CHAPTER 9

    BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF RATIONALIZATION

I Samuel 15:13-15, 18-21, ““And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have
carried out the command of the Lord.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the
lowing of the oxen which I hear?” And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for THE PEOPLE
spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed... and
(Samuel said) the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight
against them until they are exterminated.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil
and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I DID OBEY the voice of the Lord, and
went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly
destroyed the Amalekites. But THE PEOPLE took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things
devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal..””

When Samuel discovered that Saul had not obeyed the Lord’s directive to utterly destroy all the Amalekites and their
possessions, he confronted him with his sin. Saul’s response was to justify and make excuses for his disobedience.
First, he blamed the people. Next, he excused his sin by appealing to Samuel’s devotion to God by saying that the
animals were to be used for religious purposes as a sacrifice to the Lord. He rationalized his disobedience by shifting
the blame to others and by claiming that the religious value made the apparent disobedience excusable.

Shortly after being saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord spoke to me about my walk. He said, “Beware of the
leaven of rationalization.” In Matthew 14:26 Jesus says, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”, but this was
different. The Lord spoke to me about rationalizing because I, both before and after I was saved by Him, had an
uncanny ability to find good reasons for my various rebellious activities. I even had scientific support for this rationale.
First, college psychology taught me that my outbursts of anger were necessary because I needed to release my
frustrations. Psychologists, refer to this as the hydraulic principle. The idea goes like this: if you hold anger in and don’
t find a vent for it, then you are in danger of experiencing a variety of internal afflictions, which include getting an ulcer
or developing high blood pressure. Second, my problems with authority were supposedly my father’s fault because he
disciplined me too harshly (in experience, this was totally untrue).

God, however, would not let me live such unscriptural lies. He showed me that I could not rationalize away my
Scriptural responsibilities to exercise self-control and obey those who are in authority over me.

The Saul Church is a rationalizing Church. We have infused the secular view of man into our thinking and have
looked at man basically as a victim of his circumstances or heritage. Like Saul, certain of our activities are identified in
Scripture as sin and rebellion, but we refute those accusations. We now consistently label alcoholism and drug
addiction as diseases rather than sins. Please understand I am aware that many sins can turn into bondages that
need drastic spiritual remedies and radical repentance. We excuse our own bitterness, unforgiveness, and selfish
sensitivity by pointing out, often in the midst of unrepentant tears, that we have been “hurt” terribly. We usually blame
spouses, ex-spouses, pastors, ex-pastors, parents, prejudiced people, or bosses who have never really understood
us. Notice that many of the people who hurt us were authorities in our lives. One of the most common reasons for our
being hurt is that these authorities in our lives were too critical or did not correct us with enough love. We realize that
unforgiveness and bitterness are not acceptable to God, but our method for disposing of these problems is to either
pray for an inner healing or get Christian psychological counseling, which usually reinforces our suspicions that our
parents or our ex-spouses are largely to blame for our sins. Please understand, parents and other people over us may
well have been verbally, physically or even sexually abusive. But the solution has to do not with my hurts or pain but
with my unacceptable attitude of bitterness or unforgiveness. Often Christians use their parents as scapegoats for
their own rebellion. This attitude is unacceptable to God. When we recognize our sin of unforgiveness, and repent of
it, then we are clear with God. We receive God’s forgiveness; we obey His commandment to forgive others, not on the
basis of what they have done or will do to us, but on the basis of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Another solution, which is common in some Charismatic churches, is to go through psychologically oriented
counseling sessions that are liberally mixed with deliverance ministry. We then are told to love our parents, but we
also are dragged through even more hours of “therapy” which more and more shows us how truly rotten and unloving
they really were. Oftentimes we blame our own problems on “inherited sin.” This notion completely ignores the facts
that we have been born again and are now new creatures in Christ. We ignore 2 Cor 5:17 which declares, “Therefore
if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” We have had
books written, sermons preached, radio and television programs broadcast, all reinforcing our rationalization - that our
problem is ESSENTIALLY SOMEBODY ELSE’S FAULT. Usually the therapy leads us to conclude that we were
affected by SOMEONE ELSE’S SIN and we are instructed only to forgive them. Forgiving them is very important, but
we are typically not clearly shown our own need to repent of our sin of unforgiveness. We need to receive God’s
forgiveness for our part in the matter. Often our poor work habits or unthankful complaining attitudes were what
triggered our boss’s verbal abuse. I remember as a child being very “wise” and sarcastic with my father and mother
when asked to do chores. I also remember convincing my mother of my faultlessness in a situation, so I could get her
on my side. I am talking about convincing her of something that was not true. I knew I was at fault, but I also knew that
I could get her to sympathize with me against my father. There were times when he would lash out in anger and call
me names. Other times he would rip off his belt and give me a licking. Looking back I can see now that my acts of
rebellion and manipulation were my fault. It is true that my father’s anger was his fault but I was not merely a victim.
Many psychological counselors will discount or ignore the child’s sin in such a matter, but it is absolutely necessary
for Christians as adults to recognize their own sinfulness in situations with their parents, and to repent of these
activities. A good counselor will try and get the whole story. A good Biblical counselor will understand that the issue is
not inner healing, but taking responsibility for our own actions, receiving His forgiveness and being cleansed by
properly apprehending the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ. In summation, we are not CLEARLY shown our own
need to repent of our sins and receive God’s forgiveness.

