Text Size: Zoom In

Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner?

DSCN5314There may be a point in the distinction between hating the sin and loving the sinner. But it’s risky business. And some of us might be better off leaving the job to someone else.

By now, more than a few of us have probably discovered that it is hard to point our finger at anyone other than ourselves as “the sinner”—without self-identifying as a first class hypocrite. How many times have we heard the distinction made about hating the sin, but loving the sinner, when those talking about “the sinner” were referring to themselves?

Yes, this can seem confusing. By the wisdom of Solomon, God hates a lot of practices that are harmful to ourselves and others (Prov 3:16-19). Isn’t it, then, our responsibility to fearlessly speak that truth?

Maybe not. We aren’t God. Nor has God, himself, condemned any sin without a plan and willingness to bear the pain and consequence of “the sinner” in the body of his own Son.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn anyone, but rather to be condemned by sinners like us—for us.

The result is that now when people like us cry out, “God me merciful to me the sinner” we get what we ask for—mercy. Just as importantly, by pointing the finger at ourselves, we find the credibility we need to declare the best news ever heard. There is hope for anyone like us.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+21 rating, 21 votes)

97 Responses to “Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Here is the trap from which there is no escape except silence. Just by pointing out the guilty in this topic you become the guilty and are guilty of judging by being accused of judging.

    Jesus may not have come to accuse anyone but He had some very harsh words for “scribes and Pharisees” in Matthew 23: 1-39.

    In fact Jesus’ followers offer all who listen a choice of accepting Him as Lord or “condemned” for not.

    The entire ministry of Jesus’ teaching is about how to live correctly by His view as a contrast as how not to live according to the will of God.

    The entire Bible is an example of right and wrong choices good and bad results meant I believe to show us the way to live a “right” life and avoid being condemned.

    How is it possible to understand light without darkness? How then is it possible to “lead” others to Jesus without showing the contrast between good and evil, between “Christ and Anti-Christ”?

    It just isn’t possible to not notice sin or bad behavior in another; so the issue becomes do we point out that behavior to that person or just remain silent.

    What as a parent do we do when our children lie or steal or violate any of the principals of right living? We point out to them such behavior is wrong or not? How can a parent be considered a hypocrite for trying to teach an errant child? I would suppose an argumentative child may accuse their parent of such in an attempt to justify their behavior, but that don’t make it “right”.

    Not sure where this subject is going to go Mart other than in a circle.


  2. Mart De Haan says:

    Good morning, Steve, thanks for your comments. You and I might be talking past one another. But let’s let it play out.

  3. sawaybon says:

    “Hate” has become such a vilified word; it is perhaps now the worst four-letter word in our society, especially when attributed to Christians. Because it has even become criminalized, I would suggest avoiding the use of it. I heard someone suggest rephrasing the expression like this: “Love the sinner, but not the sin”. It keeps the focus on love, which should characterize us as followers of Christ.

  4. saled says:

    I wonder just what Eve thought she was gaining by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Isn’t this what judgement is all about? It is very clear to me that there is no one on earth capable of standing in God’s place to say what is good and what is evil. Like Mart said, we are not God.

    It is one thing to try to correct an errant child. But how far do you carry this? Remember the hair length debate of the 60’s? ‘Correcting’ a teenager to our own point of view is often impossible. But in the ways that really matter, we would give our life to make our children good and spare them from disgrace, jail, or worse.

    I sometimes feel more cursed by my supposed knowledge of good and evil than by Eve’s disobedience.

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Mart, we often stumble over each other’s thoughts and that’s ok as how we get a dialog going. It’s very difficult to talk of a subject without different ways of viewing it.

    I admit sometimes I am very guilty of hating the sin and sinner as well, but equally guilty of trying to find a way not to.

    34 degrees this morning.


  6. jim0514 says:

    Good morning all, just joined your site as I have not been getting the been thinking abouts in hard copy anymore, and i enjoy reading them. You are a brave and patient man Mart to have ever undertaken such a venture.
    On to the subject, what are you scared of, we are to be light in a dark world. Even though we are guilty of the same sins, those who have received the forgiveness that Jesus offers are compelled to speak up, not to condemn, but to point people to Jesus.

  7. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Solomon has in view the Tree of Life — to the Jews, Torah, to Jesus-followers, The Word. The thing is, it seems to me, that there is only positive and good in the presence of The Word made flesh. (1 John 1:5) Nothing else endures in his blinding glory.

    Solomon has offered us Wisdom personified — very transforming in that time, but now, we have Jesus the Messiah — of much more worth than Lady Wisdom. The power of God’s love in Jesus’ mighty acts of self-sacrifice and victory over death dissipates all darkness forever. On Jesus the whole cosmos pivots and conforms to God’s will.

    Surely the only pointing I may do is to point to Jesus, who embodies the unfathomable love of the Father — and who promised and sent us the blessed Holy Spirit.


  8. tracey5tgbtg says:

    When Mart makes a statement like “Jesus didn’t come to condemn anyone, but rather to be condemned by sinners like us—for us,” I have to say that those words are very important to me.

    I think people miss the full meaning in those words – that Jesus took the condemnation that I deserve; He died the death that I deserve to die. He took the condemnation you deserve and He took the death that you deserve to die. Why? Psalm 8:4.

    There is no one righteous, not even one.

    I simply don’t understand this belief in the right or need to point out the failings and flaws of others. Are the sins we see in a person really the only ones that are going on? And if we manage to project an image of a person who is good, does that mean we have no hidden sin? If I see a person who is lying and/or stealing and/or being sexually immoral and I tell them to stop or else they will go to hell, and in response they stop lying and stealing and give up sex entirely, because they really don’t want to go to hell, does that mean they can now go to heaven and that my warning SAVED them?

    In John 8:1-10, the Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus – because they could. He was there in the flesh. Jesus is not here in the flesh now. So how do we bring these sinners to Jesus? I believe through prayer. By going to the throne of grace on their behalf. Jesus did not allow the Pharisees to stay and hear what He said to the woman, and He probably won’t allow us to either. It is between Jesus and that individual. Did Jesus tell the woman, “Go and sin no more AND I’m going to have these religious guys keep an eye on you to make sure you are staying in line.”?

    I am a very quiet, law-abiding person. People think I’m a nice, shy, trustworthy, reliable individual. They can’t see how in my heart there is a struggle with selfishness, deceitfulness, desire, anger, envy, bitterness – everything that is contemptible. Before I can bring others to the throne of grace, I have to humbly kneel there myself.

    When you go humbly before the Lord in prayer on behalf of someone else, you will see the chains that hold them and hurt them and you will long, not for their chastisement, but for them to be set free.

    It’s all Jesus. From beginning to end, it’s all Jesus. Romans 8:1

  9. Artle says:

    If we stand in the Light of Christ, you and I, then we will not see sin or a sinner in each other.

    We might see sin in others (saved or unsaved), but looking for sin in others is a pointless activity, because we cannot see all the sin in another’s life and we don’t need to look for sin to know they have sinned, are sinning and will continue to sin. That’s what people do, the saved and the unsaved alike.

    Looking inward into our own life is the only place we should be looking for sin and it is the only sin we should hate.

    I’m trying to think if there is a time when noting another’s sin is useful and I cannot come up with it. It is a paramount waste of spiritual energy which should be used pointing people to Jesus (welcome jim0514). So, if I’m not noting sin, I can easily move on to “declare the best news ever heard. There is hope for anyone like us”, and everyone else too.

    I assume me = be.

  10. poohpity says:

    Pride looks at the sin in others so they can put their selves on a pedestal of righteousness. (Luke 18:10-14 NLT)

    Humility confesses the sin found in my heart causing me to look up to the pedestal of righteousness found in Jesus. The more I see within my heart the more grace will abound. I will treat others how I want to be treated, with mercy. It is then and only then that the Kingdom of Heaven will be given to me. (Matt 5:3 NLT) That is the only way I can see how vast God’s love really is.(Luke 7:47 NLT)

  11. quietgrace says:

    Pooh following on the heels of Luke 7:47 NLT there seems to be no room for anything BUT love, and love, as defined in I Cor. 13 NLT says nothing about judging, or defining and pointing out sin to others.

    As far as Jesus explaining sin to the Pharisees, the Holy Spirit (Christ in us) is very capable of convicting others of sin. People are convicted of sin by our words but, the Holy Spirit is the one that brings true conviction, not us. It takes true discernment to know when to speak and when not to. Mostly, our witness is through our service which is often costly to us in the sheer physical, mental, and emotional strain (our cross) that we expend. It takes more strength to love someone that doesn’t deserve to be loved, but can be done when we see Christ in them, and remember how much Christ loved us-who also didn’t deserve to be loved-to the point of death.

