Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
Our current circumstances relating to church discipline have me reinspecting my own life and patterns, and I know I’m not alone. Every one of us should be looking for the little root of sin that, left undisturbed, will grow into something monstrous which strips from us so many of the things we should cherish and jealously protect. Undoubtedly one of the reasons God has brought the present circumstances to us is so that we would wake up and ruthlessly pluck out those roots in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul says this in Romans 8:12-14, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Did you catch that? If we are sons and daughters of God, we will be led by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body.
Or as my favorite commentator, J.C. Ryle says, “Nothing darkens the eyes of the mind so much, and deadens the conscience so surely, as an allowed sin… Take my advice, and never spare a little sin. Israel was commanded to slay every Canaanite, both great and small. Act on the same principle, and show no mercy to little sins.”
Most of us have known this in our minds for many years, but I doubt we have known it as deeply or as urgently as we know it today. Depth and urgency are good, and we should praise God for being so merciful in teaching us. Ignoring this shot across the bow would be to our shame and harm.
So what is the little compromise you should have treated as a mortal enemy, but instead have hidden away and fed enough to keep alive? It is not your friend, you know. When the time is right, it will treat you as a mortal enemy, strip you bare, humiliate you, and leave you for dead. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, identify that small compromise, call it what it is, and put it to death by the Spirit.