FIRST-PERSON: Do we view sin as God views sin?
BENBROOK, Texas (BP)--My husband and I recently watched "The Truth Project" DVD series by Focus on the Family. One of the greatest lessons we drew from it was the desire to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. After all, that is what a Biblical worldview is, to be like Christ, to think like God.
We know God hates sin. We know He hates many things we see in our culture. He hates the killing of unborn babies, He hates homosexuality, He hates pornography, He hates abuse, He hates divorce, He hates everything our entertainment industry exports to the rest of the world. And he hates all this because He loves people, and sin hurts the people he loves and wants to redeem.
I know I feel upset about the moral decay I see. But I believe God wants us to be heart-broken and devastated over sin. He wants us to grieve over the sin that separates us from Him. To grieve means to suffer, to sorrow, to weep, to wail, to sob, to howl.
This reflection became more personal after a friend shared Ezekiel 8-9 with me. In Chapter 8 the Lord shows Ezekiel "the detestable things" that Israel was doing. He shows him the idolatry, the wickedness, the sinful deeds done in darkness. Three times the Lord warns Ezekiel "but you will see things that are even more detestable." In chapter 9 God instructs six men, the guards of the city, to take a deadly weapon and slaughter everyone, starting at the temple.
But in the midst of this powerful act of judgment, another character appears. A man dressed in linen who carries a writing kit. He is commanded to "go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." The Message puts it this way: "Put a mark on the forehead of everyone who is in anguish over the outrageous obscenities being done in the city." The people who were given the mark by the man with the writing kit were spared. They were not destroyed. The mark was their safeguard.
The question for me, after reading these chapters was: If God commanded the man dressed in linen to go around every city in America and put a mark on those who are grieving, lamenting and in anguish over the sin God hates, would I get the mark? Revelation 2:5 says "Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." These are perilous times and the call to repentance is for the church. The world does not see the spiritual dimension of things that go on here on earth. Their understanding is darkened. They are blind, they are captives. But the church, the Bride of Christ, is the beacon of hope in society. If the church sleeps, if the church is distracted and lukewarm, if the church is worldly, then the lampstand will be removed. What an utterly terrifying thought! Lord, have mercy on us.
My husband recently memorized this verse: "I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me" (Hosea 13:5-6).
Have we forgotten what made our nation great? It is certainly not ourselves, but God Almighty. God has poured His blessing on us because when America was founded, God was given first place. The Founding Fathers knew and declared that this Republic was designed to succeed as long as God's Word remained the law of the land. God is calling us to repent. God is calling us to be set apart, to be consecrated to Him, to be courageous, "to set before our eyes, no vile thing" (Psalm 101:3). God is calling us to remember Him, to repent from our sin, and to return to our first love.
Remember. Repent. Return.
Sudi Kate Gliebe is a doctoral student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in child development. She and her husband, Steven Michael Gliebe, reside in Benbrook, Texas.