Years ago, in an inner healing service my wife inadvertently attended at a denominational camp meeting for women,
the women who had been hurt in the past and still suffered the effects were told to “visualize” the offending party of
the past begging for forgiveness at their feet. The women were led to say, “I forgive you” to the imaginary groveling
offenders. The women were never told to repent of their own sin of unforgiveness, and, as in most cases, they were
never told to see if they, in any way, had contributed to the other party’s disobedience, or to see if they had
responded in a sinful manner. They were brought to a place where there was no room for personal repentance or
responsibility. They were given instruction in the fine art of rationalizing away their sin and placing it on someone else.
In chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, the profound love chapter of Scripture, the Apostle Paul discusses the essence of love
in detail. First, he lays down the foundation that this divine virtue MUST attend all our works, good deeds and
religious activity. If it does not, those activities are WORTHLESS. Some of the attributes that he mentions that are
particularly pertinent for our discussion are the following: “love is not provoked, love does not take into account a
wrong” (1 Cor 13:5), “love bears all things, love endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7). These attributes indicate to us that
we need to put up with a lot from other people. This portion of Scripture indicates that if these attributes do not exist in
our hearts, then we have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If we do not have these attributes in our life then
whatever we do, profits us NOTHING (1 Cor 13:1-3). These aspects are there because we have been forgiven from
the most expensive debt of all (see Matt 18:21-35). This debt is calculated in these verses as being billions of dollars.
This is an unpayable debt. All other debts are miniscule compared to the debt that we owe to the Lord Jesus Christ
because He died on the cross for our sins, forgave us and paid the price for our sins with His blood. It is clear from
Scripture that we are to forgive solely on the basis of what He has done for us. Our forgiveness is NEVER based on
what others have done to us (whether these acts were real or imaginary). We forgive because of His forgiveness of
our sins and consequent love for us. When an individual truly understands the depth of his sins against the totally
innocent Lamb of God, he will have no need to rationalize his concern about being offended, no matter how serious
the offense has been. I have seen my wife, who was molested and abused as a child by her step-father for years
completely forgive and love him. This was not done because his attitude had changed in the least; this was done
because she had seen the magnificent and complete forgiveness of her own sins through the work of the Son of God
on the cross.

Rationalization, along with being a terrible sin, is also an insidious trap. When psychologically applied, it causes us to
NEED something besides the Cross of Jesus Christ for our sanctification. We are not told to forgive people merely on
the basis of His great and wondrous and loving work of forgiveness and redemption on the cross. We are told we
must add to that work a recounting, or “visualization”, of situations and people who caused us so much pain which
resulted in “unhealed hurts.” We are not taught to apply Matthew 18 which clearly teaches that we are to forgive
others SOLELY on the basis of the FACT that we deserve only hell, and have been forgiven of our sins by God. We
are not told that our acts of sin against a Holy God are much more terrible than anything anyone could have ever
done to us. Jesus says in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies. The understanding is that we are to love them willingly
and gladly, BECAUSE OF THE LOVE WE HAVE BEEN SHOWN BY THE FATHER in the face of our own terrible sins
against Him. Instead, in the Saul Church, we are taught to apply the fleshly, deadly doctrines of psychology and inner
healing as expounded by the scripturally inept or demonically confused. We now are given PSYCHOLOGICAL
solutions to spiritual problems, and spiritual solutions are typically ignored.