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… knowing where this sin/sinner identity crisis usually leads us, into to pointing to others and judging others saying they are pride filled if they ever expose another’s sin, I’ll make my loving scriptural contribution by saying that the bible teaches us through the law for one, exactly what sin is.
    So we are not to be without knowledge as sinning unknowingly because through the many warnings given, the teachings of Paul and Christ to name a few, silence or hiding from speaking up in the face of sin is probably committing a sin of omission, (to let others continue to walk in disobedience to God’s word) just so you won’t be judged or labeled as being a pride filled judge yourself?
    That would be like watching someone float down the stream napping away in their boat knowing they are going to be in peril if they continue on their course by not telling them that the waterfall is just ahead, just as not to disturb their closed eyed peace.
    A light can’t shine forth in the darkness by hiding under a bowl either.
    Of course the labels are going to fly, saying that one must be hypocritical, holier than thou, bible bashing, prideful, and an accuser of the brother’s, all to silence what most do not want to hear.. the truth.
    Even if the bible teaches we are not be silent, but because of some “other teaching” that is not in the bible and has now allowed some to believe otherwise as it ignores the fact that their now beloved or besetting sin actually separates one from a Holy God, who yes lovingly awaits their return, which is the story of the Prodigal son.
    While so many today we like to dwell on the remaining accusing son finding fault only in him, but if I remember correctly he was actually initially silent, oops!
    Remember this, there was only one prodigal in the story and shouldn’t he be the focus.

    I guess some here would say,I should have also remained silent.

  13. poohpity says:

    There are several places in scripture that teaches us how to address when one of our brothers/sisters in Christ has fallen into sin but it seems the main point in doing so is restoration not condemnation. Then the qualifier seems be the spirituality or humility in the one who gently does this. The spiritual person knows that it is God who examines the heart of His children. Gal 6:1-4 NLT; 1 Cor 4:4-5 NIV

  14. poohpity says:

    Another very good lesson to remember is that with the same measure of judgement we use on others that is how we will be measured. So that seems to mean that when we have the sharp stick of judgement that will be how the Lord will deal with the one who used that sharp stick. I do not know about others but I sure do want to be dealt with in mercy not judgement. Luke 6:37-41 NLT

  15. poohpity says:

    Gary are you talking about what Solomon says about silence? Proverbs 17:27-28 NLT

  16. Bill says:

    Good Afternoon,

    This is an interesting post (not that they all aren’t, but this one contains within it a powerful, but subtle, teaching, a wisdom that I can see some understand…and some don’t).

    I’ve never known Mart not to call sin sin. Even if I didn’t know him personally, I’d know that from reading his posts here over the past few years.

    So he’s not saying sin should be ignored. Or accepted. Or tolerated.

    So that must mean he’s saying something else.

    What could that be?

    I believe what he’s saying is that there’s enough condemnation in the world. What if we take a break from adding to it and just be Jesus’ arms, legs, eyes, ears (especially ears!), and heart?

    In short, take the planks from our own eyes, get our own houses in order, perhaps even re-examine the scriptures, and share Jesus’ teaching on love – rather than on condemnation?

    The word “sin” has come to mean everything from reading Harry Potter books to drinking beer to listening to rock music to mowing the lawn on Sunday to violations of the 11 Commandments (yes, there are 11, not 10). Everything with which we’ve disagreed is “sin.” The world has been told it’s sinning for so many years that it hasn’t a clue what the word even means.

    And if we’re constantly telling people they’re sinners, how is that Good News?

    I’ve spent a lot of time reading blogs, books, and listening to/watching people. I see lots and lots and lots of activism, people marching forth under this banner or that, telling everyone else they have to change.

    I daresay the Internet has made activism part and parcel of life, and those not “activists” made to feel like they aren’t doing anything to “save the world.”

    Christians are professional activists. seemingly on a 24/7 mission to conform everyone to their likeness.

    The trouble is, which likeness is that? The Catholic likeness? The Presbyterian likeness? The CRC likeness? A “progressive Christian” likeness? A conservative Christian likeness? A pro-choice likness? A pro-life likeness? An ecology-minded likeness?

    Name a cause and you’ll find an equivalent activist espousing it.

    So the world hears, “You must change!” from all sides. It hears, “You are sinning!” from all sides.

    There are about seven billion people on this planet, with 2-3 billion of them identifying as Christians – many millions of whom are professional activists for one cause or another.

    And yet the world continues to go to hell in a hand basket – and at a pace that would make an Indy Car racer’s pulse pound.


    I think it’s because the world is exhausted from trying to believe everything – and being told its wrong no matter what it believes.

    I have given up being a professional activist. And I did so around the time I realized the New Testament doesn’t ask me to be.

    The Gospel, the Good News, enables me to be an Ambassador of Christ, proclaiming the Good News that the price was paid, that all we need to do is acknowledge what Jesus did – and we, too, will be free from sin and its condemnation.

    In short, I preach the Gospel of Love and Forgiveness.

    Which is what I think Jesus preached.

    That is the “truth.” It is the only “truth” that matters.

    Feed my sheep. Love one another. The greatest of these is love.

    It’s a very, very simple Gospel…tailor made for a world awash in professional activism and people shouting, “Sinner!” all the time.

    It’s not my job to tell others they’re sinning. It’s my job to tell them Jesus loves them and forgives them. It’s my job to feed them and clothe them. It’s my job to do my best to care for this planet. It’s my job to take care of my wife, my cat, and my self.

    God didn’t die and leave me in charge. He lives and left us all in charge.

    Love to all,


  17. Bill says:

    By the way, “hate the sin but love the sinner” is a slippery slope.

    I intensely dislike that phrase (almost as much as “speak the truth in love”) because no one I’ve ever known who uses it seems able to separate one from the other. Hating the sin equates to shunning the sinner as well.

    For example, some of the most sin-hating people I know have NO friends (not even acquaintances) who are gay, witches (or Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, etc.), women who have had abortions (or who plan to), non Christians, alcoholics, prostitutes or adulterers – or even friends who belong to other denominations.

    The way I see it, until I’m ready, willing, and able to embrace (literally!) those who I intend to call “sinner,” then I’m not worthy to be Christ’s Ambassador. If I cannot break bread with those whose lives are 180 degrees opposite from mine then I am not worthy to be called a Christian.

    But that’s just me, and just my opinion.

  18. blestsparrow says:

    In my early years of being a christian and very ignorant of God’s word, I once made an unkind remark about an individual and very lovingly a Christian lady said to me these words . .

    “but for the grace of God, there go I”

    I have never forgotten those 9 profound words spoken 35 years ago and to this very day, when ever I am tempted to say or even think a judgemental, unkind thought….those words come back to me…

    “but for the grace of God, there go I”

    We can only live from day to day, moment to moment by the grace of God. A.Peter was always quick to say he would never do this, or never do that” God showed him he wasn’t as strong as he thought he was. So it is with us, we are only kept by the mercy and grace of God.

    Grace and mercy for the meanest of the flock, His grace not only saves to the uttermost(Hebrews 7:25), meaning the lowest degree, but it saves to the guttermost.

    “but for the grace of God, there go I”

  19. bubbles says:

    Sometimes Christians may see the sin and not the person. We need to see them as someone that Jesus loves and died for just like He did for us. This does not mean we agree with what they do. Jesus ate with Pharisees and talked with tax collectors. Think about how Peter was, and yet Jesus loved them. He had a conversation with a Samaratian (it’s misspelled) woman who was living in sin. He stopped a woman caught in the act of sin from being stoned.

  20. quietgrace says:

    I once came upon an exuberant new believer in a fast-food place trying to tell a Buddhist follower about Jesus, and she was throwing scripture at him like crazy and he was shouting back about Buddha’s good points. It was kind of funny, but I felt I should step in and very quietly said to the Buddhist that Buddha didn’t die for his sins as Jesus has, and he answered quite angrily, “Oh yes he did”! I knew then he was still learning about the Buddhist philosophy and prayed that eventually he would come to the truth in his search. I also prayed for the new believer that she would continue to grow in her faith and learn how to preach with love.

    I’m not sure why I’m sharing this except that it is a good reminder to me to be kind and loving in my encounters with non-believers.

  21. Artle says:

    Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (NASB) That is a fairly clear statement, but we need to back up into chapter 7 to see why Paul makes the statement, where he talks about the war between the flesh and the spirit within his life and comes to the point, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24 NASB. He gives the answer in the next verse, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:25 NASB He has Jesus, but the struggle is still there.

    This is the information that everyone needs to hear. Jesus is not interested in condemning anyone, but giving them control over the sin in their life. It is not a case of they need to be perfectly clean before they accept Jesus. The cleansing does not start until after the belief starts. One does not need to get cleaned up to take a bath. And once one believes, they are not washed by their own efforts, but by the presence of Christ within purifying them from the inside out as long as they continue to believe.

