Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Public Scandal, Secret Sin and me/you

There is nothing new under the sun so I wasn't too surprised by another high profile scandal involving a Christian leader in the public eye (who I had heard very little about anyway before the scandal). In reflecting about the public scandal concerning his sin, two things came to my mind

1) Luke 12:1-3 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

It is good to have the opportunity to repent and be restored in the faith. Isn't it better now than in the next life where there is no longer any repentance? I would rather my hypocrisy is exposed now and dealt with than me taking my secret or unrecognized sin with me to the grave. I have a question on that; what happens to a Christian who experiences recurring sin ( the "big" ones like fornication, adultery, murder and failure to pay taxes as well as the “small” ones like lying, pilfering, gossip and character assassination) and eventually goes to his earthy grave without dealing with it and coming to full Biblical repentance?

I know the Alien Warrior will not loose the opportunity to tell me that such a person goes to Purgatory to be cleaned up, but seriously but what to you (Protestants) think?

2) Matthew 6:5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.

Related to point 1 above, by his public exposure and shame has the man received his punishment in full so that if he repents he is already received the consequences of sin but those who have kept this kind of stuff secret are waiting for "just deserts" from above? I know every sin that is repented of is forgiven and does not need to be publicly exposed but is God using public exposure to draw His own back to him. And if we are not personally convicted or "shamed" into repentance in this life, what is the consequence in the next? - Robbo


In answer to some of your questions I will attempt to shed the little light I have. Firstly I believe that if anyone has truly received Jesus as their Savior and not renounced Him, whatever their sin, they are going to heaven. I believe that God does punish Christians here on earth for their sins- it could be illness and death or simply allowing the consequences of their sin to play out, hence they get busted like this man.

One can also suffer the loss of rewards in heaven for sin and noncompliance with God's directives. I also think that sometimes we actually get caught up in a trap of Satan; either from being naive about his methods or ignorant of God's laws we are entangled in a snare of Satan. Why does God not deliver us in the latter case- the responsibility is on us to be wise and mature in an evil world and when we shun repeated warnings from God’s Word that is what will happen.

I do believe in redemption and a Christian leader in the public eye whose sin is shamefully exposed may well have a role to teach all of us about redemption but first he needs to get off the airwaves, get deliverance and true redemption from God and then allow God to give him whatever new platform that He, God, wants
– Alien Warrior



I agree with most of the above. I was also surprised by a verse from Galatians 1:4, and its chain references, where it says "[Jesus] who gave Himself for us to rescue (save) us from THE PRESENT EVIL AGE..." Until now, if someone had asked me what it means to have salvation or be "saved" I would have said "saved from hell, in the future, idiot". No, I wouldn’t add "idiot" but I had thought it referred to eternal damnation alone. But in this verse (and there are several like it) there are two points worth thinking about

1. The present age is evil. The current world system, its culture, philosophy, etc are all evil. Not just the entertainment world...like the way we in Ghana use the term "the system", the cosmos, the world order. It's evil. Jesus said that Satan was "the prince of THIS WORLD"

2. Jesus’ death rescues us from this present, evil system but not by physically taking us out of it. By a combination of the following (there may be more)
a. Forgiveness for our sins
b. Power to resist temptation
c. Protection from evil influence. (I believe Jesus death is enough; we don't need additional "deliverance" sessions)
d. Restoration from some of the ill-effects of previous sin, as in the power to break an old habit. For example, the drug addict who becomes a Christian can expect help to kick the habit- I'm not saying it's immediate or easy, but I've seen it happen. I've also seen some promiscuous people give it all up, and I've heard of homosexuals who became celibate and eventually heterosexual.

It seems to me (although I’m not sure and would appreciate some comment from you guys) that God in His wisdom has limited this salvation to spiritual things and their direct consequences, so we still live on earth as humans. I am not surprised then that this "saving from the present evil age" does not mean saved from poverty (unless it is due to bad habits or sin) or illness (except for the ones due to continuing sin). I think when the scripture says "by His stripes we are healed" it is referring to point 2d above, and not to illness. Otherwise we would have observed Jesus suffering from our illnesses in exchange. As far as I know He never had malaria or schizophrenia.

God does heal illnesses, but I don't think the basis of it is salvation. That is why even non-Christians can sometimes benefit from our healing ministry. The things that are really based on Jesus' sacrificial death can not be extended to unbelievers, because in a spiritual sense Jesus has not died for someone until that person believes and accepts Him.

Am I on the right track? Some of these are new thoughts for me. Let me know. - Calorius


Hi friends,
Reflecting on the verses originally posted by Robbo and after doing some reading about yeast, I have a few thoughts on the possible interpretation of these verses.

1) Luke 12:1-3
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

2) Matthew 6:5. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.

What was leaven? Today we think of it as the purified yeast that we place in dough. In the earthly days of Jesus, however, leaven was a small bit of dough that was saved from “parent dough” that had previously been shown to rise—prior to baking. After kneading this dough into new dough and waiting for the new dough to rise, a small piece of this now leavened dough was saved in turn for the next bread-making process and so on. Leaven, therefore, represented continuity with the past. Unleavened bread on the other hand represented a break with the past. A new beginning. A new Covenant.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ time based a lot of their teachings not on what was directly taught by scripture but on what had been handed down to them by their forebears. Unfortunately, these teachings—being the precepts of men—had become corrupted, and were filled with self-serving inconsistencies that fostered the kind of double-standards or hypocritical living that God deplores. Jesus in saying this, therefore, was warning the disciples against old traditions of hypocrisy taught by the Pharisees that had been passed (as yeast is passed from one piece of dough to the next) from generation to generation of Israelite corrupting each in turn.

Leaven could eventually go bad (e.g. perhaps because of genetic mutation; also if left in the dough too long it could make dough sour—this is how sourdough is made). Bad yeast corrupts the bread line. When this happens a new batch has to be started. Jesus is saying that this is what is needed with respect to the Pharisees’ teaching. Fresh dough! New wine for new wineskins! The only remedy: start afresh. Return to the pure Word of God, uncorrupted by self-serving interpretations passed off as God’s teaching.

Mt 16:6-12
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

What Jesus is asking for, therefore, is a clean break with the old leaven, the traditions of the Pharisees; a replacement of hypocrisy with sincere worship. I know God requires transparency in my life. No two-facedness. We all fall into that same trap from time to time—we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. It is our response when our leaven has become corrupted that matters.

Do we indignantly stick with it (preserving the corrupted dough line) as the Pharisees did (the Bible says in Matt 11:54-55 that “When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say”), or do we repent and start a new dough-line, as Peter did when he was caught in a hypocrisy of his own in regards to the Gentile Christians when the Judaizers came in—remember that Paul rebuked him publicly.

We all need to search our hearts as David prays and ask God to remove all that is not of Him so that we can truly live transparent lives devoid of hypocrisy. -
Gaius Columbus

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