Approving of Another's Sin

Aesop shares the following fable of the fate of a certain military trumpeter after capture in his army’s defeat:

The soldiers were about to put him to death when he cried, “Nay, gentlemen, why should you kill me? This baud of mine is guiltless of a single life.” “Yes,” replied the soldiers, “but with that braying instrument of yours you incite others, and you must suffer the same fate as they."

The notion of an accomplice or even an approving bystander coming under the same guilt as the one directly indicted of wrongdoing actually has Scriptural precedent. Right after a list of vices that human beings have chosen to live out and, in effect, to turn their back on their Creator (Romans 1:28-31), the first chapter of Romans closes with this sobering verse:

"Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but GIVE APPROVAL to those who practice them.” (Rom. 1:32)

Wow. So we actually have 2 actions that bring you under the same indictment of sin: 

1) Practicing Sin

2) Approving Sin’s Practice in Others

You may not see your mindset as an approval of another’s practice of sin. You may not be blowing a trumpet in assistance to their idolatry. But you must ask yourself if “remaining neutral” and distancing yourself from ethical concerns in the lives of others is enough. Might they perceive such silence and indifference as approval? 

Now the good news is that Romans does not stop where Aesop’s fable does. Even though death may be deserved, the “Gospel” news is that God has pronounced that death sentence upon Himself in Christ in order to free both the practitioners of and bystanders to sin. But have you shared that great message with those who are still living under the reign of sin and death? Or will you stand by with the coats of the those who cast stones against God strewn across your feet?

To His Glory,

Caleb Cochran

Photo credit: tec_estromberg via / CC BY