    Salvation does not wipe sin out, but it does bring it under control. This is why there is hope for one and all, because it is not about us. It is about Jesus.

  22. Mart De Haan says:

    oneg2dblu, the parable you referred to is interesting. When we look at the context (Luke 15:1-3) and think of the way the whole story plays out, how many boys are in the father’s heart? At the point at which Jesus’ leaves the story, how many boys share the father’s heart?

  23. Bill says:

    @Artle, you wrote:

    “And once one believes, they are not washed by their own efforts, but by the presence of Christ within purifying them from the inside out as long as they continue to believe.”

    What if the believer waivers, falters – for an hour? For a day? For a season?

    What happens to that sin? What happens to the Christian?

    If the “purifying” depends on me maintaining consistent belief, then I’m doomed.

    You wrote:

    “Salvation does not wipe sin out, but it does bring it under control.”

    Do you mean our propensity, our ability, to sin?

    Or, do you mean sin itself?

    The former, I can understand. We are not turned into robots, programmed to lead lives free from committing sins.

    However, our sins – past, present, and future – ARE wiped out by the blood of Jesus. They are no more.

    That reminds me of something.

    Why would we need to constantly berate fellow believers to stop sinning (whatever we think they’re doing of which we don’t approve) if their sins are already forgiven? What mortal danger are they risking?

    If it’s just that we don’t wish to see them hurt themselves by sinning, then our tone ought to be more compassionate and loving, gentle. But if we think they’re at risk of damnation, eternal separation from God, then we’re way off base.

    Of course, all of this is pure speculation on my part. I don’t know what the Bible says on some of these issues any more than you guys do. I know what I think it says. I know what I’ve been taught it says. I know what I’d like it to say. But what it really says, what it really means, is anyone’s guess.

  24. jim0514 says:

    Wow, what a plethora of thoughts. Its apparent that most commentators are seasoned veterans of the Lord. It seems most agree, and I also, that all must be done in love, after all it is the love of God that leads us to repentance. I try to befriend all I come into contact with, however there is a point where after we understand who each other is and that it appears they are not interested in anything that God offers them that I draw a line. Not a line of rejection, just a line that makes it known that I am not going to compromise who I am now. I am still a friend if they want that, but there is a diffenence between how I think and how they think. After all I have already been where they are, and I’m not interested in going back. I believe that to be biblical and even when dealing with believers it is biblical. I sometimes think there is a little too much passivity going on, we are not of this world, and there is no point in pretending we are.

  25. Artle says:

    Bill, I think there is a point of no return where faith and belief overwhelm doubt and unbelief, and I personally feel as though I have passed that point. I know faith assures salvation, so it stands to reason that continued faith will assure continued salvation. The part of the mystery beyond that is not perfectly clear to me. I have been looking at that quite intently of late and I could say it is less foggy than before, but still not clear.

    Faith is the key and it is individual, so what matters is what you believe, not what I believe.

    I know I need to maintain my belief in Jesus Christ. A glimmer of a belief, even an inkling of an idea that He exists is enough to maintain the connection.

    Faith comes from the heart and we are not necessarily consciously aware of everything our heart does. I think at times we may feel we have stepped away, when in fact our heart maintains a connection. Same as when we may be angry with friends or family, but the love is still there.

    I think a connection once made between the heart of the creation and the heart of the creator is not likely breakable, but as I said before, it is part of the mystery still unclear to me.

  26. fadingman says:

    When we say “…love the sinner”, and the sinner is someone we don’t know or like, do we really think in terms of godly love? For the most part, I don’t think so. (I’m including myself here.) It’s usually a cheaper kind of love – the talk kind: “I wish him well”, “I hope she finds Jesus”, “I’ll pray for you”, etc.

    When Jesus loved us sinners, He took action to show it by dying for us. What are we willing to do to *show* godly love for sinners? Two Moravians, Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschman, sailed to the West Indies to sell themselves as slaves to bring the gospel to the slaves. Maybe this is an extreme example, but it’s one that sticks out in my mind.

  27. Artle says:

    Bill, sin is not abolished and still exists. This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 7:21-23 (NASB). The conflict remains in Romans 7:25 (NASB), but sin has been conquered because Romans 8:2 (NASB) and we are free from it.

    Paul is talking about himself as a saved believer with an internal conflict between two natures, one of God and the other of sin. I see the same conflict in myself being gradually won by the Spirit of Christ.

    Sin still exists, but sin no longer carries the penalty of separation from God for one who believes in Jesus Christ.

    Back on the constant nature of belief, I think it likely that a person who barely hopes the story of Jesus is true has enough belief to cross the threshold of salvation and into the Grace of God.

  28. oneg2dblu says:

    Too many (funny bunny) trails of thought here which are left to one’s own thinking, which to me is trouble with a capital “T,”especially when we all know that,
    “All a man’s ways seem right to him.”


    That is why we have to always bring “all things” into perspective using the Word of God, and hold them accountable to Christ.

    If there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, then one who is in Christ Jesus, being a brother, certainly can not condemn another, who is also in Christ Jesus.

    So, to argue that some are condemning others is already a false premise according to the word.

    But, we can and should and are commanded to, be able to see or discern according to the word, one who is in Christ Jesus and is wandering from the truth, and we, if we believe and obey the command, can actually warn them into changing where they are headed, then according to the word, we have saved (them) from many sins.

    How could we ever do anything to save any brother from that which is already erased from them?

    So, if a brother already has all his “future sins” erased, as if they do not exist, then the verse becomes useless and a lie.

    I choose to believe otherwise, saying that we can save a brother from many sins and believe it is our duty to do so.

    And Yes, I believe that one “must” have a current, existing, ongoing Belief, not a soon passing, or past moment, as those who say they Once Believed, but an active, alive, growing, diligently seeking, serving, worshiping, honoring, life changing, ever abundant Faith, that is more than a one time event.

    Because according to the word of God, Faith alone is not real faith, only Faith that produces fruit, or evidence, or works, is alive, and well fed, or still attached to the vine, according to Christ.

    “You will know them by their fruits.”

    A past faith is past, and a current faith is current,
    and a dead faith, according to the word of God, is dead.

    So, I can say, at one time I believed and was ” in Christ and a Follower, but, that does not mean I am still Following in His Ways.

    To me, if we are only claiming to follow, then we are not really following.

    You can never ever receive Salvation through works, nor can you ever prove them, by having no fruit, or no works.

    You see, Christ taught that many had received the word, and some with joy, but they fell away and did not continue in the Faith which they had heard at one time.

    So, I think the word defines for us exactly what being in Christ means, and what having had a moment of faith at one time really means also.

    Be Blessed, Gary

  29. Artle says:

    Gary, Jesus’ ministry before the cross was to the Jew and not the entire world. His message to them was fulfilling the law and prophecy leading up to the Jews rejecting Him. In a way, He was adding burden upon burden to prove that the law could not save them. I know it may seem wrong to you, but most of what Jesus said before the cross was spoken to the Jew and not the Christian. A perfect example is when He called us dogs in Matthew 15:26 NASB. Shortly before this Jesus made it clear his ministry was not to the whole world at that time (Matthew 15:24 NASB). Are we still dogs? No, because the final rejection of the Risen Savior by the Jews opened to the door for us to become children of the promise.

    It may seem to many people that this distinction does not matter, but if you treat Jesus ministry to the Jews as to the whole world, then you actually are placing us under the Mosaic Law and negating the Cross of Jesus and the Grace of God. You place the burden they could not bear squarely on your own shoulders. This happened in Acts 15.

    If your message to the world is based on Jesus’ message to the Jews, you are spreading the wrong Gospel.

  30. poohpity says:

    Artle you may want to read John 3:16. World to me means world that means everybody. In the OT there are those even in the line of Jesus who were other than Jews. Look for instance at Rehab the prostitute, Ruth the Moabite and any that wanted to join the Israelite’s as they journeyed through the desert. Isn’t it the Mosaic law that pointed us to the need for Jesus whether Jew or gentile and even Isaiah spoke of this as well as other OT prophets.

    Mart, you wrote, “Just as importantly, by pointing the finger at ourselves, we find the credibility we need to declare the best news ever heard.” When we look within and recognize as Paul puts it in Romans 3:23-25 NLT. How can one be humble in heart if we constantly look at others? The Master laid down all His Deity and Glory to walk with us and to die for us, in our place. Who do we think we are?

  31. poohpity says:

    From the beginning of time God wanted a relationship with His creation and when they did what they were told not to, it was them who hid from God not the other way around. The great lengths that God went through just to have a relationship with us is so very amazing. That is the best news that we share with others. We get to know God!!!

