It’s surprising how often I’ll hear Christians repeating a “truth” that the Bible does not support. Worse yet, repeating a truth that is an outright falsehood or actually antithetical to a biblical worldview!
In all fairness, I don’t blame them. All of these people truly believe these things because other Christians have passed them on. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common of these Christian “urban legends” and myths, that have found their way into our “biblical worldview.”
1. All sins are equal in God’s sight. I’ve met with men deep in pornography or who have left their wives, who have taken comfort in the fact that we’re all sinners. Which is true. But some sins are clearly more serious than others. How do we know that? In the Old Testament, some sins were punishable by death; Adultery (Leviticus 20:10-12) Incest (Leviticus 20:17) Murder (Exodus 21:12) Perjury (Deuteronomy 19:15-21) Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14-16) (and a dozen or so more.)
There are many other sins listed primarily in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus. How do we know they are “lesser?” Because God’s punishment for them is of banishment, making restitution, doing some ceremonial cleansing or making sacrificial offering. In other words, God considered some sins far more serious than other sins, hence the lesser punishment.
Then, where in the word did the “all sins are equal” idea come from? It may be from this fact, that all sins are an offence against God and must be dealt with by faith in Jesus Christ.
But actually committing adultery is worse than thinking about it. And murder, is still more serious than anger, even though all four are still sins.
2. Christians shouldn’t ever judge other Christians The root of this myth is a misunderstanding of Jesus words, “Do not judge or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) Here’s the question; Is this a prohibition against all judging, or a warning about the hypocrisy of judging others before examining our own sin? Let’s read on.
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:2-5
Now read Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5. We are commanded to judge and punish other Christians under some circumstances. And it couldn’t be that only “sinless” Christians can do this. There aren’t any!
Most theologians agree that the current interpretation of the “judge not, lest you be judged” passage is a warning that if you have a serious sin area in your life, or are secretly committing the same sin that you’re now judging someone else for, you either need to repent of that sin, or excuse yourself from passing judgment. I’ve known elders who have excused themselves from voting to discipline a man divorcing his wife because at that time, this elder and his wife were having a very tough struggle in their own marriage. I admired his integrity and I believe it’s a proper application of the warning against hypocritical judging.
The Bible does flat out prohibit us judging non-Christians. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked person from among you.’” 1 Corinthians 5:12, 13
In next week’s blog, I’ll cover a few more of these myths or misunderstood teachings.
Question: Do you have some “myths” you’ve heard or wonder if they are true? Let me know.
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