Those who are Christians are expected to live in a way that is separated from the ways of sin. But, we may not often evaluate what sin(s) we are actually demonstrating approval of. However, the Scriptures demonstrate that it is possible to approve of sin – and that approving sin carries the same consequences as participating in it!
Romans 1:18-32 makes reference to some who could have known the power and Deity of God; but, they rejected this knowledge to pursue their own unrighteous activity. Specifically, in verses 28-31, Paul identifies a number of wicked deeds they were involved in: Unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, whispering, backbiting, hating God, violence, pride, boasting, inventing evil things, disobedience to parents, failure to be discerning, failure to be trustworthy, failure to love, failure to forgive, and failure to be merciful.
Then, notice what verse 32 states: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” So, spiritual death is the result of all this unrighteous activity. However, spiritual death is not just for those who are directly participating in such things; but, also for those who express approval for such activity.
Two Ways You Can Approve Of Sin
This fact means you must consider how we can express approval of sin. Actually, there are two ways in which you can approve of sin.
(1) Direct approval. We can express approval of sin directly by participating in the sin or stating approval for the sinful activity.
(2) Tacit approval. We also can express approval of sin when the approval is understood – even though it is not directly stated. In many circumstances, this can be done even by remaining silent and not speaking against the sinful conduct.
How To Demonstrate Your Disapproval Of Sin
Since sin (and the approval of it) is contrary to the ways of God and will result in spiritual death (separation from God), you must be concerned with how you can express disapproval for these sinful ways. Ephesians 5:11 instructs, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Consider three ways in which you can demonstrate that you do not approve of the sinful activity going on around you – and work to correct the error in their lives of others.
(1) Teaching. Christians have the responsibility to teach those who are living in sin the ways of the Lord. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 demonstrates that when you teach God’s word to others, you will rebuke, correct, and instruct them in righteousness – thereby demonstrating that you do not approve of their sinful activity.
(2) Being a pure example. Christians have the responsibility to be an example of holy living to those who are in the world. Matthew 5:13-16 says that Christ’s disciples are the “light of the world.” Then, notice that Jesus states the world may see this good example and “glorify your Father in heaven.” So, as Christians live holy lives that reflect the light of Jesus Christ, the works of darkness can be exposed as being sinful (compare with John 3:18-21).
(3) Refuse to keep company with evil. The Christian is warned that evil company “corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Specifically, the Christian must withdraw fellowship from erring Christians, refusing even to eat with them (see 1 Corinthians 5 and 2 Thessalonians 3). Then, the Christian must also be careful so as not to have any kind of fellowship with sinful activity – refusing to keep company with non-Christians when they engage in sinful things (see Ephesians 5:11).
Are you approving of any sin – directly or indirectly? You should want to abstain from every form of evil – and help others do the same (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; Ephesians 5:11). If you fail to keep yourself from evil and approve of sin, you will experience spiritual death (Romans 1:32)!