I am reminded of how God deals with sin in the church, and how He doesn’t take it lightly. So often, these days, we hear ‘judge not’ and just tolerate and embrace continued wickedness in the church. Peace at any cost; even the cost of purity. This is so far from God’s heart. The following is from Book of Acts, chapter five:
“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events”.
A Bible commentary* explains, “This chilling account of the sudden deaths of Ananias (Hebrew, ‘the Lord is gracious’) and Sapphira (Aramaic, ‘beautiful’) makes us face the fact that God deals with sin, especially church members’ deceit and lack of integrity…for Christians today this is still a temptation: to so luxuriate in the love and grace of God that we do not take seriously the consequences of our deliberate sinning. But God will not be mocked” (Gal 6:7-8)…the message of this for Christian and non-Christian alike is self-evident. Christians must realize that the selfless, transparent fellowship of the church must never be violated by selfish hypocrisy. Further, it is proper to employ discipline to guard the church’s integrity, unity and purity. For the non-Christian, this account is a warning: Think twice before joining this holy fellowship. Are you willing to pay the price–fully renouncing wicked ways and full-heartedly embracing Christ and other believers in his body, the church?” View whole commentary here:
There is an overwhelming grace culture that has already entered Christian churches which is a false grace. It’s a grace that permits sin and sweeps wickedness under the rug. It’s a grace void of holiness and the fear of the Lord. It’s a false grace and a false love.
We are set free by God’s grace to be slaves of righteousness. We are not set free to stubbornly and willfully continue in wickedness without repentance (for these people prove that they are not saved). We are set free by the Truth to obey the Truth, not toss it out the window. It is the Truth that sets us free. Jude 1:4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
What is lasciviousness?
‘Bible in Basic English’ explains, “For certain men have come among you secretly, marked out before in the holy Writings for this evil fate, men without the fear of God, turning his grace into an unclean thing, and false to our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ”.
It is to be feared, that there are many in the world today, who fit this category. From Romans 6, words of the apostle Paul: “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness”.
Grace without the fear of the Lord is false grace.