We do not merely rationalize our sin and blame others with a Christian psychology rationale; we also rationalize our
sin by accusing the accuser. We appeal to the fact that they don’t understand! This statement is usually followed by
“God knows my heart” or “You don’t have the right to judge me!” Both of these ploys are particularly effective
because they put the offensive accuser (or corrector) on the defensive. This tactic also gives us time to think of some
further excuses for our judged conduct. Another excuse is that “our motives were good anyway”, or “it may be true
that I did make a bad mistake, BUT it is nothing compared to your virtually unforgivable sin of JUDGING ME!” In the
political realm we see these tactics: when Bill Clinton was accused of his perverse sins, he switched the attention of
the media, to the supposedly cruel inquisition led by Ken Star and the ruthless Republicans. This last tactic which
categorizes any form of verbal correction as “judging” is particularly effective. Many in the Church are certain that no
one has the right to judge anyone else. They come to this conclusion by a superficial and carnal understanding of the
Scripture, which says, “judge not lest ye be judged.” They were never taught what the Scripture actually meant. They
were never taught that it meant “condemn not lest ye be condemned.” In no way do these Scriptures indicate that we
are not to differentiate whether a person’s act is good or bad.

Several years ago, I was involved with a prison ministry that a man set up after he had been incarcerated for political
crimes. He was deeply moved by the painful condition and lack of spirituality among the men that he did time with. He
decided to start ministering Jesus Christ to these men and developed a program that is recognized as one of the most
successful Christian prison ministry in the nation. I became interested in prison ministry through a friend and was
introduced to this program. In order to qualify to teach in this program, I had to take a number of classes and in doing
so I read the ministry books that were a part of his curriculum. I was quite surprised to find that most of these books
contained a great deal of self-esteem teaching for the prisoners. The premises of these textbooks was that the men
needed to have more self-esteem and needed to love themselves more, in order to be truly successful in their pursuit
of Christianity. The author taught that most of these men grew up in abusive households and thought little of
themselves, and because of this they could not truly love others. He contended that these men, along with being guilty
criminals, were also victims of households that deeply damaged their self-images and caused them to think ill of
themselves.

My experience with these men in the prisons and men like them outside the prisons was much different. In my twenties
before I was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, I was involved in the criminal element from two standpoints: I was heavily
involved with gambling and met many individuals who were card cheats, scam artists and generally speaking, con
men that looked for an edge anywhere they could find it. I certainly was no better than they were; after several years
of making a small living at playing poker in the clubs, I succumbed to the temptation of becoming a card cheat and
worked with other card players in scamming in low stakes poker games. My experience taught me that we all thought
much more of ourselves than we did of our victims. We used to discuss the fact that the suckers were going to lose
anyway, and they might as well lose quickly. Most of the card cheats were fairly intelligent and looked upon the others
as either stupid or “sick” because they were masochists who seemed to have a desire to be punished. We were the
very willing punishers. We were the winners; they were the losers. We were the manipulators; they were the ones
who were manipulated. We were the sharks; they were the fish.

Another realm of criminal activity that I was involved with was buying and selling drugs. I couldn’t help but notice that
many drug dealers; both small time and big time had no concern for the people that were victims of the drugs they
sold. Many KNEW what heroine or speed or psychedelics did to the people to whom they sold. They really could care
less. They esteemed themselves very highly, and cared little for their clients. Because of the type of people who sold
drugs and cheated at cards, I came to know quite a number of professional thieves. One in particular, a very
personable man who had a great a sense of humor and could be very generous when he wanted to, had a credit card
scam that for its time was quite large. He made it clear that he could care less about the victims and rationalized his
crimes by noting that everybody is a thief and liar, and he was just a little smarter than the rest.

