Victims of the Church

     It’s a contradiction of terms. How can anyone be a victim of the church of Christ? Yet there seems to be a very popular concept that there is such a thing. We’ve all run into them before. They make claims to know all about the bible, and the teachings of Christ. Then they start the stories, it usually starts with “I used to believe but now the reason I don’t is……” or “The reason I don’t go to church is…..”. They are easy to feel sorry for. They draw upon the emotions. They tell heart breaking stories of abuse, but we must never forget exactly what they are. They are non-believers. I’ve found in many cases that they ultimately blame God and therefore hate Him. The atheist’s problem is he believes there is no such thing as God, but the victim of the church believes that there is a God, they just do not love Him. They seem to tie all their misfortunes to Him and not to sin. The Apostle Paul gives us the exact diagnosis for these people. In Romans chapter 8 he says this of them “The mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God”. This is a powerful statement. “Hostile” is a potent word, but I think it is most accurate. The victims always place God in an unwinnable situation. We saw it in Ferguson,Missouri. If the police were to send a massive force to stop the destruction and rioting, they would be portrayed as a suppressive force. If the police send a smaller force, to allow people’s freedom of expression, they would be portrayed as not caring for the people of Ferguson for letting the town burn. It is the same for the victim of the church. If He/she is confronted with love of God and the gospel of Christ, they want to know where God was when they were poor struggling to make ends meet. If you tell them about the wrath of God and His righteous judgment of sin, they ask “where is the compassion for the poor sinner”. Some may not be as direct, they will tell you a horrific story of a cheating pastor or a stealing deacon and finish it with “I’m just not over this, I am not ready”. If we as Christians ever let them off the hook because of some tragic story, you are doing a great disservice to Christ. While many will disagree with what I am saying, ask yourself this: did Christ abuse this person? Could the One who loves us and died for us, the One who justifies the ungodly, be the cause of abuse? Then why are you allowing them to place the blame on Christ? The typical argument against this is, “well the person was a leader in the church, He/She was a mentor etc…..” I’m here to tell you that that logic is flawed and garbage. The bible time and time again warns of false prophets and anti-Christs. In fact, I can and will make the argument that although it may be an unfortunate experience, you should thank God for it. Why thank God? Because He has shown you that you have a false belief. He is showing you that you were never a Christian to begin with. How can I know this? Because if someone else’s faith crashes and your faith crashes with them, your faith was never in Christ. You never had a faith at all, it was a conditional belief that rested upon the other person. You see, the bible teaches of a real faith that is given by God and it results in an incredibly intimate relationship between Christ and the Christian. It’s a union that the Apostle Paul describes as a marriage. That marriage is between Christ and the individual, Not Christ, the pastor and the Christian. How do I know this? Because God gives His Spirit to every individual Christian. Beware of excusing these people, they are dead to God. You can expect an immense amount of anger from them when you challenge their basis of unbelief. I see it all the time with PTSD. We are all supposed to excuse behaviors of veterans because of PTSD. However, I am a veteran, while PTSD may be a real phenomenon, it cannot be blamed for the individual giving in to it. We don’t go around allowing our emotions and feelings dictate our actions. There are repercussions for that and if you do not enforce those repercussions due to PTSD then you are only giving it strength. It is the same for unbelief. While we as Christians certainly feel angry about the abuses of the church, we must never allow that as an acceptable excuse for unbelief. Paul says “the wages of sin is death”, does that only apply to those who have heard good teaching, brought up in the perfect Christian home, and studied Christ in a Christian school? Of course not, that is for all men, abused and non-abused alike.  It is not our right to interpret this gospel through the eyes of psychology and philosophy. So, how do we deal with these people?

You deal with them with love and patience. Peter in chapter 3 says this: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”. That’s it, nothing is more loving than telling someone the truth, but it must be done with “gentleness and reverence”. Now, allow me to break that down, “gentleness” is towards whom you are making a defense against. “Reverence” is towards God whom you are speaking of. I know this is somewhat of a controversial subject, it is not easily discussed, but it is a problem that is getting worse around the church of Christ. My only ambition is to remind good-hearted Christian people that there are people who will prey upon their loving heart and make them fellow justifiers of sin. It is a great disservice to the unbeliever and more importantly a great disservice to Christ. May God keep us from such evil. Amen


An exposition of Romans 7:25-Romans 8:2

Romans 7:25

(25)  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Romans 8:1

(1)  Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


The Apostle is saying there is no condemnation. What does that mean? It means God according to His judgment has found “those who are in Christ Jesus” to be absolutely just. But there is a condition; this is true of only those who are IN the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only true for those who are IN a divine union with Christ.


