ROMANS 6:12-14-Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
In the preface of his book Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, author Jerry Bridges writes, “The motivation for this book stems from a growing conviction that those of us whom I call conservative evangelicals may have become so preoccupied with some of the major sins of society around us that we have lost sight of the need to deal with our own more ‘refined’ or subtle sins.”
Today’s nugget is looking at three of those more ‘refined’ sins, or as titled “Tolerated Sins.” These three did not make it in Bridges’ book, but I believe they would fit nicely. I observed these occurring in Christians including the one writing this nugget. Before we identify these tolerated sins which should make us quite uncomfortable if they are in our lives, we must be committed to obey the opening exhortation found in the twelfth chapter of the letter to the Hebrews – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2). The exhortation? Stop playing with or allowing these tolerated sins.
Now our easily tolerated sins . . . The first might be the predominant of the three. It is the sin of complaining and that means about anyone or anything. The Apostle Paul would command us against this sin – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, workout your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing(Philippians 2:12-14). The seriousness of this sin against God is the message it sends to Him. When we complain about anything or anyone we say to our Lord, “I don’t like Your sovereign will in my life. I am rebelling against You.”
Another tolerated sin is procrastination. This, too, is serious before the Lord because it is a presuming upon His grace. We are putting off what we know the Lord commands of us today to a not promised tomorrow. James warns us of this sin – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”(James 4:13-15). Presumption hardens the heart and makes disobedience a pattern of life. Serious stuff
A third easily allowed sin is that of discontentment. We are basically telling the Lord, “You are not enough to satisfy me. Your provision and companionship is falling short of my heart’s desires. I need more than Jesus.” What a horrible state to be in as a believer! And the instruction of the Apostle Paul is sound and needs to be heeded – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13).Contentment is to be learned but we must be willing students and that means we are convinced only Christ makes a contented Christian.
Tolerated sins. Be on guard against them. They may appear “small” but they may steal the joy of the Lord from us and ruin our testimonies in an unbelieving world characterized by complaining, procrastination, and discontentment.
PRAYER: “Father, help me see there are no ‘little sins’ or to be ‘tolerated sins’ when it comes to my relationship with You.”
QUOTE: “Christians have been freed from the domineering power of sin making any sin always a choice in the believer.”