  32. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… I trust the story is called the Prodigal Son for a reason, because only this one child was a prodigal, for by his wrong living he wasted away his inheritance.

    Yes, both were sons and both were clearly deserving of an inheritance from the father who would also always continue to love them both.

    So, we do not question the presence or absence of the father’s love as the deciding factor for any resulting separation, because to me the father’s love is not the defining or separating issue in this story.

    Isn’t the ever present “reality of repentance” which is still available to the father’s separated children today, who are wasting away or who have lost their senses by living as though they are dead even after receiving their inheritance or new life, and just because they choose to be following their own separating lifestyles of sin rather then remaining with the father, the real story?

    Or, is it the story really mislabeled, and really about the undying love of the Father, or the jealous actions of the other remaining brother?

    To me, just being called a son or child of God, even if by adoption or by being grafted in as a Christian, means that I too possess an Inheritance from Him, and that means to me, by adoption through Christ I am attached to Him, or kept alive and fruitful, or saved.

    I’m linking together here by my faith in the promises in the word, that receiving of my Father’s promised inheritance, like the prodigal had received, is showing the evidence of his possessing of a real life in the Father, as they to me, are one of the same.

    The one son, the prodigal, or the one branch that no longer wanted to work or produce anything for the father anymore, or continue to be attached and be fruitful, was allowed to fall away or leave, only to take his portion of his father’s estate and to go off into the world, wasting it away, becoming as one who is unattached, or unproductive, as if dead.

    Even though he was still clearly loved by his father, it was his father that claimed that his son was dead.

    To live as separated or apart from his father was by his own bad choice, to be disconnected by his living a life of ungodly desire for the world instead, or his wrongly motivated choices of pursuing evil desires, if you will.

    Please edify or correct any of my wrong thinking here, before I continue the story that I see happening in the context of being a Christian today, as I do not want to lead others unknowingly and lovingly astray.

  33. Artle says:

    Pooh, there is a difference between knowing the Mosaic Law and observing it. The Jewish Savior was always going to bring salvation to the whole world and John 3:16 fit that perfectly. The Jews before Jesus time knew via prophecy that the world would be saved through them; they just didn’t have a clue how it was going to happen.

    Reading M, M, L & J, you can tell even the disciples did not understand what was happening. They argued with Jesus about His need to die. Moving into Acts, they still thought the Jews were going to save the world, hence the arguments about observing the Mosaic Law. It was not until the Lord instructed Peter in Acts 10 that anyone knew salvation was bypassing the Jews and spreading to the rest of the world without them, because the people rejected the message. The disciples were still struggling with the idea in Acts 15, but had to yield to the Holy Spirit.

    There is no need to take my word as you can prove it all for yourself, because every thought of it is there in the Bible. Maybe this will help. Most people think of the bible as being divided into two main parts; the Old Testament and New Testament, but the change that all of history pivots on and what our salvation rest on was not the birth of Jesus Christ. It was His crucifixion, resurrection and subsequent rejection as the Risen Savior. The pivot point in the bible is the end of Acts and not the beginning of Matthew.

    As I understand the faith you describe, your faith is based on Grace, which was a new message from Paul and never heard by the twelve. You can see the parts of M, M, L & J that fit Grace, but it was a mystery to the disciples, just like it is a mystery to some today who still want to include works in the message.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… yes, Christ was speaking to the Jews in his day, and I believe all others like us today as well, all those who hear God’s word and will benefit from it, because the parables are all about making moral and religious points in a message that could not be understood by many in his day, but are directed to all those who will get the message.

    “Follow Me!” is the message that has no time period attached to it, it is the same yesterday, and forever.

    There are principles in the word that given before the cross or after the cross, still stand as moral directives for all time.

    Here’s one, another “3:16,”
    2 Timothy 3:16,
    “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.”
    Thanks, I do receive your point, and trust in time, that some will get mine.

  35. Artle says:

    Yes, all scripture is useful, but let us not forget, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

  36. poohpity says:

    Abraham seemed to be saved by faith before the Jewish nation was even brought about into being. Was not Jesus the seed that was promised to bring salvation to the world which is even known in the OT times, David knew? It was never a secret the Lord seems to always let those who really wanted to know, know.

    The thing about all scripture being useful for teaching is one has to know the Word. John 1:1-4 I believe when it says the man of God may be thoroughly equipped but how many spend the time being equipped before they presume to teach. What if what one is teaching is not truth? Then should we not preface what we say in manor that denotes that we are still learning and have not learned it all. (i.e. it seems to me, it could mean, from what I understand)

  37. poohpity says:

    The one things we can share without much reproach is the change that Jesus’ forgiveness has made in our lives. That is the credibility that we truly have.

  38. Bill says:

    These are all great answers to support what I’ve written many times.

    There are as many interpretations of scripture as there are people reading it.

    Everyone here is intelligent. We’re all dedicated, sincere, keenly aware of what we’re dealing with.

    Yet, virtually every one of us gleans different meaning from the Bible, often citing the same verses.

    This is why I’m not a big debater or arguer. I know there’s a very strong possibility I’m full of crap. And I don’t want to highlight that by shouting my crappery from the rooftops.

    In the end, does any of this matter? Seriously. Who cares if we’re gleaning different meanings from scripture? For that matter, how can we be adamant about what we think it means? Chances are very good that we’re wrong.

    That’s why I wish to focus on the parts that seem clear and can do no harm: love, the 11th Commandment, and one of the most often used words in the New Testament.

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill.. Very true, and love is probably one of the most misused or abused words in use today, because its purity is tainted and robbed by the common works of mankind and the teachings of all the world’s religions that also make use of it.

    Of course, you already know this fact… “Christianity is the (only religion)in the world that embraces Grace, and claims that your works can not save you, because you are saved by faith alone, yet having a saving faith, it must also be accompanied by works, or it is not real.”

    That my friend, is what separates us Christians, those who are saved by Grace, the real runners in the race for eternal life, true salvation and true forgiveness, from all the others who also express love and feel they are i running the right way, even though Christ is the only way to eternal life, salvation and forgiveness.

    Following Christ, is the narrow way, and all religions are not found to be treading upon it.

  40. Artle says:

    I do try to point out often enough that one should weigh everything they read of mine against an accurate measure, being what you know to be absolutely true and your own experience.

    The bible to me is very literal. I do not see as many contradictions as I used to. I believe when two scriptures appear to contradict it is a matter of perspective because often, if you change your perspective the contradiction disappears and both scriptures remain intact. A perfect example of this is Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB) and James 2:17 (NASB). They appear to contradict until you look at who the letters were written to; Ephesians to Gentiles and James to Jews. Is this perspective accurate? It is factual and it does solve the contradiction.

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    The words that express to me what pure, untainted, Divine Love, really looks like are these:

    John 14:22 (NIV)
    Then Judas said, (not Judas Iscariot)”But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not the world?”

    John 14:23,24 (NIV) Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

    John 15:9,10 (NIV) “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

    John 15: 18.19 (NIV) “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

    Now, are we all ready to go out and embrace the world as it defines love, making the world love us, as it now loves its own?

    It seems to me that the world’s view of love, and God’s view of love are really at polar opposites, yet the world claims to use the same words, thinking they also have love.

    We all know that God is Love, and yet the world does not know Him, because they are still empty, lonely, guilty, and afraid of death.

    We who know we are loved by Him, know that we know, we are no longer Empty, as He comes in to fill us to overflowing.

    We are no longer Lonely, as He will never leave us.

    We are no longer Guilty, for He has forgiven us.

    We we are no longer afraid of Death, for death has no sting for those who have Eternal Life.

    That’s all part of the Love of God, a love the world does not yet know!


  42. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… yes, the conflicts we have are usually within us much more than they are in the words that seem to not get along well with each other when first encounter them.

    Most apparent discrepancy is not about the “Big Picture” items, like the Cross, and the Christ, where most churches are all on the same page, literally.

    Where discord lies many times, is in what doctrine those churches and their members tend to prefer to serve as their beloved better, and different view.

    The where one’s Pew, often gets its own resting place. LOL!

  43. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… I really like your choice of words today.
    I hope that does not frighten you. :)

  44. Bill says:


    Your view of love seems to always focus on works. And that’s okay. Those verses are there.

    But you miss other verses that are equally important.

    For example:

    * Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.* (John 15:13 ESV)

    * Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. * (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

    * He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the LORD require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? *
    (Micah 6:8 ESV)

    * Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. * (Romans 13:10 ESV)

    * For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. * (1 John 3:11 ESV)

    * No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. * (1 John 4:12 ESV)

    * Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. * (1 John 4:7-8 ESV)

    * When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. * (John 21:15-17 ESV)


    This is the point I made earlier.

