They not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Rom. 1:32)

A COMMON CRY FROM REVELERS in the streets goes something like this: “I’d rather be in hell partying with my friends than in heaven with a bunch of hypocrites!” Misery likes company. The wicked know that what they do goes against God’s law and is worthy of death, but that does not stop them from doing it. They surround themselves with people who have this same lifestyle so that they can affirm one another in their sinful practices. They cheer each other on, sometimes using the truth of the gospel: “Hey, we’re all sinners anyway!” True, but some are better at it than others.

One of the purposes of the church is to provide a different kind of community, one that supports those seeking to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. The sinful world knows that it is easier to be a sinner when you have a company of like-minded souls encouraging you on. The church believes this too. In this community of believers, we seek support for our marriages while the prevailing culture finds humor in divorce. We form a beloved community of diverse people living as one in the Lord while the world continues to indulge in racism, sexism, and divisions of rich and poor. We are to be a people who approve of the things that lead to God’s approval.

Call a friend who faces temptation and encourage him or her to resist.

Richard Eckley is professor of theology at Houghton College and serves on the Women in Ministry Task Force for The Wesleyan Church.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.