Despite what the title says, allow me to be very clear: I love diversity.
I love having people from all different types of backgrounds, social classes, talents, interests, and races present as part of our local congregations. They bring a lot of different viewpoints to the table whenever we discuss different matters – each one of them valid in their own unique way, provided that they’re Scriptural (Colossians 3:11).
It’s one of the things I love most about our local congregation, and I’m sure it’s one of the things you value in yours too.
What I don’t love (and neither does the Lord, for that matter) is when we have sinful diversity amongst us. We are all called to be holy and pure during our time here on earth – no matter where came from – and to bring any of that past sinfulness into our new walk with Christ is simply not acceptable.
This has become an issue with many churches in the world today who claim to be “of Christ,” when in reality, are anything but. With open arms, they welcome people who are practicing homosexuals (“practicing” is the key word), known and active drunks in the community, and people who are just as likely to be at a “gentleman’s club” as they are at services on Sunday morning.
None of this is to imply that you have to be perfect to enter the church building; far from it, actually. We all have faults and skeletons in our closet that we would probably prefer no one know about, but we’re trying our best to repent of those things and cleanse our path of them (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10).
No, the diversity I’m speaking of is a willful disobedience to God, this “come as you are” mentality that we overextend to include people who have very little interest in changing their lives. A person who struggles with same-sex attraction, for instance, must put off those practices if they want to be a Christian.
One of the most glaring examples of this is in the church at Corinth – a congregation that was so far apart from God it would seem almost a stretch to still even call them a body of believers. Not only did they deal with factionalism (1 Cor. 3), but they also dealt with lawsuits (1 Cor. 6:1-8), abuse of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11), misuse of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12-14), eating meat to idols (1 Cor. 8), and possibly even incest (1 Cor. 5).
Suffice it to say, they were in pretty bad shape.
Of the incest, Paul specifically writes in 1 Corinthians 5:2: “You have become arrogant and not rather mourned instead.” In light of that, allow me to ask one question…
WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BRAGS ABOUT INCEST?!
And even if it’s not necessarily biological incest (which could or could not be the case), who is still arrogant about the fact that someone is having a relationship with their stepmom?
Obviously, this type of behavior was reprehensible even then, as it was an immorality that “does not exist even among the Gentiles.” The fact that is “well-reported among them” means that this isn’t a secret either, it’s well-known and the church has done little or nothing to correct it.
Isn’t that how many churches today operate though? We welcome people from a wide variety of backgrounds (nothing wrong with that) and tell them “you don’t have to change a thing” (everything wrong with that). Then, we advertise on our website and social media outlets how “inclusive,” “open,” and “welcoming” we are.
The only thing they’re really welcoming to, however, is sin.
Paul is adamant that that sin needed to be corrected, but even more, the church needed to change their attitude towards the sin as well. You cannot claim to have a house of God, when His people are acting in an unholy and Godless manner.
That’s the type of diversity that needs to be stopped: not racial or socio-economic diversity, but where sins of all stripes are not preached against in the church and no actions taken on the part of the individual (or the church) to correct them.
If you’re reading this and are knee-deep in sin, know that you have to be willing to repent of that sin before you can become a member of the Lord’s church. Even if a church down the road accepts you (Micah 2:11; 2 Tim. 4:3), God won’t until you ask for forgiveness and repent of it.
I know that may be tough to hear, but it’s the truth.
And the glory He will have in your repentance and devotion to Him is so much greater and more worthwhile than the praise of men ever will be (Luke 15:7, 10, 21-24). He’ll wrap you up in His arms and hold you fast, helping you every step of the way.
And in the end, it’ll be worth it.Last modified: January 22, 2019