When I became a pastor and was counseling a woman in our congregation and her boyfriend, regarding their
upcoming marriage, I had a chance to hear some stories from her fiancé who was getting ready to go back to prison
for armed robbery. His most telling story was about an armed robbery of a home in the suburbs. He had staked out
this home and he was sure that the family was on vacation. The reason he knew this was because he said that he
had watched the house for four nights in a row, and he noticed that the lights automatically turned on at nine o’clock
all four of those nights. He deduced that this was a timer that was set up to make it look like someone was living in the
house. On the fifth night he entered the premises about eleven o’clock, after the automatic lights had turned off. While
he was rummaging through one of the bedrooms, he heard the front door open and a man came in. It was the owner
of the home. He told me that he waited behind the door, with his gun drawn, and if the man walked through the door
into the room where he was, that he would shoot the man and kill him. He said, he did not want to go back to prison
and he would do anything to save himself from life behind bars. He made it abundantly clear that he esteemed his life
infinitely more than he esteemed the life of his possible victim. It turned out he did not need to kill the man because the
man went to the other end of the house and my robber friend made his escape through the window. He made it clear
he would have felt bad about killing the man, but it was the right thing to do, because he wasn’t going to let him stand
in the way of his freedom.

Criminals who rob, rape, murder, cheat, or sell drugs esteem themselves MUCH more than their victims, and love
themselves MUCH more than their victims. The Bible is still correct when it says, “no man hateth his own flesh, but
cherisheth it” and we are called to “esteem others MORE HIGHLY than ourselves.” In working with Prison Fellowship I
noticed that this self-esteem teaching and self-love teaching was much more popular than the teaching which warned
of the punishment of God and encouraged unselfish conduct. Most of the prisoners loved hearing about their status
as victims, and many used these so-called truths to manipulate the system. The greatest grief was that many
“Christian” ministries merely reinforced their rationalization that they were victims.

We are becoming much more like Israel’s northern kingdom (Samaria) which embraced the God of the Jews and His
ways, and also embraced many of the local gods. The self-esteem and self-love teaching is not from Scripture, but
from the secular psychology of the humanistic culture in which we live. It is of the world and for the world, and when it
is practiced by Christians, it is spiritual adultery.

The Saul Church commits the sacrilegious act of rationalizing their disobedient acts because of benefits brought to the
Church. In the 1970’s a large church prepared one of its staff members to take secular psychology classes for a
Masters in Psychology because the church was told by people in the legal community that the church was less likely
to be sued by a disgruntled counselee if the church had a licensed psychologist on staff.

Back in the 1980’s we all witnessed the grievous spectacle of a minister telling the people that if he did not collect a
large sum of money (in the millions) that God would have to take him home (kill him). He received a check for at least
$1,000,000 from a race track owner in Florida. Of course the gambling revenues that constituted the bulk of the
$1,000,000 were gotten from people who were in many cases in bondage to gambling. This man felt that it was ok
because the money was to be used for God’s work. As was to be expected, his work went bankrupt several years
later. The gambler’s blood money did not help at all.

Many church leaders have taught members of their congregation to rationalize the pursuit of money as a laudable
spiritual endeavor. The rationalization goes like this: God needs the money to build His Kingdom, and He needs
moneymakers or “givers” to give money to the kingdom builders; therefore, certain people have a calling to be
moneymakers or givers. Therefore, because much money is needed to build the kingdom of God, many people are
needed to make all the money that God needs. I have met people who sincerely told me they were pursuing wealth
because they were called to be givers, and that in order to do so, they had to be wealthy. They apparently were
completely unaware that they were violating I Timothy 6:9 which says, “but those who want to get rich fall into
temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” They also
were taught that luxurious living was a part of being one of God’s children, and they needed to show the world what it
was like to be a child of the King. In my experience and observation, most of the people that labored to become
wealthy for these reasons NEVER became wealthy and in fact struggled for years. The result of this rationalization is
that tens of thousands of people have ended up laboring for the things that perish. They serve Mammon with the
excuse that they are building the kingdom. Their pursuit of wealth and riches and comfort and prestige is nothing more
than a self-deceiving, on-going rationalization. Scripture makes it clear that God blesses some with material wealth but
it is our attitude regarding money that defines us as either obedient or disobedient. Many Christians never sought
after wealth but God did make them wealthy anyway.

