- Religion and Philosophy
The Church is Like a Hospital
The Church is Like a Hospital
In this hub, I am going to be writing about the mercy and love of God and how it helps us in our struggles with temptation and sin. I’m also going to discuss the danger of continuing in sin.
Do you struggle with temptation and sin? Do you feel that no matter how hard you try, you cannot overcome it. Are you about to give up on God because you feel that you have disappointed Him too much? If so, God has a message for you:
And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. - 1 Samual 12:20-22.
In the context of this passage, the Israelites had fallen into years of idolatry and then committed the sin of asking for a king to rule over them. These people were the worshippers of the Lord. Christians, sometimes, fall into years of spiritual idolatry. The idolatry of selfishness, lies, sex and lust; eating and drinking things that they shouldn’t, or amounts that they shouldn’t, etc.
If that has been your experience, the mercy and love of God is so great that He will forgive you for your sins if you repent from them. Like the above passage has mentioned, the Lord will not forsake you. You are his people, even while struggling in temptation and sin; and He has not abandoned you. As long as there is life, there is hope. If God can forgive King Solomon after a lifetime of idolatry, he can forgive you for your sins.
Problems with sin are to be expected in the church. That’s because the church is a hospital for the spiritually sick and Jesus is the Great Physician. Sometimes we forget that; but if everyone came to church perfect, what need would we have of Jesus? Jesus said, “They that be whole need not a physician, …” - Matthew 9:12.
What are we supposed to do with the problems with sin we encounter in church? Let’s see what Samuel did so we can learn from his example. According to 1 Samuel 12:20-22, the first thing he did was confronted the Israelites about their sins idolatry and asking for a king. Then, he encouraged them to keep following the Lord, despite their wickedness. Next, he confirmed that God is a loving and merciful God; and there is one more thing that he did. Let’s read about it in verse 23: “ Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way”.
Samuel prayed for the erring Israelites. As a matter of fact, he said that it was a sin not to pray for them. Therefore, if we see our brother or sister in church living in sin, it is our responsibility to talk to them about it, in a loving manner, keeping in mind the mercy and love of God. We should also pray for them and with them, if they are willing to pray with us. It helps if we have a good relationship with them. If not, we could try to get someone who does have a good relationship with them to talk to them, because these types of issues need to be addressed.
It is understandable if most of the problems we have with sin in the church come from new converts, because they still have a lot to learn. However, for those who have been in the faith for years and are still struggling with the same sins they had when they were new converts, maybe they are not taking the spiritual medication of the Great Physician as prescribed. That of daily reading His Word, prayer, exercising faith in God, and fighting against temptation and sin.
The Bible tells us to flee from sin (1 Timothy 6:11). Most people crawl away from it in the hopes it catches them; and then when it does they say, “Oh, it got me! I’ve been overcome. There’s nothing I could about it.” However, we need to learn to hate sin if we are going to overcome it.
It is interesting to note, comparing the church to a hospital, that not all patients in a hospital make it out alive. Sometimes, this happens in the church. People become spiritually dead because they don’t listen to Jesus. This is even more dangerous than dying in a hospital because, often, those who are spiritually dead do not even know it. Nevertheless, the difference between the church and a hospital is that we can all make it out alive, because Jesus is the greatest physician in the universe and He can heal all of our spiritual maladies.
I admit, I am not a perfect man. Sometimes, I fall into sin and like it. At least at the time I am sinning. Can you relate to this? When I asked this question in church, many hands went up. I am not alone. The devil has a way of making sin seem so pleasant. But after I focus back on Jesus (because if my focus would be constantly stayed on Jesus, I wouldn’t sin), I feel guilty for my sin and ask Jesus to help me hate sin. I also remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins and the consequences of sinning. This discourages me from continuing to sin.
The Limit of God's Mercy
Not only does Samuel touch on the mercy and love of God and give encouragement to Israel in the midst of their wickedness, he also speaks about the consequence of continued sin: “But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” - Verse 25. This parallels Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; …” This is not because there is some point at which the mercy of God ceases, because the mercy of God is everlasting (Psalm 100:5).
However, there is a point in which we can become so hardened in our sins that we don’t feel guilty in them, anymore; and since we don’t feel guilty in them, we don’t ask God for pardon for them. That leaves us in an unpardoned condition—lost. As result, when our name comes up in the judgment, we stand condemned. Therefore, the only limit on God’s grace is ourselves. We limit it when become careless in our sins.
The mercy and love of God is so great that God can forgive us for a lifetime of sin. Nevertheless, we need to work with God and each other to keep sin out of our lives. Fighting against sin is an ongoing war. If we lose a battle, and we will, we can always turn to God for forgiveness; but we can’t become careless in sinful living or else we will become lost.
All Scripture references are from the KJV Bible.
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