Abusers are not Your Average Sinner

1Ti 1:12-13 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, (13) though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,

 

Often we come across the question of how we can say that abusers never change. And as was pointed out recently, that Jesus saved people like Zacchaeus the tax-collector and of course, Saul of Tarsus – the Apostle Paul. Aren’t these cases of abusers coming to repentance and being saved?

No.

The kind of sinner, the brand of evil that we address here under the name “abuser,” is quite different. All sinners are not the same. The large majority of abusers do, what? They parade under a disguise of the most wonderful, charismatic, kind, holy, saintly….just keep piling on the adjectives….person you would ever know.

Mat_6:5  “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Mat_6:16  “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Mat 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

Understand? Think about it carefully. This is one of the typical qualities of the abuser. Hypocrite. Disguise. Mask. That is why so many of them are church members and claim to be fine Christians.

The Apostle Paul was never such a person. Did he abuse, before his conversion, Christians? Yes. But why? Because he genuinely believed that he was serving God in doing so. As he says, he acted “ignorantly in unbelief.” The Lord showed him mercy.

And here then is the difference. Paul was a sinner. He was a legalist, but he was not a hypocrite. He was what he was and did not pretend anything else. He was wrong. He was a sinner. He was persecuting Christ. But he was the real thing, even though that real thing was sinning.

One kind of person that Jesus did NOT eat with was the Pharisees and scribes – those hypocrites he pronounced divine woes upon. These are the real abusers. No conscience. No repentance. Lusting for power and control. Using and oppressing. Paul was never one of those. And you can bet that Nicodemus was not one either.

And it is those kind who do not change. Those are the abusers. They operate in knowing unbelief. And for them, God has no mercy.

Other Related Posts:
Saul of Tarsus was not an Abuser – Let Me Show You Why

Why is Forgiveness Even Possible?

Mark 2:4-11  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic — “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

In our ongoing discussion of forgiveness, we am challenging much of the contemporary thinking among Christians regarding this important subject.  I trust that all of you realize (and I think that you do) that when I maintain that because God does not forgive His enemies  (they must bow and humbly repent of sin and confess Christ as Lord and Savior, thus laying down arms against God), I do not mean that we are to remain hateful and vengeful toward those who sin against us and who, in fact, are our enemies. We are not to seek personal vengeance, but to leave that to God. But what I mean is that in all of this, we do not declare that they are no longer our enemy, when in fact, they are. They continue the warfare. And I address this because so many victims of abuse are being told that forgiveness means that they must no longer regard their abuser as their enemy, which is simply a denial of reality.

Continue reading “Why is Forgiveness Even Possible?”

Even the Best Bible Teachers Get it Wrong Sometimes

J.C. Ryle is one of my favorite Bible commentators. If you are following our Wednesday morning Bible studies which we livestream on the Christ Reformation Church page (and publish on youtube and sermondaudio.com/crc) you have heard me quote Ryle many times. His set of commentaries on the Gospels is excellent.

But…

Continue reading “Even the Best Bible Teachers Get it Wrong Sometimes”