One of the most popular rationalizations for not doing what we are told is best explained by this statement, “I don’t like
the way you told me to do that. If you were really a godly man (or woman) speaking by the Spirit, you would have said
that WITH MORE LOVE! You didn’t say it right, therefore it can’t be God, and I won’t do it.” They believe that if the
tone of voice is harsh or impatient that automatically disqualifies the validity of the word spoken because that is not
how the Holy Spirit speaks. Even if the offended individual later realizes that what was told him WAS correct, he is
able to blame the person who told him, by appealing once again to the excuse that “It was not said with love.”
The implied notion is that when a godly person gives correction or rebuke, he will do so with politeness, love and a
soft voice. However, even a casual look at Scripture reveals that prophets did not always speak with honey dripping
from every word. Sometimes they were harsh to God’s disobedient and/or illegitimate children. In the New Testament
we read the words of Stephen, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always
resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did (these words all by themselves without reference to a
tone of voice would be considered UNKIND). Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they
killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you
have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” (Acts 7:51-53). Jesus
also sprinkled His teaching with hard words, especially when dealing with religious phonies. Matthew 23:13-33 is a
good example, “....woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from
men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow these who are entering to go in. Woe to you Scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, even while for a pretense you make long prayers... you
travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son
of hell as yourselves. Woe to you blind guides...You fools and blind men...Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites...You clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self indulgence...
You are like white washed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones
and all uncleanness...You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?” It would be
difficult, if not impossible, to speak these words with a sweet, kind, loving understanding tone of voice. There had to
have been a force of warning and judgment in the tone of Jesus’ words. Even to His own disciples He said, in
Matthew 17:17, “....O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with
you?” And when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip, he likely was not soft spoken.
Even carnal enemies can be used by God in a most insulting way to convey truth to us. II Samuel 16:5-11 notes that
Shimei was a bad spirited, hateful man who insulted David in a most degrading way: “““When King David came to
Bahahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the
son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of
King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. And thus Shimei said when
he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! The Lord has returned upon you all the
bloodshed of the house of Saul”.... Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse
the lord my king? Let me go over now, and cut off his head.” But the king said, ““What have I to do with you...If he
curses, and if the Lord has told him, “Curse David”, then who shall say, “Why have you done so...Let him alone, and
let him curse, for the Lord has told him..””” Notice in this quote that David could say, “Let him go...God is speaking
through him to me.” He did not refuse to listen to the message even though it was not said “in love.”

David had the wonderful ability to hear the correction of God even in a carnal hate-filled man. If the prophets, Shimei,
who was a carnal enemy, Stephen, and Jesus Himself could speak harsh words of rebuke, certainly, in the midst of a
rebellious and deluded church age, we can expect God to speak with force, anger, and sometimes even with insult to
us. Scripture proves that the way in which a message is delivered is not the issue. The issue is the message. Yet we
have an entire generation, because of the infiltration of humanistic psychology into our churches, that is so selfishly
sensitive that the people feel quite justified in rejecting a word of correction, because it was not delivered “with love”
and causes them to have low self esteem.

Of course, we recognize the responsibility to speak properly and to have great love. II Tim 2:25 says, “with gentleness
correcting those who are in opposition…” That is NEVER, however, to be the criteria to judge whether or not a word is
to be received. We MUST LEARN to deny ourselves and let the cross do its work of dealing death to our flesh,
whether it is a perfect word from one who loves us, or an ill-intentioned word from one who hates us. We must never
rationalize disobedience on the basis of the messenger. We must learn to hear and obey the message regardless of
the messenger. Sometimes God’s greatest display of love is a stern, penetrating word that turns us away from sin.
God’s word may come to us from a brother or sister in Christ; or even a worldly sinner like Shimei that just happens to
be at least partially right.

All of this over-sensitivity must go. Church members who have been offended by the tough sermons or harsh words of
their pastors must learn to hear because their pastors are concerned for them and sees that their lifestyle makes their
calling and election VERY unsure. Often, God speaks through willing men words that warn listeners that they are tip
toeing on the brink of the pit of Hell.

