Can you be complicit in the sin of fellow believers?

When you accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, repent and become born again, you have been redeemed from your sin nature and belong to the body of Christ. You’ve been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God. Therefore you belong to God’s people and not to the world anymore. Although you live in this world, you don’t belong to this world. By this spiritual change, your life will also change in the natural. You shall no longer live after the lusts and desires of your flesh, but after the Spirit. Therefore, you shall no longer represent the kingdom of the devil and empower his kingdom by walking in sin, but you shall represent and bring the Kingdom of God on this earth.

delivered from the power of darkness, redeemed by His bloodWhen you become born again, you become a member of the church; the assembly of believers and followers of Jesus Christ. As long as the church is seated in Jesus Christ; in the Word and walks after the Spirit, the church shall be the most powerful institution upon this earth.

But……. as soon as the church becomes carnal, begin to walk after the flesh, and adjust the Word to the lusts and desires of people, and putting the creation above the Creator, the church will be nothing more than a (social) institution, where there is little or no power at all.

If the leaders of the church don’t guard the spiritual gates of the church, then the church will be taken and defiled by the world. Unfortunately this has already happened to a lot of churches and congregations. That’s why the world feels at home in many modern churches and congregations.

The attack on the church

The devil tries to defile the church through sin. That is his way to attack the church. Because he knows that through sin, which means disobedience to God and His words, the church will be separated from God and he will have power over the church. Despite the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The power of the devil is powered by sinThere are believers, who believe and say that they may keep walking in sin; in disobedience to God, because Jesus Christ has accomplished it for them and that it’s all grace. But these people are not spiritual and don’t understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His resurrection and the power of His blood.

Unfortunately many believers, who believe in Jesus Christ, and ‘repent’, stay carnal and keep walking after the flesh, in sin. They are not being corrected by fellow believers, nor by the leaders of the church, because they are ‘afraid’ to correct them.

Most of them are afraid to speak the truth and correct them, because they are afraid of rejection, a judgment or that the person will leave the church. And you know, the more members, the more money in the pocket. Therefore they keep their mouth shut, to please the people and to keep the love and peace in the church or congregation.

Do you keep the love and peace, by keeping your mouth shut?

At least, that’s what they think. They think, that by showing respect for everyone’s life and by keeping their mouth shut and by not correcting the believers, who live in sin, they keep the love and peace. They think they walk in love and that they love their neighbour. But to love your neighbour doesn’t mean to accept the sin of your neighbour. What they’re doing instead is, that by keeping their mouth shut, they accept the works of the darkness, that will cause destruction in the church; in the lives of the believers. But not only in the lives of the believers, but also in their own lives it will cause destruction.

Because when you see, that a fellow believer, who is part of the congregation, is living in sin, which means that the person is habitually doing things, that go against the will of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and you don’t say anything, then the Word says that you are complicit in his/her sin. When you tolerate sin, you will be an accomplice of that sin. Let’s have a look at what the Word says about being complicit in sin, and what it will cause in the life of the accomplice.

Eli and his sons

Eli was a high priest, and had two sons: Hophni and Phinehas. Hophni and Phineha were sons of Belial. They were evil and they didn’t know the Lord, nor the sacrificial laws and the priest’s customs with the people. Because they sacrificed in their own manner and for their own use, that was against the will of God, they sinned. Yes, the sin of these man was very great before the Lord. Because of the way the acted, men abhorred the offering for the Lord. The behaviour of Hophni and Phinehas ensured that the people of God not only despised the offering of the Lord, but they also made the people of God transgress and sin.

But that was not the only thing they did. Hophni and Phinehas also slept with the women, who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. When Eli heard, what his sons did to Israel, he asked them, why they were doing all these things? Eli said, that if a man sin against another, that the judge would judge him, but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? But despite Eli’s sayings, they were not willing to listen and repent.

