Storm at Porthleven Cornwall

Moral fragility is now celebrated as an excuse for the exercise of God’s grace, and exalted as a means by which God is glorified on account of our sin, and by the exercise of his pardoning forgiveness (cf. Rom. 6:1-2). There is a moral fatalism in the church today, and no one expects or believes that genuine righteousness is achievable or realistic. We have abandoned the quest for holiness for a pursuit of flawed human “rightness of intention.” As long as we don’t “mean” to do wrong, or we are “overtaken” by sin or temptation, no more effort than leaning in the right direction is required! We do not need to resist sin, just to be generally against it. Even if we are overtaken by it, it is no big deal because God’s grace is sufficient, and besides his grace enhances our testimony. Church often becomes group therapy, where we seek personal improvement through shared accountability, but not genuine biblical righteousness through the Spirit (cf. Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:13-26; Eph. 4:22-24). We are no longer looking for spiritual and moral transformation, through salvation that makes “all things new,” but moralistic and personal improvement (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17). Paul warned us against such a notion in Romans 6, where after extolling grace, he denied that we could continue in habitual sinning, on the grounds God would go on forgiving us on account of his infinite grace (Rom. 6:1-2)! This is denigrating of grace, and a misunderstanding of the righteousness of God as judge. This attitude of devaluing righteousness and lowering expectations is something many think will endear the church to the world, because it erases the perceived line of superior moralism among Christians. But in fact, what it does is to make the church irrelevant, and a second-rate option for people seeking personal growth and improvement. There are other organizations that can do it far better. The value of the church is not that it offers to merely mitigate our flaws, but to lift us completely out of the cesspool of sin and moral turpitude! The message of the Bible is that of deliverance, and freedom from sin. Paul’s warning to the Ephesian elders is particularly relevant (Acts 20:30-31).

About the Author

Paul and Loala pastor the Wilmington First Pentecostal Holiness Church, where they have served for almost 20 year. They have two children who work and serve in the church worship department, along with their son-in-law. Paul is a graduate of Holmes Bible College (Greenville, SC), with a BA in English Bible and New Testament Greek, and of Global University (Springfield, MO) with an MA in Biblical Studies (New Testament Concentration).

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