    We can all read the Bible and it means something different to each of us.

    If you want to read the Bible and see a message of works and potential loss of salvation, great. That’s the message you glean from it.

    If I want to read the Bible and see a message of love and no more separation from God no matter what, great. That’s the message I glean from it.

    Are you right and I am wrong? No. Am I right and you are wrong? No.

    But, clearly, we are at odds.

    So what prevails?


    Like it or not, what trumps all of theology is love.

    There’s no theology or doctrine in the Bible, Gary. Not one word of it. All of what we call theology and doctrine are man-made constructs. They’re theories and ideologies – both of which separate.

    That’s why it would behoove us to read the Bible through the eyes of love – and then overlook the doctrinal and theological differences between us. Because not one of them matters. Not one.

    All that matters is love.

    We love because he first loved us. We love because God is love. We love because we were created in God’s image, as all people – saved and unsaved – were. Non-Christians love, too. Sometimes better than Christians do.

    So let’s set aside all of the man-made ideologies, philosophies, doctrines, and teachings. Let’s read the Bible and let it speak to us individually. If we all get something different from it – wonderful! That’s God at work for you. If we all get the same message from it – wonderful! That’s God at work for you.

    Either way, let’s remember to love one another fervently.


  45. poohpity says:

    Bill, I think the problems often come when folks say they have it read or studied it but it is only partial segments or incomplete. Don’t you think when one experiences what is written and has learned how life applicable it all is we have more in common than not, then the Word comes alive as we desire to grow in our knowledge of God. We become teachable which seems to be never ending. Several places in scripture it states “as we grow in our knowledge” like a building block which to me seems to mean just like in a marriage the longer you live together the more one learns about the other unless there is no real communication and the relationship is taken for granted. To me the more I read the bible the more I know I don’t know but doesn’t that again take us back to humility and the desire to grow deeper in our relationship.

    I think God is aware if we just want Bible knowledge for the sake of knowledge or with a deep passion to learn more about the One who loves us, that we love and have given our lives to.

  46. poohpity says:

    Artle, I guess to me those have never been in contradiction to each other. It seems to me that who they were written to does not carry as much merit as those who have faith in God it will result in trusting and depending on God not ourselves and if the Spirit of the living God resides in our heart one will be able to see it in the actions of love that are brought about. We will show patience, kindness, gentleness, mercy and forgiveness etc. taking care of widows, orphans, homeless, hungry, sick, sharing the comfort we have received, not carry grudges and most importantly hating the sin that separates us from God while loving the person who sins like God did to me.

  47. poohpity says:

    We all seem have new name, one in Christ. According to scripture there is neither Jew or gentile, slave or free, male or female we are all one in Christ.

  48. SFDBWV says:

    After a little tutoring and reading the comments here I will attempt to sift out the subject and go to the heart of the matter.

    First of all I have to address this subject as being one discussed amongst believers in the Bible as well as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, primarily.

    Because in the world there are also *laws* of right and wrong behavior and worldly consequences for the violation of them all. Though based on what many consider to be Biblical laws, these laws are made by men for the order of societies in which they live.

    When we speak of *sin* we speak of a matter beyond earthly laws and an affront to a God we all believe in. There is a difference though interconnected, still a difference.

    It began, as we are told, in the Garden of Eden. There God gave Adam and Eve the full freedom to live as they wished with one restriction, not to eat of the fruit of the tree of *knowledge* of good and evil.

    Is this a metaphor or a literal event? Were Adam and Eve meant to fill the earth with their descendants or was procreation a result of the act of disobedience?

    Right away things become *fuzzy* less clear and confusing. Confusing because with, as Bill has mentioned, now there being some 7 billion people on the planet, of which 2-3 billion being Christians, there are just as many personal views and interpretations. Yours or mine being just that, yours or mine.

    When the devil ask Eve “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve replied “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

    As of this point there has not been disobedience in mankind, sin only seems to be present in the serpent. However when presented with sin the first thing Eve does is quote God’s instruction to avoid it

    Attention to the fact that Eve misquoted God by adding to what He said.

    Over the ensuing next 5 or 6 thousand years, people continue to add to what God said, especially by inclusion or exclusion depending on their point they want accepted.

    The heart of the issue Mart has posted is that we as Christians show sinners *God’s love*, reflected in what we say and how we live, rather than just quote the rules book and point out their infraction of said rules.

    The confusion is what we each think God wants us to do.

    If a person is in sin and doesn’t know it, should we as Christians remain silent or warn them of the consequence of said sin?

    If their sin is that they have not accepted Jesus as Lord are we to remain silent? Is the non-acceptance of Jesus as Lord a sin?

    Is there an absolute answer to whether or when to speak up or remain silent?

    I think that each and every particular circumstance may present the proper course of action we take. I also believe we sometimes speak from the urgings of the Holy Spirit and say what He wants said.

    Usually when that occurs we ask ourselves “where did that come from?” and more importantly the *hearer* of what was said had been prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive it.

    Staying close to God, by prayer and obedience to that still small voice in your heart should direct your actions, but I agree with Bill and Mart that *love* should always precede our actions.


  49. SFDBWV says:

    I started writing the above comments and finished it this morning. High winds took out a high voltage power line south of town and both knocked off our power as well as started a wind driven fire that had 5 volunteer fire companies fighting it.

    I had to use my generator for the comfort of lights and the necessity of keeping the freezer and refrigerator going.

    We got our power back on around 8pm, just in time to get to bed at 9.


  50. foreverblessed says:

    WHat to say, Steve, I think your comment: sometimes we say what the Holy Spirit urges us to say, this one sentence, I would add: my prayer is that all of the time I want to say what the Holy Spirit urges me. Not just sometimes.

    Then it comes to the bottom line: am I totally yielded to Jesus, as the Holy Spirit is the same as Jesus living in me? Would it be sin if I was not totally, or just an inconvenience for the Holy Spirit, as sometimes I yield, and sometimes I don’t. Like a piano, some strings are nicely tuned, and others are not.
    ON the other hand I want to yield totally, and I do believe that God is able to accomplish that in me. The work of the Holy Spirit in me, it is His work, and none of mine. Taking it that I allow Him to work in me, like the branch stays connected to the vine.

  51. SFDBWV says:

    Hello Foreverblessed, while my day is just beginning you are probably in the early afternoon by now. Like you I always *want* every word out of my mouth or every one typed here to be directly from the Holy Spirit and not me, however I cannot guarantee that, nor do I believe that to be the case.

    Sometimes God lets us be us and not just a puppet on a string and amplifier for His voice, though sometimes He may.

    One of my many faults is that I am honest and often blunt, the blunt part of me I sometimes regret, but the honest part of me I cannot restrain.

    If you’ve never experienced one of those moments when you say something to someone that seems to come out of nowhere, then you can’t understand what I have said. I will add that just as often or even more often when I have had one of those moments what I have said echoes back into me and I have come to recognize it is for me to hear and for me to receive rather than the person I may be communicating with.

    I hope you are having a nice spring day there, it was 30 degrees f here this morning, and for us that is spring weather.


  52. foreverblessed says:

    Before I read Steve’s comment, I wanted to write that it is good to see the sin in others, as it points to sin that is in ourselves, for some reason to our old human nature can see the sin in others more easily then the sins in ourselves. So this I have learned in my walk as a christians: there are many sins in others but not all of them do annoy me. The ones that do annoy me are the ones I have hidden in myself. Today I am dealing with a lady, a longtime christian, who is telling me of her annoyances of someone else, and as I was listening the thought came to me: -You have struggled with the same things. But now you know that the one solution is: to look to Jesus.-
    As from man there is no help. So I told her that, in a loving way, I hope. It is a lady who has been abused, so some care I have to take (lots of care, as it is such a slow process).
    Then I have to remember how patient God is with me.
    She is coming now to sing together, and I am full of joy. This must be due to the Holy Spirit!

    Some more: Instead of looking at the sin, I try to see the person inside, all cleaned up by Jesus. Like Lazarus, came out of the tomb, with all the clothes around him. See the person unwrapped.
    God bless you all!

  53. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Steve, I know what you mean to say, because I experience it the same. It is a desire that I have, that all of me is rendered to Him. I may be to high a goal, but as Jesus said: be you perfect, as to say, d not aim for anything less.
    Surrendered to Him, not as a puppet on a string, but because my life is so connected to Him that I also want it myself. As His life has become mine, and all cleaned.

    And indeed, we have a lovely spring time day, coming up to 4 in the afternoon.
    Sitting in the sun, listening to the birds singing. Looking at the trees, so lovely with their new green leaves. All springs of hope, all is well.
    Nature is one month ahead of time, due to the mild winter we had. All the cold must have stayed on your side of the Ocean.
    Have a lovely day too. Enjoy life!