At that moment, Eli should have shown his love for God and taken the responsibility, which came with the office of high priest. He should have corrected his sons and should have put them out of the service of the Lord, because they were not willing to listen and repent. But Eli didn’t do that, and let his sons go. Eli had put the creations (his sons) above the Creator (God). He showed that his love for his sons was greater than his love for God.

Eli became complicit in the sins of his sons

A man of God came to Eli and spoke in Name of the Lord. He showed him his misconduct; why he kicked at the Lord’s sacrifice and offerings, which the Lord had commanded in His habitation, and honored his sons above God, to make himself fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of His people.

the two great commandments, If you love Me keep My commandmentsMaybe you think: “what unfair, that Eli was held accountable for the behaviour and deeds of his sons.” But because of the fact, that Eli didn’t do the will of the Lord and didn’t put the customs of God above his sons, but instead let his sons go their way, Eli became complicit to the sin of his sons. Eli didn’t love God above all, but his sons. That’s why Eli didn’t correct his sons and didn’t put them out of the office, but allowed and accepted the behaviour of his sons, and by doing that, he accepted sin.

Eli was a high priest and was responsible to judge the people of God, and stay obedient to God’s law; His will. But because of the fact, that he didn’t take his responsibilities and wasn’t faithful to God and wasn’t obedient to His will, God would no longer be with him and his house. The Lord prophesied, through the mouth of the man of God, what would happen to his house, and that He would raise another faithful priest, who would walk after His heart and mind. As a sign, Hophni and Phinehas would die in one day (1 Sam 2:27-36).

The spirit of Eli in the church

All the words, that the Lord spoke over his house came to pass. Hophni and Phinehas died on the same day, during the battle with the Philistines. When Eli heard what happened and when he heard, that the ark of God was taken by the Philistines, he fell backwards from his seat. He broke His neck and died. Eli had judged the people of Israel for 40 years, but he didn’t walk after the will of God and didn’t stay obedient to His words. But Eli was led by his feelings and emotions. He put his sons above God and accepted the sins of his sons. Therefore he became an accomplice of their sin.

This spirit of Eli is also active in many churches and congregations, where man is put above God and His Word, and where sin is tolerated and accepted. That’s because the leaders of the church are carnal and are being led by their feelings and emotions, instead of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

The responsibility of the prophet Ezekiel

God had appointed the prophet Ezekiel as watchman unto the house of Israel. But with this position came also a great responsibility.

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezk 3:27)

These are many more examples in the Old Testament about being an accomplice to someone else’s sin and what happens when you don’t warn others about their sin and correct them.

But let’s go now to the New Testament and have a look at God’s will, after the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Let’s have a look if His will concerning sin and being an accomplice to sin has changed in the New Covenant.

Has God’s will changed after the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

There are believers, who think, that after the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything has changed. They believe that in the New Covenant, they can live the way they want to live, but that’s not true. Jesus His will is God’s will. The only thing that has changed is that Jesus took care of the sin problem; the sin nature of the old man. He ensured, that every person, who believes in Jesus Christ has the ability to become a new creation; son of God and walk as a son of God.

The grace of GodBut the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is not a free letter to keep walking after the flesh in sin, in disobedience to God. It may never be used to approve and accept sin.

Because Jesus says, that you will do the works of your father.

Therefore if you keep walking in sin; in disobedience to God then you prove by your actions, that the devil is your father. But if you live in obedience to God and do His will, then you will prove by your actions, that He is your Father (Jn 8:39-44, Jn 10:25, Jn 15:24). Remember, these are the words of Jesus.

When you look at the fruit of a tree, you will see what kind of tree it is. When you walk pass a tree with a sign that says ‘mulberry tree’, but you see that the tree produces apples. You know, that it’s not a mulberry tree, but an apple tree. It’s the same with every person, who says to be a Christian. You can call yourself, whatever you want, but your live and your actions; the fruit you produce, testifies to whom you belong; Jesus or the devil.

Ananias en Sapphira

Ananias and Sapphira were part of the first assembly of believers. The church was of one heart and of one soul. No one said, that the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things common. Those, who possessed lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold to the apostles and laid them at their feet. The apostles distributed according to every one’s need.

