The thing about pushing and pushing for what is sinful is that God may well decide in the end to give us over to it. Our sin may be pushing us towards something that, of itself, is good but for ungodly reasons. Our sin may be pushing us toward something ungodly for ungodly reasons. But God’s judgement will come when he eventually gives us over to our sinful desire.
The other day, I wrote about the most atrocious thing you can possibly do in any given job. It wasn’t stealing artefacts from a museum as a curator, it wasn’t even killing children as a nurse (heinous and awful as that is). The very worst thing a person could do is actively lead them away from the Lord Jesus and cause them to face eternal punishment in Hell under God’s wrath. Anyone might potentially do that, but I think teachers of scripture – pastors and theologians in particular – are especially well placed to do so. They are so plausible and we (rightly) trust them. Those who take us away from Jesus, the pursuit of his glory and the holiness to which he calls us are – according to Christ himself – truly the most despicable of all.
Whilst on that cheery note, I got to thinking a bit about Romans 1. Particularly to the Lord giving people over to their sinful desires. I have long been of the view that one way the Lord gives people over to sin in the church is to give them what they want.
For congregations who will not wear sound teaching, the Lord often gives them over to those who will gladly please them and tickle their ears. For many, that might not seem like much of a judgement but we have several hundred years now of seeing what happens when churches depart the gospel. Their people fall away because, per 1 John 2:19, they never really belonged to Jesus. Those calling for teaching that will take them away from Jesus, and it is so obvious when you say it out loud, clearly do not belong to Jesus because they agitate for what will necessarily takes them away from him. What they want is evidently not him which suggests they never belonged to him. So, their people fall away.
As those churches limp on for a while, largely operating as social services doling out the feel-goods to whoever happens to rock up, affirming everyone in every sin because God is love, love is love and therefore love must be whatever you want it to be, they eventually peter out. When the church ends up merely parroting back what you can get anywhere and everywhere else in the world, people rightly begin to ask what purpose it serves. When they offer social services you can get anywhere else, often better, and teaching that you hear all the time all around you, it is hardly surprising when people no longer get any value from the church and soon drift away.