  54. Artle says:

    It would be difficult to convince me that anyone here does not love everyone else here.

  55. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all.
    Marts comment, “God be merciful to me, the sinner” says it all. A good reminder that it is my sins that I am responsible for before God, yet, because of His great mercy, I am forgiven.
    Blessings, Grace

  56. poohpity says:

    We are having unseasonably warm temps this year, here out in west. We are preparing for a very hot summer, of course God is filled with surprises so it may end up not being so bad but whatever it is God has supplied all we will need to get by.

    I know in my own life there are times when I have given way to the thoughts in my mind and heart that come pouring out and failed to heed the self control given by the Holy Spirit. The self control to pull back from a situation whether it is a truth I think is truth but have to ask myself will it cause harm or will it build up, encourage or bring Glory to God if not then it is better left unsaid. James talks about the damage caused by our words. (James 3:1-12 NLT) Like Mart was saying sometimes maybe it is not our job to fearlessly speak truth unless it is about salvation through Jesus Christ that is a truth worth speaking.

  57. Artle says:

    I have a good friend who is a Christian and I am satisfied he is a believer because we talk about Jesus most times we meet. We have the same core belief; Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. But there is where our common belief ends. His ideas beyond that are radical to me and I imagine he thinks mine are radical to him. I am satisfied that we will meet one day beyond the end of our times here and when we do, the minor differences we have will not matter. And that is why they do not matter now.

  58. poohpity says:

    It seems the whole Bible is pointing to Jesus and His grace and mercy. From Genesis thru Revelation as Jesus pointed out to the travelers on the road to Emmaus found in Luke. He brought to mind all the prophesies about Himself from the foundations of the world from the very first sin there was a provision and a willingness to suffer the consequences of sin so that we can have a restored relationship with God. God has always provided what we need to have a right relationship with Him from the temporary sacrifices to the all encompassing, complete, total one found in Jesus the spotless, faultless, Lamb of God.

  59. phpatato says:

    Good Morning All

    I received this in an email today. I thought I’d share it with you.

    This is written very simply. Enjoy!!

    Life is like a journey on a train…with its stations…with changes of routes…and with accidents!

    At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side.

    However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

    As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

    Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum.

    Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats!

    This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.

    Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers…requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

    The mystery to everyone is:

    We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down.

    So, we must live in the best way – love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.

    It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty —
    we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

    I wish you a joyful journey.

    Reap success and give lots of love.

    Thank God for the journey!

    Thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!


  60. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I am sorry that God’s Word, the bible, has built such a Narrow Way, and made it Only One Way at that!
    It almost looks unloving to some, and many will not accept it.
    You call it Love, and I call it Obedience, because anyone who is disobedient can’t follow or love as Christ loved.

    Here’s a enjoining and growth producing thought…maybe both love and obedience actually take some work, or are works, and are required for true salvation.

    That joining may not serve a particular doctrine very well, but it would do wonders for the rest of the world, if it could only be applied.

    Instead, it gets ridiculed, denied, ignored, just like the rest of the word of God, which does not always serve up what sinful man or the world desires, nor does it mix well with its beloved doctrine.

    God is Love (noun)
    God so loved… (verb)

    In His Love, Gary

  61. Artle says:

    Since the blog allows interaction between users, it would be nice if the blog used nested or threaded comments so that a reply to a comment was distinct from a comment on the topic. Then I could tell if someone was addressing me, someone else or the world at large.

  62. quietgrace says:

    Pat I love the train analogy! I will be thinking about this the rest of the day.
    Have a blessed day as well, Grace

  63. Artle says:

    Then the directness of Gary’s comment to Bill would not effect the simple enjoyment of Pat’s train ride. And likewise the train ride would not effect a direct comment one feels the need to make.

  64. foreverblessed says:

    Artle, GOd bless you, and give you peace, while reading here. All these comments becoming a like whirlwind, circling around each other. I used to get mixed up, but after a couple of years it gets better, It is easier to see the thread, and besides, you can’t always understand or comment to everybody. But I want to love everybody, and I ask God to give me that love, and make it mine, so it is my own love.

    Tracey, thank you very much for your comment, it touched my heart!
    And Pat, thanks for that mail, all on the train, what a love it spreads. Lets all love one another here, and if we don’t ask God to give that love, and ask Him to look in the hidden parts of our hearts what is there that needs His light.
    Thank God for His mercy, for cleaning us making us shine in His light.

  65. phpatato says:


    For me, if I am directing the world at large, I say All or I simply just post what it is I feel is appropriate and worthy without an opening salutation. If I am directing my comment at what someone said, I will address the person with their name to minimize the confusion. From what I’ve seen, that is usually the norm for others as well given the inability of having a threaded comment. Such is the nature of this beast and, I believe, that is where some of the misunderstandings and confusion arises. Some of the one-on-one conversations here are separated by a day or so and there may be several comments in between. It’s sometimes hard to decipher what and to whom the comments are in response to. Small flaws in an otherwise great and grateful blog Mart has given us. I do understand though how the “flow” can be interrupted.

    Blessings to you today


  66. poohpity says:

    I agree with Pat. Since I have been known as the blog police, lol, when I started writing here the first thing I did was read the comment guidelines and have found if we follow them it stops a lot hurt feelings when we continue to discuss the topic at hand which can and does come from many different directions as we each apply our own unique finger print.

  67. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… perhaps my putting Bill at the beginning of my comment might bring more clarity to its intented, it was meant for Bill.
    It was not meant to derail anothers comments or day.
    Enjoy the ride, Artle.

  68. Artle says:

    Gary, I actually do enjoy the ride. BTA is an unusual place. There is an invaluable mix of experiences and perspectives. It would be not be this way if everyone believed exactly the same. Matter of fact, there would be little purpose for this blog if we did.

  69. Artle says:

    If God gives something to an individual, should someone else try to take it away?

  70. oneg2dblu says:

    That train ride gets derailed all the time by people who speak without putting a heading on their message, like I’m intentionally doing now, but when you read it you will find that it was meant to answer someone’s comment directly.

    I personally see it as an afront to belittle the other person, or to talk over them. To me, it is rude and disturbing at best.

    It is intentional and repeated by some here who need no mention if you ride along far enough you will know the train has pulled up to their stop again but they refuse get off or read the signs.

    Hey I’ve jumped off three times in the past just to give the others aboard a chance to enjoy there ride.

    And then, some of us just have that I’m always guilty complex, although seen as humble and much preferred than the ones who remain silent when they know the message is clearly for them which is also disturbing at times.

    Hey, truth is, we are all imperfect people here, even the more perfect ones, and you know who they are.

    They also do not feel the need to sign off either…

    So, if everyone would start and end their comments curtiously and personally the whole process would become more easily readable.

    Oh look, there’s my stop!

  71. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… before I get off,I would add your character shows through your words, as you were the only one who mentioned they watched the Pilot video.
    Thank you for doing so, Gary

  72. street says:

    James 5:20
    20 let him know that [a]he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
    1 Thessalonians 5:15
    15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

  73. tree says:

    God doesn’t want us to sin and you cannot when you are born from him.
    So there’s no need to get confused…he that is born of God cannot sin.
    The law showed everyone that they are sinners and can not save anyone.
    Through faith that God gives us, we don’t have to sin. Realize that
    Faith is real and a substance. Romans 6 sums up and clarifies about sin.
    When you become saved, you are no longer a sinner. Look to God and simply
    Ask him to explain and he will.

  74. poohpity says:

    I am a born again believer and I find I still sin and when I do I confess it and know that I am forgiven. If we ever consider ourselves sinless we are in denial and calling God a liar. 1 John 1:9-10 NIV

  75. street says:

    Dear Tree,
    How can Paul call himself a sinner present tense, after he was made an Apostle by Jesus and penned much of the New Testament? I think the cross comes to mind.

  76. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning, it is a beautiful spring morning here in West Virginia, clear and crisp at 36 degrees. The little humming birds are busy humming around the feeders and the other birds are all calling for their breakfasts, the sun has not risen yet, but the sky is light and life is rising with the light of the day.

    I spent a little time this morning going over the comments and am at odds with myself as to say anything in concert with some of the directions the discussion has branched off into.


    Today on another daily Scripture reading I receive the subject title is “Judging Others”. I thought how convenient. It begins by quoting Matthew 7:1, but then goes on to say that this verse does not relieve us of the responsibility of evaluating the beliefs and practices of others in the light of Scripture.

    Jesus goes on in the same chapter, Matthew 7:15-20, and instructs us to use discernment in seeing the falsehoods of others. In John 7:24 Jesus tells us to not judge by appearance only, but to judge righteously.

    Once again I believe the heart of what Mart has brought to the table is that we are *not* to *condemn* another because they are in what looks to us as sin.

