The Sinfulness of the Sin of Silence, Part 2: Disassociations and Disobedience

My intention in this blog is to examine the disassociations from and disobedience to the Word of God in relation to Gospel endeavor. I cannot find a text in Scripture that leads me to believe that a person born of God may disassociate themselves from the clear commands of Christ to share the Gospel on the basis of extenuating circumstance, preference, or opinion.

Our disassociations seem to come on the basis of human distinctions and personal disobedience. We will talk about Christ and have Gospel conversation with those like us. But the tattered beggar at the McDonald’s asking for change, or the tattoed trucker at the gas station; the person whose flesh is of a different color, whose ethnicity is distinctive from our own, whose political slants are insulting to us, whose bank accounts are too high or too needy; the co-worker who cusses too much, whose gluttony disturbs you, whose character is…well, they have nothing good going for them, – they are too sinful to talk to about salvation. They are different. Let us go to our own neighborhoods, our own people, our own kind. We have disassociated from some basic biblical realities, –

1. We were them, – sinners at enmity with God, – and yet God graciously saved us. We are sinners saved by grace. Have we forgotten this so quickly? We are sinners. We are in pursuit of Christ-likeness, but we are nevertheless sinners, and by that reality we ought to endeavor to share the Gospel with other sinners. And we are sinners saved by grace, that is, God was not obligated to save us apart from Christ but He set us in Christ, and that not due to anything in us (we are sinners) but due to everything in Christ and on that basis alone God freely bestowed salvation upon sinners. We didn’t earn it and we aren’t worthy of it, but for Christ’s grace. I often think, – “If God saved me, what reason do I have to doubt that He will save these, and by that reckoning, why have I persisted in withholding Christ from them?”

2. The Gospel implores us to see beyond external distinctions to the internal, spiritual need of all people without distinction. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free; but Christ is all, and in all, Colossians 3:11. Because of the binding power of the Gospel, Euodia (a Jew) and Syntyche (a Gentile) are sisters in Christ whom Paul entreats to agree, – on what basis? – that they are in the Lord, Philippians 4:2. The cross-work of Christ knows no distinction but sinner in need of salvation, and we are all him or her. So it is our aim to evangelize the world knowing that the everyone in the world, regardless of human distinction, have at least one thing in common, – we are all sinners in need of Christ. Like Christ let us see the great need of the people we converse with tomorrow and take aim at offering the Lord to them.

3. Then there is always that Great Commission! “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:18-20. Why then are the laborers few (Matthew 9:37-38)? A lack of prayer to the Lord of the harvest for sure, but also a disassociation from the authority of Scripture and its infallible binding upon the very life of Christ’s disciples. In so far as we move away from the Bible, we move away from our Lord Himself, and His exhortations for godly living. Christ commissioned us to be active in making disciples and teaching them to observe all that He has commanded. How are we to teach others if we are unwilling ourselves to obey the authoritative commission and rule of our Lord to advance the Gospel at all costs.

4. We have disassociated ourselves from the cost of advancing the Gospel of Christ and the gracious privilege of sharing in His sufferings. Many of us upon our conversions simply did not count the cost of following Jesus Christ. We did not count all things loss for His sake so that on the occasion of actually losing them for His sake we would not be sidelined from sharing Christ but emboldened to advance the Gospel all the more courageously knowing more intimately the Treasure that is our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:7-9; Acts 9:15-16; Luke 14:26-33). We are all too comfortable. At the slightest hint of persecution or suffering, – of which by and large we know nothing of, – do you recant and recoil or like the apostles, do you rejoice at being counted worthy of suffering for the sake of Christ and the advancement of His Gospel (Acts 5:41, 16:25).

5. We have disassociated ourselves from eternal musing or meditation. Take time to think about the worst of temporal diseases, those that have no known cure. Think about the worst possible thing that these diseases can do to a person. Answer: Take their life. And then comes judgment and an eternal verdict! What disease can ravage the soul, the mind, and the body so as to take a person to hell? What is the consequence of this disease? Answers: Sin and a second death, that is, eternal torment in hell consequent of a personal and eternal rejection of and transgression against the Eternal God. And because these things are eternal and can capture your soul into hell, this disease, and its consequences are infinitely greater than anything that ravages the body alone unto the first death. But the Eternal God has given, offered, and commanded a Gospel, a cure, – Jesus Christ stepping out of heaven, into flesh, and on a cross, becoming sin for us who knew no sin so that we, the sinner, might become in Jesus the very righteousness of God before God who demands that we are so savingly clothed. This Gospel, beloved, we carry around with us. Every person that we pass is condemned already, embodying sin. Of the deepest sinfulness, then, is this sin of silence when we withhold the only means of eternal salvation and reconciliation to God through faith in the truth as it is in Jesus alone.

These are just some thoughts concerning my personal disassociations and disobedience in Gospel endeavor. There are, undoubtedly, many more reasons for my silence. I would hope to encourage you in this, however, – that the only true failure in Gospel endeavor is to say nothing at all. Every attempt that is made God is pleased to plant. These disassociations are my attempt at getting beneath that singular failure of silence to the “why” have I neglected so great a commission, privilege, and interest in the greatest need of human beings (sinners in need of Christ for righteousness). I hope that this strikes an edifying cord with you, as it does a convicting and repentant one in me. I pray that God might challenge us all, daily, to associate with and acquaint ourselves with Christ, His Gospel, and the condition of the lost, so as to overflow our spirits with an urgent desire to speak to all men, in all places, at all times of repentance towards and faith in Jesus Christ.

Your additional comments to these things are greatly desired by this bondservant who is in such great need of daily reminders to make the main thing the main thing.

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