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Are we Anguishing over Sin or Reveling in it?

Each day I open my phone, I’m met with a reminder of the world’s sin and a temptation to be callous–to my own sin and the sad state of this lost world. While my phone’s algorithm mostly shields me from posts that endorse wickedness, it still notifies me of the latest evils in the culture. I’m recommended videos of conservatives reveling in the culture’s foolishness. They scoff at the ignorance of those who are deceived by thinking men can be women, marriage can be redefined, and children in the womb can be killed.

It’s as if content makers and politicians prowl around the internet waiting to see who Satan has devoured today. The wickedness of the world isn’t merely revealed among those who endorse evil ideologies, it's also revealed among those who seem to eagerly wait for their opponent’s fall. That way, another podcast episode can be filmed or another article can be written about the ignorance of others. It’s pride-inducing to know the sins of our culture. It hardens our hearts to a lack of sympathy for the lost, and it tickles our ears to hear that we’re not as foolish as others. Reveling in the culture’s deception is a means Satan uses to deceive us of our soul’s condition.

As we listen or read along, we begin to lose sight of the Gospel. Christians join hands with non-Christians who hold a similar disdain for the culture’s foolishness. We ignore doctrines that are the grounds of our Christian morals. We uplift conservatives who deny the God we love because they agree with some of our ethics. Christian podcasters, journalists, politicians, and right-wing enthusiasts promote followers of Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, and paganism merely because of their conservatism.

To be clear, I’m in no way suggesting that the church should stay quiet on matters of gender, sexuality, and abortion. Such topics must be addressed as the culture wages war against biblical truth. The sin isn’t disagreeing with wicked ideologies and calling them out; rather, it’s callously scoffing at the sins of the world and associating with non-Christians to fight the wickedness of our culture.

Our hearts ought to mourn over the sins of this world. When we welcome non-Christians into our fold to speak on moral issues we communicate that the Gospel is not the foundation of our beliefs. We slip into moralistic preaching. Temptations to revel in the sins of the world subsequently follow. There can be no heartfelt prayers together for the sins of our nation. If an unbelieving heart is the core of the culture’s sins how are the non-Christian conservatives any better? Will they not also be condemned for their unbelief along with the transgendered, homosexuals, and pro-choicers? "For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14b).

Those outside of Christ need more than mere intellectual talk about moral issues–which is the only talk Christians and non-Christians can have. The world doesn’t deny a biblical view of gender, sexuality, or life in the womb because of its ignorance of logic, biology, or statistics; rather, it does so because it’s in darkness.

This is the heart-wrenching reality that plagues our world. While it’s tempting to proudly ask, “How could the world be so foolish?” Scripture gives us a plain answer: “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18).

Those in the world aren’t ignorant because of a lack of intellect–it’s because they’re alienated from the truth–Christ himself. And so it is with all people–including conservatives who hold similar values to Christians. It does no good to attempt to convince those alienated from Christ of their logical fallacies and moral inconsistencies, for even if they recognize them they’ll still be hardened in heart.

In this present evil age, we must recall the days when we also lived in ignorance. As Scripture says, "Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12).

We too once followed the same spirit now at work in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). We were children of the devil–the father of lies (John 8:44). And we didn’t become Christians by plausible arguments. We came to repentance because the kindness of God led us unto it (Rom. 2:4). We recognized the cross as good and our deeds as evil because the Gospel we heard is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).

Our duty is not to answer a fool according to His folly but to preach repentance and belief in Christ. Among other sins, we preach on the sins of transgenderism, homosexuality, and abortion from the Scripture as we speak of the saving grace of God that He has worked in our wicked hearts. This is also our guardrail against growing callous in heart. Could we pridefully scoff at those in darkness while we share with them the saving work of Christ? Could we grow callous to our own sin as we speak of the riches of God’s grace? Certainly not. Our hearts would be full of thankfulness to Christ and sorrow for the unsaved.

As we witness the evil of this world may we turn our Bibles to Romans chapter 9 and strive to share the heart of Paul. At the beginning of the chapter, he describes feelings of "great sorrow and unceasing anguish” for His kinsmen, the Israelites, who are outside of Christ. They, like those in the present world, were deceived and enjoyed the pleasures of sin. Yet, Paul’s longing for their salvation is expressed as he says that he would be accursed and cut off from Christ if it meant they could be saved.

More than this, may we reflect the heart of Christ, who had compassion on us as we lived in wickedness. He displayed the ultimate love for His enemies by laying down His life for those who declared themselves haters of God. As we live in this wicked world may we humbly recall our life before Christ and these words of Scripture: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). Christ did not come to save the righteous; rather, he came to save the wicked and give truth to those who walk in the deceptions of the world.

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

Matthew 9:36

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