    However just because it is impossible for us to *not* recognize sin when it is seen by us, recognizing the sin does not give us the right to accuse the sinner as from a heart of condemnation. As if by feeling that person deserves punishment for that sin.

    The question is should we tell that person that we feel their behavior is a sin or say nothing.

    I think each situation has to be handled individually, that there is no blanket answer that covers every situation and that we should follow the Holy Spirits lead in each and every case.

    In the movie “Almost an Angel” Paul Hogan says “boy you Christians sure keep a lot of secrets.” I smile at that comment, but am also convicted that we should not keep salvation a secret by *always* keeping quiet about another’s sin. That there is a difference in condemning someone and informing them.


  77. Artle says:

    There are numerous scriptures that describe discerning right from wrong (I think so we can stay away from bad influences), but few that instruct us to take action against another person. The take action situations are usually involving close relationships like a brother. When it involves a not-close relationship, the instruction is usually to walk away or put distance between oneself and the other person/people and so we stay away from bad influences.

    This idea of only taking action when the other person is close to you makes sense if you think about it. We have little chance of influencing someone with whom we have no real connection.

    I’m not saying do not preach right from wrong, but if we do not know someone really well, it seems better to preach the right as best we can and walk away. Let the Holy Spirit do the convicting, as the Spirit knows better than we how to do it.

  78. Artle says:

    Gary, I appreciate the testament to my character, but must admit I did not watch the video. Thought about it but, I have limited data, so I avoid high data use stuff.

    I just used your comment to Bill as an example because it followed Pat’s train story and it was obvious the two had no connection. So, both the dialog about the train story would be distinct from a one on one between you and Bill. The lack of threads is a visual thing which affects me that may not affect others. Example: If I am not watchful, I often think a comment following a comment is in reply. Or if there is a back and forth between two people and a third interjects, I have before thought the third was one of the two which can be strange.

    I want to understand what everyone is thinking. I assume that everyone would want their thoughts understood by all, so I mention such things.

  79. poohpity says:

    There are many sins that lie hidden in a heart it seems that is why God would have us stay in His Word and close to Him but also to have an accountability partner. Someone to confess our sins to as we share each others faults and struggles, to pray together, ask God for wisdom and the help needed to overcome. That could be why it makes us more creditable in our witness when we admit we sin and are in need of forgiveness until we leave this body. That was what caused my love for the Bible to see that God used so many who admitted to their struggles with sin.

    Then the Bible teaches if we know someone is blatantly sinning in the church we are taught to go one on one to that person with a humble heart and if they do not listen take another then as a last resort take them before the church. But this seems to be done very carefully with gentleness and humility always without considering one self better than another.

    Every thing we need for living a life close to the Lord is found in the pages of scripture and when we need wisdom with dealing with anything God seems to always provide. But I do not think it was meant to beat someone else up with but to see within our own hearts so we can treat others the same way we want to be treated.

  80. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Artle, Though I have addressed this comment to you, it should be said by me that it is also for any and all who want to hear what I have to say concerning your thoughts.

    I first of all want to clear up any possible misunderstanding that I am in any way disagreeing with what you have said, I am not, and we are in agreement that there are Scripture to validate either side of this subject.

    And because I have already said that each situation is unique unto itself, I can also say that whether or not we broach the subject with someone close or not to us will depend on many issues relevant to the relationship we have with that person.

    It may be very difficult for a parent to hear from their child that they are wrong about anything and perhaps magnified if discussing *sin*.

    The same could be said of going up to your boss at work and telling him/her that we feel they are in *sin*.

    However it may be easy for us to tell a stranger or even a fellow worker, as it may seem that we aren’t going to harm or jeopardize the relationship.

    Within the community of believers whether or not to say anything to a believer about their behavior is a very touchy subject and takes a lot of courage mixed with your maturity and understanding of being a Christian.

    I will give a personal example.

    At 17 I was indoctrinated into the US Marine Corps at Paris Island SC. Though at that time every Sunday morning we were marched to church and participated in the services, the Marine Corps boot camp purpose was not to make Christians, but rather to make Marines.

    I spent nearly 5 years in the Marine Corps and in Viet Nam from October 1966 until February 1968. During this very young part of my life I became as proficient as any other in using profanity as part of my regular speech.

    After rejoining civilian life in November of 1969 I worked as a welder in a local powerplant and after working 7 days a week 10 hours a day, 10 months a year in that very dirty, very unhealthy environment I stepped up to being an underground coal miner for the next 27 years.

    Working with other men in such environments you will find that profanity is the preferred language and understood by all.

    It was during these years as a coal miner that I returned to my roots of Christianity and became one of many men I worked with whom enjoyed sharing our faith with each other in conversation.

    However if you can understand what most people say when they smash their hand or fingers with a very heavy hammer, you can understand that getting rid of profanity as part of my speech wasn’t that easy.

    During this time a fellow coal miner and fellow Christian came quietly to me apart and privately and simply said to me, “Steve you have a lot of influence with all of us and the men you work with, but when you cuss like that it harms your witness for Christ.”

    He was right, and I needed to hear that.

    I have done better since.

    My story and point is that even though cussing may not be a sin, if there is obvious sin in another and they present themselves as Christians, it may harm their witness and diminish their ability to show Christ in them.


  81. Artle says:

    Steve, your points are well taken.

    Every situation is unique. I think the required condition for effective admonishment is simply that you know someone quite well and it does not hurt if you have their respect. I suspect you respected the fellow coal miner and also that he knew you well enough to know what to say or not say.

    I might lose a few with this next idea, but concurring with your thoughts on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I can add from personal experience that sometimes we might need to not interfere. Sometimes a person (who might be me) needs to fall hard in order to know there life is not going in the right direction.

  82. phpatato says:

    Good morning Everyone

    To follow upon Steve’s last comment, these are my thoughts….

    Correcting an unbeliever should never be *correcting*. I think the attitude should be to witness. I wouldn’t go up to an non-Christian and correct them by saying their cussing, their smoking, their drinking, their immoral lifestyle or what have you is wrong or sinful. What I would try and do is to simply present Christ’s redeeming work on the cross to them. In other words, I would simply witness to them by especially showing them that I am nothing more than a sinner, forgiven. What you see is what you get. Not perfect but with knees that are still bruised and cut because I continue to fall. Only able to get back up because of the Lord’s great and tender mercies to carry on.

    I think correcting comes, as Steve and Artle have said, with those who you have a close relationship with. And with that I will branch off and include fellow Christians. Fellow Christians are related because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be spending eternity with each other so that tells me we are going to be with each other for a very, very long time. So, I believe there should be a bit more give and take, or more liberties, or more leeway because we are all members of the same body. As such, if I am doing something that may cause harm to the body, or if I am doing something that may bring shame to it, or if I am simply on a path that I myself might get hurt and become permanently scarred, I would expect and would definitely hope that those within the body would love me enough to have one of my beloved brothers or sisters say something to me. As I quite often say…if I don’t know what is broken, how can I fix it.

    And that someone who comes to tell me what’s broken in my life????…I would expect and hope that because he loves me, he will speak to me with a gentle and loving tone so that I will be open to hear what he has to say, instead of blocking my ears right off the bat. I would also expect and hope that the person who comes to correct me, is well-respected and much loved within the body and who exhibits the qualities of handling the situation in a loving tactful manner. In other words, not the body’s known busy-body who believes they are the best person to speak because they *know* (it all).


  83. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all!!

    Artle, I for one agree with your statement that sometimes we have to allow someone to fall. We know this from those with addictions that refuse treatment. Also, from personal experience there was a time when I felt led to move to a new place but didn’t want to leave someone close to me as I felt they needed the wisdom and guidance I could offer. But when the Lord said, through Oswald Chambers, actually, that when we leave, then the Lord can take over,that was a big wow for me! And a reminder that it is easy for some, myself especially, to think that I, knowing God’s heart and mind, can do more than what God Himself can do. This allows the other to grow in their own relationship with God.
    Just another facet to a very interesting conversation.

    On another note, the Lord blessed me greatly yesterday by giving me the grace to let-go once again of a very painful, personal, on-going battle. May He give us all the grace today to live and move in Christ alone.

  84. poohpity says:

    Going with the family of Christ is trusting God to change those that He feels needs changing. Who better to work in a person’s life than the One who knows their heart as well as even every hair on their heads. A lot of times we only have a glimpse of a person and judge according to our opinion of them but when we see within our own lives and what God has done in our hearts we know He is completely capable of working in the hearts of our brothers/sisters in Christ. Most times we can cause more problems and God may be working in one area while “we” think they need help in another area.