Jesus Christ is the only man to be perfectly righteous. To be under no condemnation is to be under no guilt of sin. I am not talking about the guilt as an emotion but guilt as in a judgment. So, it can be logically said that if mankind is to be without guilt or condemnation, he must somehow be in Christ, because Christ is the only one who has ever upheld the law of God or the only man to be righteous in God’s sight.

The objections:

“How is this possible?” someone will ask, “Paul, in chapter 7, was just telling us about this horrible struggle with sin. How can he be free from condemnation if he is not free from sinning against God?” Well the Apostle answers that question by saying:

 Romans 8:2

(2)  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The exposition:    

What does the “law of the Spirit” mean? Well this is an entirely new law that is not related to the law spoken about in Chapter 7. Chapter 7 was Paul’s (or the Christian’s) personal experience and relationship to the law of God, the law of righteousness. However, this law presented in chapter 8 is a new law “of the Spirit”. The “Spirit” is quite obviously the “Holy Spirit”. Now what is this law of the Holy Spirit? What do we know about it?  First of all, we know that the law of the Spirit is a law “of life“.  We know from the previous chapters that “life” usually is meant as “spiritual life”. Spiritual life means to be alive to God. Likewise, spiritual death means to be completely dead to God. Secondly, we know that this “law of the Spirit of life” is “in Christ”. This is significant. Paul is saying that the law of the Spirit that results in life resides in Christ Himself. He then goes further by say that this law “has set you free from the law of sin and death”. Before we go further we need to understand what this “law of sin and death” is. Think of it as a physical law, like gravity. As sure as you release your fingers from your phone, it drops to the floor. We’ve all done it a hundred times and 100 out of 100 times it hits the floor. It’s a scientific law. It is the same principal with sin. As soon as you sin, death is the verdict. It’s what the apostle means when he says “the wages of sin is death”, because that is the case, sin is a law of sorts that results in death. That is why the apostle presents it as “the law of sin and death”. So we have an understanding of what the law of sin and death is. But this Apostle is saying that there is a law of the Spirit that results in life, not death and is found in Christ and that law sets those who are in Christ free from the law of sin and death. What a tremendous statement! How does this law “set you free”? We must not go ahead of this Apostle, He will answer in the upcoming verses.


Someone may ask, “Why does Paul write in such a complicated way?” Why is he writing about doctrines and calling them laws? Remember Paul is writing this letter to not only the gentiles, but also the Jews, who know the law of God. He will use their existing knowledge of the law to teach the gospel. You saw an example of that in Romans 7:1 He says:

Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?

I would say the vast majority of Romans chapter 2 was almost exclusively directed at the Jews. So Paul will use their existing lingo and knowledge to make a point as all good teachers do. While it may be difficult for us who are not accustomed to this, with a little thought and prayer, I trust Christ will reveal to us what we need to know as He has promised.


You can draw the logical conclusion already, Chapter 7 proves that the Christian is still very much in a battle with indwelling sin, but because the Christian is in Christ, that sin does will not result in spiritual death because the law that produced the spiritual death has no dominion over the Christian who is under the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ. The apostle makes the case that to be bound to Christ is to be completely free from the law of sin and death. To help us understand this, observe the words of our Lord:

John 14:6

(6)  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

He speaks of Himself as the way, truth and, “the life“. So here we have Paul saying exactly what Christ said of Himself. He is the life; it is only when we are in Christ that we are alive to God. This is important because this teaching is very much in conflict with many denominations. In fact, this is one of the largest wedges between the protestant and catholic church. Some churches believe that as a christian you must make certain confessions, say certain prayers, or pray to certain saints to appease the wrath of God, but Paul is quite clear, there is no condemnation for the christian, he is not under the law of sin and death. That wrath of God was satisfied by Christ on the cross. Christian, you are free. Totally and completely free. If that freedom is used towards satisfying the flesh, and not stumbling towards Christ, then you are most likely not a christian. If you do stumble along the way towards Christ, and are down cast with a feeling of hopelessness.. God isn’t salivating from the mouth, eagerly awaiting to condemn you. Acknowledge your actions as sin, confess it, stop doing it and move on. God loves you, and there are repercussions for that, ask Christ. He’ll tell you all about it, and when you believe it, you won’t want to spend another second sinning against that kind of love.