
By Lois J. Stucky
Among the early followers of Christ were those who found some of His sayings "hard" (John 6:60)--tough, severe. This issue of Herald of His Coming has what some will term "hard sayings" in it.
Words such as "repent," "obey," "do My will," "serve," "take up thy cross," are not welcome in many hearts in this self-pleasing hour. But God has spoken them to us in His Word. We must be faithful to one another as fellow travelers in the Christian way, to speak God's Word, whether it is well liked or not, humbly taking care lest we become ensnared in some sin ourselves.
And, oh, might we always speak or print "hard sayings" in the spirit of the compassionate Jesus who said, "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:47)! We humans have limited conception of how merciful and gracious God is. "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him" (Psa. 103:11). Who of us can measure that? God is not harsh.
But we need also to remember that God is holy and He has standards of holiness. The Bible speaks of God's mercy and graciousness and love and understanding, but it speaks as well of the "fierceness and wrath of the Almighty God" against sin. He speaks plainly and forcefully against sin.
We dare not take "hard sayings" lightly. God says in His Word, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word" (Isaiah 66:2).
In A. W. Tozer's article on page three, he writes of things we take for granted. If we, by God's grace, have been long on the upward way, we need to beware of taking it for granted that since we know much of God's Word, we are walking in the light of it. We need to continually examine ourselves by the Word of God, and see if indeed we are walking according to it. As the years go by and man's standards all around us change, we can let our carefulness about sin slip. We can let "little foxes" into the "vineyard" of our life, and they "spoil the vines" of a good Christian testimony.
If mature saints do not take God's word seriously and strive always to walk in the light of it, how can we expect new converts to do so? They watch us! Our laxness, our carelessness about sin, our letting down the standards, will set the path for their walk. Let's be willing to be thought "old-fashioned" about sin if it comes to that. Let's stand by Jesus and His Word. Let's hold high His standard of righteousness. Let us call sin "sin" and forsake it and reap His mercy -- Proverbs 28:13.
I was talking this week on the phone with a pastor's wife in California and we spoke about how even some Christians tend to look at you askance when you speak about living a transformed and a holy life. To show concern about the salvation of one whose lifestyle does not indicate he or she is a Christian, may bring the surprising response, "Oh, he (or she) came to Christ some years ago...." Many are ready to excuse and condone what we know from God's Word to be sin in the life rather than to confess and forsake it. This is living dangerously! We will meet God's Word at the Judgment seat!
Jesus said, "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, has one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 6:48).
The transformed life of a new convert is a great testimony. Be sure to read the item on this page, "I Watched You," for verification of the effective witness of a transformed life. We must not be satisfied in our own lives or in the lives of those with whom we have to do, with less than turning from sin and living a life glorifying to our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who paid so great a price to redeem us from our sin!