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'Millstones On Our Necks' Garris Elkins

Jesus set the stage to make a very strong comment to His disciples. The Lord was never afraid of making strong statements about the consequences of our unrepented sin. He still makes these comments today amidst the current attempts to give us permission to live with sin in our lives unchallenged by teachers and followers of Christ who promote and approve of such evil.

After the disciples asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” (Matthew 18:1), Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” (vs. 3-4). A conscious choice to turn from our sins is the first step toward true greatness in God’s Kingdom.

Then the Lord said, “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me” (vs. 5). What Jesus was saying is that only after we have a repentant heart can we experience the intimacy required to approach God and experience His Kingdom.

The Lord continued, “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” (vs. 6). While we can rightly assign this fate to a child molester or a human trafficker, it has a larger audience of intent. It refers to anyone who violates a person’s innocence and intimacy with God.

There are consequences to our sins. “What sorrow awaits the world because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting” (vs. 7). Causing someone to abandon a child-like faith in God is a dangerous choice to make. It will cause us to lead others into the experience of our unrepented sin. Jesus repeats something He said from the Sermon on the Mount regarding that choice. It would then be better for us to cut off our hand or gouge out our eyes than to lead someone into sin.

As I look at our culture, I see political parties and their pundits and various news outlets inviting naïve believers to accept the normality of a life of sin. These are millstones we are invited to wear at our peril. This choice is promoted and applauded as the new norm. That compliance to the acceptance of sin has crept into some segments of the Church softening the edge of our commitment to a life of biblical faith.

All of this is eternally dangerous. It takes us away from an innocent trust in the truths of God’s word into the dangerous depths of depravity where our faith will drown in deception. This all begins because at some point we fail to remember who is truly the greatest in God’s Kingdom.

Garris Elkins

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