  85. quietgrace says:

    Pooh I think that is especially true when it comes to our own family members that are Christians. When someone opens up to us and shares what they are struggling with we are less apt to be accused of judging; but that person may feel too much shame or whatever to share with those they know intimately, so need a more non-partial or uninvolved listener. Hope I’m not talking in circles,LOL!

  86. poohpity says:

    No that makes much sense. Do we want to be a safe place for others to confide in? If we realize that we are all on the same journey but maybe the obstacles in the roads may be different but the goal is heaven we can be more understanding and empathic.

    I wonder if at times we think sin is an affront to us personally rather than it being something that causes a separation in our relationship with God. Our sin is against God and if we have sinned against a friend don’t we go to them both and ask for forgiveness to restore our relationship with either. It seems that maybe some do not feel God is alive and completely able to have a relationship with each individual person, so the need to interfere.

    I often when thinking about this remember how Nathan talked with King David and the Bathsheba thing. Good example to follow.

  87. quietgrace says:

    Pooh that is a good example of a prophet of God interceding in the Lord’s name. When I was in Bible College we had a prof that acted as though he was a Nathan and literally terrorized a lot of students, until another prof came in and said it was the job of prophets to be loving in their approach, and the job of those with the gift of mercy to clean up after the prophets! It was a good lesson I will never forget. We as a body need to remember that our goal in interactions is love. Love of God first, and mankind second. And with MUCH prayer before speaking.

  88. poohpity says:

    Grace, lol! The most important part of that story to me was found in 2 Samuel 12:1 NLT The Lord personally sent Nathan and told him what to say. Many just go out never praying asking for direction and waiting for the Lord’s reply but take it as their personal job to be on sin patrol. Normally those are the ones who have not got a true estimate of their own lives nor it seems do they trust God.

  89. lovely says:

    Hi Everyone
    I believe in sharing and speaking in love to one another just as Christ did so to us. The key to witnessing , correcting and loving is actually in our intimacy with God. Without believing that I am love I can’t love another let alone speak in love. When reading the word of God there are many perspective and interpretation just because all of us are created differently & in different situation , just as every child has different character. If we’re afraid we’ll mis in terprete a scripture, then talk to God, ask wisdom from God who Gives freely, Read James 1. You’ll know when someone sin . you’ll know what to say. The more you spend time or have that intimacy with God the more you’ll recognize His voice. You’ll look at Christian’s or sinners in a different way like how Jesus look at the adulterer, Peter, Paul .. . He never reject them but call them to repentance in love.
    That’s why he place us in a Body of Christ. That we may hold each other should any of us fall, we pick up build up and say its ok .. lets try again.. coming and we are to be ready for the return of our King.
    In the previous post, We agree we are not of the world but we’re still in the world John 17:15. As Jesus said He has overcome the world, the reason why God still keeps us here is to overcome the world. 1 John 5:4

  90. SFDBWV says:

    This morning on another daily devotional the subject of Christ’s return is discussed. Quoted are John 14:2, 3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

    Ultimately promised is a new heaven and a new earth where we will live in unfathomable peace and happiness.

    *If* we believed that anyone we loved were not going to be a part of this marvelous future, that we would be separated from them for eternity, what would we *not* do to try and bring about their inclusion with our marvelous future?

    Jesus wants us to love everyone, not just those as close to us as a family member, so it stands to reason that we also *should* want all included in this promised future, even our enemies.

    If we thought that any obvious sin we knew to be present then in any one of us and we genuinely loved them and if we thought that sin would separate them from us in such a forever scenario, would we not tell them, warn them and plead with them to repent and return to God with us?

    There are many cartoons and humorous characterizations of men walking on the street carrying a sign that says “The end is near”. Those people are always depicted as weird and a little crazy, yet such people love the people they are carrying that sign for enough to be ridiculed and seen as odd by all who pass by.

    To use an old adage, let me say “let your conscience be your guide.”

    As an added thought from reading the thoughts of others that we should sometimes let people fall. I do not think that such power is given to us to make that decision, I think we should do all we can to prevent someone from falling, but if they do, it be God’s will not our doing.


  91. tree says:

    Paul sinned in the past – he was a sinner
    All over the bible, it tells us not to sin. You can not deny that.
    We become righteous by believing in God. But this faith is REAL and God can
    do this. There is nothing impossible – I can do all things through Christ
    Who strengthens me. Romans 6 goes into detail also about sin.
    Look to God as this is something He does :)

  92. Artle says:

    Steve, I think I might have missed your point that the story of the fellow coal miner was illustrating a not-close relationship.

  93. poohpity says:

    I so agree, in our intimacy with God we will know what to do/not do and it will be done in love seeking the highest good for that person just as God seeks our highest good. God had a message for David like He has for us in 2 Samuel 7:14 NLT and the humility found in David’s response is so amazing 2 Samuel 7:20 NLT. God knows us and His promises do not depend on us but in seeking God in all areas. Those that have an intimate relationship with God, trust God. The commandment Jesus gave us which covers all of the others is John 15:17 NLT that is not of ourselves but by abiding in Jesus. If someone who is truly seeking God, we trust God knows their heart and will do what it takes to make them into the person He wants(Phil 2:13 NIV), not necessarily what we want.(Phil 1:6 NLT)

    How much would that free us up to fulfill the unique purpose and plan that God has for each person’s life as we trust God to do what He does best, change people.

  94. quietgrace says:

    Good afternoon, Steve. Just wanted to clarify my statements about allowing people to fall. What I am talking about are those who deliberately choose to reject loving intervention. If people are in a place of harming themselves or others, we have a duty to intervene, but in the spiritual sense, it is God that saves and not us, which we are in agreement on. However, as Gods gifts are varied and useful to bring people to Christ it may take different people to do the witnessing along the way. We plant/water but can only trust God to carry out the work of salvation. Blessings, Grace

  95. oneg2dblu says:

    Great little story in todays ODB about what type of background which is required to get your ticket into the Kingdom.
    “But,” which is to me the wrong word being emphasized, saying you were from that group of sinners as it was your backgroud, but it is not supposed to still be your current life, is it?
    To me, it was a “Golden Opportunity” missed, to show any indication of what change or fruit could have been displayed in that crowd of believers, if only the question were asked with a different point.
    Suppose the pastor said, “How many of you have changed from that “background or life you were living in, to now be a witness to living a changed life?”
    That is a (head count) where everyone standing could have been a witness to show some actual fruit in their life, instead of standing there empty handed.

    “Then the pastor could have used a higher calling verse, “You will recognize them by their fruit,” instead he chose, by their background.

    But, I guess if butt is the word, then your background qualifies quite well.

    To me, your background is done and over, the greater question is, “Where are you now?”

  96. poohpity says:

    Gary, they were in church seeking God and His Word. Doesn’t that say it all? They were all in a place not to bring glory to what they were now, or their fruit but giving Glory to God in humility for bringing them where they were now. Simply clinging to the Cross. If we don’t remember where we came from and who we were one seems to lose sight of God’s grace and cling to self righteousness rather than to God’s righteousness.

  97. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh.. as usual we generally approach every subject from to different perspectives, which is really healthy for us, if we continue to witness our position in Christ.

    Your’s is the one that says, It is all God, and mine is saying, it is a combineed effort and journey, with us and God.

    Like expressed in today’s Two Listener’s, God at Eventide, which clearly says, even God does not want the journey to be all Him.

    Your’s says, you are okay the way you were, and that is scriptural and true.

    But… there’s that ugly word again, If we were honest about where we were, we would also know we were living separated and without God.

    My position says, one can not stay there, or where we were, one must now change, or produce fruit.

    You must both be a witness, and have a witness that reflects your change, For if nothing changes,
    if there is no fruit, if you are still living as before, you have either missed the train completely,
    or have fallen off at some point.

    Get back on track, Repent from your old ways, validate your ticket by getting back on board and remain there, until you have arrived at the appointed stop.

    Too many who actually do get on the train, according to the word, don’t feel they belong and get right back off when the going gets rough or they are tested or prompted to change their ways, and that is when the heat of the day or being exposed to the light, the truth, then withers them, because they still try to act as if they are acting alone, and nothing has changed.

    No Christ follower is alone or without help, or unable to overcome, or are they powerless if they truly have the Holy Spirit living in them, they are going to produce fruit, good fruit, and much fruit, as they constantly also become, the overcomers of the worldly place they came from.

    True we are not plucked out of the world, but, we are given the tools to be able to stand up under its constant attack or influence upon us to remain in the dark.

    Both points are scriptural, both are true, one says we can do nothing without Christ, and the other says, the reality of having Christ in us then begs us, “How can we not change and not produce fruit?”

    We and Christ together become the combined conduit of fruit bearing’s evidence, as a light shining forth in a dark world.

    Be Blessed, Gary

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.