Ananias and Sapphira also belonged to the assembly of believers. Ananias had also sold his land, but he kept part of the price to himself. He informed his wife Sapphira about what he had done, therefore she became an accomplice to his plan. When Ananias went to the disciples to bring a certain part and laid it at the feet of the apostles, the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter what Ananias had done.

servant of sinPeter confronted him with his evil behaviour. Ananias disdained and lied to the Holy Spirit, by thinking that He didn’t know about his selfish plan. Ananias thought, that God didn’t see anything, but He sees everything and knows every action that come forth out of the heart of man. Therefore He knew about Ananias’ wicked plan. Peter said: “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whilst it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3-4)

When Ananias heard these words he fell down and died. Because of that, a great fear came upon all those who heard. The young man arose and buried Ananias.

Approximately three hours later, Ananias his wife, Sapphira, who knew about the sin of her husband, came. She didn’t know what happened to her husband. When she came in, Peter asked her: “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” Sapphira had the ability to confess her sin, by telling the truth. But Sapphira’s heart was evil, just like her husband’s heart, and therefore she also lied to the Holy Spirit and tempted Him, by confirming that she indeed had received that specific amount. Therefore she became complicit in the sin of her husband and died (Acts 5:1-11)

You see, that God’s will concerning sin and complicity to sin has not changed. His will remains the same, Yesterday, Today and Forever more, because He will not change.

Don’t become a partaker of someone else’s sin

Paul commanded Timothy to not become a partaker of other men’s sins. That means that he couldn’t allow and accept sin in the congregation. Because by accepting sin he would automatically become a partaker of other men’s sin (1 Tim 5:22)

Paul wrote to the saints in Ephesus, that they were not allowed to become partakers of the unfruitful works of the darkness; the works that go against the will of God, which is sin. But that they should reprove them instead (Eph 5:11). The word reprove, has been translated from the Greek word ‘elénchõ’, which means: of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: – convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove*.

A person, who accepts sin
becomes complicit and a partaker of sin

Believers, who tolerate and accept the sin of people, who habitually live in sin, become partakers of their sin. The devil comes with his lies, and uses the so-called love, to tolerate and accept sin.

In Him is no sin, who abides in Him sin notBut by accepting sin, the church becomes spiritually defiled by sin and the darkness. This becomes visible in the lives of the believers, who no longer walk after the Word and the Spirit, but after the flesh. They live after the lusts and desires of their flesh and keep doing those things that they want to do, and what pleases them. They don’t let anyone tell them what to do and they don’t yield to the Word and to the Holy Spirit.

They don’t obey the words of Jesus, and don’t do His will. But they rebel against the Word and do those things, that go against His will, which also go against the will of God and the will of the Holy Spirit.

Everyone who tolerates and accepts sin, accepts the works of the devil and allow the gates of hell to prevail.

If you truly walk in the love of God and love one another, than you walk in His commandments.

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (2 Joh1: 6)

It’s God’s will that everyone will be redeemed and saved from the death

It’s God’s will that everyone will be redeemed from sin and therefore saved from death. That’s why He still warns everyday, through His Word and the Holy Spirit to repent and remove the sin.

The followers of Jesus Christ, who possess the Holy Spirit, shall do the same. They are not trying to condemn people or to shame them, by warning and correcting them. But they don’t want any soul to be lost!

That’s why they stand on the Word and warn the church; the assembly of believers to put away sin and to walk holy in righteousness. Now, that is the love of God! Because sin, which is disobedience to God, means bondage to the devil and the death

It is the task of every believer and follower of Jesus Christ, to not only comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, and be patient toward all men, but also to warn those, who are unruly; those who rebel against the Word of God and be disobedient to His will (1 Th 5:14). So that they will have the ability to repent and be redeemed from the power of sin, the devil and the death.

‘Be the salt of the earth’

*Strong’s Concordance

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