My name is Keith Giles. I love to write so that people can know Jesus and experience His life in their own.
So, I started this blog to help people understand who Jesus is, and how He reveals what the Father is really like.
This is a safe place to talk about all those questions you've had about the Bible, and Christianity. It's also a place to learn how to put the words of Jesus into practice.
Saturday, June 01, 2013
There’s almost nothing worse than being in a movie
theater where the projectionist isn’t paying attention and you have to scream,
“Focus! Focus!” to get them to adjust the picture.
That’s how I feel when I listen to most Christians talk
these days. They’re technically correct, but focused on the wrong ideas.
For example, earlier this week I received a message from
someone who wanted to know my opinion about gay marriage. Beyond the “right or
wrong” aspect of her question was a deeper reality. Her friend had walked away
from church over feelings of rejection from her Christian leaders.
Can we identify the behaviors that are categorized as
“sinful” accurately? Most certainly. In fact, we’re very, very good at that in
the Body of Christ. We can go to verses like 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and read:
“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters
nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor
drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The scriptures are pretty clear about who does, and who
doesn’t, make it into the Kingdom. But what do we do with that information? Do
we go to our co-worker who isn’t a believer and place our hand on their
shoulder and inform them that they are a sinner and that because they get drunk
on the weekends that they will not be accepted by God? Or do we go to our
neighbors and knock on their door and say, “Hello, I just wanted you to know
that since you’ve been married more than once, you are an adulterer and God
won’t allow you to enter His Kingdom.” Hopefully not.
But when our first thought about homosexuals is to
proclaim that they are sinners and to inform them that this disqualifies them
from entering God’s presence, that’s exactly what we’re doing. It’s sort of a
reverse evangelism. We wouldn’t go out into the world and start separating all
non-believers into various categories of sin in order to condemn them, would
Not only is this wrong-headed, it’s actually
non-biblical. By that I mean, we do not ever see the Apostles or the early
Christians going out to identify all the sinners around them. They did not say,
“Hey you greedy drunkards, you’re not welcome in the Kingdom of God.” Instead,
what we see time and again is the proclamation that the Kingdom of God is
available, and wide open to people just like those "sinners".
When Paul stood
before the Athenians he did not condemn them as evil sinners because of their
idolatry (something he specifically identifies in 1 Cor. 6 as sinful). Instead,
Paul takes the time to commend them for their religious zeal! He then tells
them how wonderful God is, and how they can get to know Jesus who has risen
from the dead. No mention of condemnation for their sins, just an appeal to
their desire to know the truth about God and an opportunity to meet Jesus
Most of us, I believe, wouldn’t dream of saying to an
unbelieving co-worker or friend, “Hey, you’re a sinner and that means you can’t
enter God’s Kingdom.” But when we walk around proclaiming that homosexuality is
a sin and that those who practice this are going to hell, that’s exactly what
we’re doing. Are we factually correct? Yes. Are we right? No. Because Paul’s
statements in 1 Corinthians 6 were made to Christians, not to unbelievers. And
notice how he finishes that statement about who will not enter the Kingdom of
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed,
you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and by the Spirit of our God.” (v.11)
See? The people he was writing to were formerly sinners
themselves. He is reminding them of how far they have come. Why? So that they
will not be tempted to look down on “those sinners” over there, because all of
them were once in the same condition.
Our posture towards those outside the Kingdom of God
should be to love them, to befriend them, to have them over to dinner, to bless
them in the name of Jesus. Whether they are drunkards, or adulterers, or liars,
or greedy, or homosexuals, or whatever, we should take the time to get to know
them, and to love them, and to wait for the opportunity to share the love of
Jesus with them so that they can see that God loves them and that His Kingdom
is wide open to them whenever they are ready to follow Him.
Isn’t that what Jesus did for us when we were sinners?
Didn’t he welcome us? Didn’t he love us? Didn’t he overlook our sins in order
to show us what life with him could be like if we would simply take his hand and
It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. Our
role is to love people into the Kingdom. If we go out proclaiming that everyone
else is a sinner and that the pathway to Jesus is closed to them, what’s the
point? Instead, let’s go out proclaiming the goodness and mercy of God towards
everyone, admitting that we are sinners too. Let’s invite people to know Jesus
personally so that He can transform them into His image as they learn to trust
There’s nothing worse than being unable to see the big
picture because we’re distracted by the wrong things.