Rationalization for Saul was really the covering that blinded his eyes to the rebellion that was so prominent in his
heart. He excused sin and blamed others, and ultimately dressed up his excuses so well that he may in some cases
have actually believed them. The great problem is, as long as he could hide behind his excuses, he was really blind to
the forgiveness of God. He had so rationalized and excused himself before God that his heart told him that he really
was not guilty, just misunderstood, and because he was not guilty, he obviously needed no forgiveness. Because he
felt he needed no forgiveness, he did not ask for forgiveness and because he did not ask for forgiveness, he
RECEIVED none.

The Saul Church today, like its namesake, has rationalized sin so well that it has come to believe and teach lies. They
believe and teach the lie that blames others for their sin. They believe and teach the lie that calls sin “disease.” They
believe and teach the lie that disguises lust for money and the love of the world in the religious cloth of “building the
kingdom” or proving and manifesting our faith in a generous God. A church or individual that rationalizes away the fact
that a particular deed or attitude is sin cannot receive forgiveness for that sinful deed or attitude. Recognition of sin
and repentance of sin is always necessary for true change to take place. They MUST repent of their selfish sensitivity
and let the SWORD of the Lord, the Word of God, pierce them to the Death so they can receive Life! Like the leaven
of yeast in bread about to be baked the leaven of rationalization eventually permeates the entire man and The Excuse
becomes a way of life. As with Saul, the central issue is SELF-JUSTIFICATION. The rationalizing, excuse-making
attitude, whether it comes from psychology or is just something that was learned as a child and never given up, can
even dilute the doctrine of justification by faith in the shed Blood of Jesus Christ alone. The possibility thinkers and
psychological positivists in the Saul Church say that “we are not really as bad as all that.” They do not like Scriptures
such as “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” We must make no excuse or rationalization or justification whatsoever,
before God for our sins. We must totally depend upon the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ for our
justification and sanctification. We must understand that GOD CANNOT FORGIVE A HURT; we cannot justify
ourselves. We cannot come to Him merely as a victim or a hurting person; we must come to Him as a sinner. The Saul
Church is filled with men and women who because they have never been brought to look at the exceeding sinfulness
of their hearts, don’t really know Christ as Savior. Jesus Christ came to save us from our sin, not merely to heal our
hurts. The Saul Church seems to have rationalized that in the twenty first century, we don’t really need to discuss
issues like sin and judgment and hell, because we have surmised that this generation will not tolerate such radical
extreme out of balanced teaching. We are much more likely to either discuss “mistakes” and “hurts” than to teach or
preach messages that convict people of the terrible consequence and offence of their sin and the uncompromising
judgment of God on those who do not come to Him as Forgiver of their sins. For the same reasons, if sin IS
mentioned, in most churches, it plays a very minor part in the message. We never want people to “come under
condemnation.” Seldom, if ever, do we read or hear messages like those of George Whitfield, John Wesley, Charles
Spurgeon or Charles Finney. In all likelihood we would laugh off the platform Jonathan Edwards if today he preached
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Even worse, we possibly would just sit there in embarrassed silence and
avoid him after he spoke. We excuse this mentality because we honestly believe that people are basically victims of
the sin of others.

Romans 7:11-13, speaking of the law and sin says, “…sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived
me, and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it
might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment SIN
MIGHT BECOME UTTERLY SINFUL.”

The King James Version says, "....sin might become EXCEEDING sinful." This Scripture makes it clear that the
purpose of the law was NOT to drive people to despair or condemnation; rather it was to force people to see their sin
MAGNIFIED. The law is to be used so that people can see just how terrible, harmful and dangerous sin is. The
purpose of the law is to help us see the true nature of our sin. Once we have this wonderful revelation of our sinful
condition, we are then presented with the grace of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and because we see
how terrible our sin is, we should be quick to repent of our sin and receive His forgiveness. Unfortunately, the Saul
Church is so afraid of driving people away by preaching this message that they make sin exceeding watered down
and are much more likely to present a therapeutic Gospel which appeals NOT to people who are plagued by their sin
but to hurting people who are concerned about their bad feelings. This rationalization of causing sin to appear less
and less in our messages and put the emphasis on our pain and our suffering has caused MANY to never understand
their desperate condition.
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