Considering the concepts we have discussed so far, we want to discuss associations. Remember Proverbs was written by Solomon who was gifted wisdom from God. Therefore, Proverbs is wisdom from God. In this installment, we want to explore the guidance Solomon gives regarding who we associate with.
Read Prov.1:10-19. Notice these verses are discussing sinners approaching you to violate clear commandments of God for gain. In this specific example, Solomon is talking about murdering for gain because of covetousness. Solomon says not to consent to sinners who want you to violate the 6th commandment (Ex. 20:13) and the 10th commandment (Ex. 20:17). We will explore this overview thoroughly after defining the parts.
The context of the text is about sinners enticing you, so naturally we must ask: what is a sinner? In the Hebrew, the word for sinner means a criminal. A criminal is someone who breaks the law. In this case a sinner is someone who breaks God’s law.
Looking at it from another angle: a sinner is someone who sins. What is sin? “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (I John 3:4) Sin is the transgression of the law and the law is the law of God. So, either way you look at it, sinners are people who are criminals in regard to God’s law.
Do not consent to violate God’s law by the persuasion of criminals of God’s law.
HOW TO IDENTIFY A SINNER
How do we identify someone as a doctor, lawyer, housewife, or anything else?
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:15-20)
Simply put, we can know who someone is by what they produce or what they do. Likewise, a sinner can be identified by what he or she does. Look back at Prov. 1:10-19. This is a clear description of people who are willfully and consciously premeditating to violate God’s law. As mentioned previously, the sinners are described as planning to break the 6th and 10th commandment.
If we apply the principle of the matter to the entire Ten Commandments (Ex.20:1-20), we can identify sinners by observing their willingness to break any of the ten. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) Observe what someone says and does, then make a determination based on God’s law.
HOW TO DEAL WITH SINNERS
Naturally, the question of how we deal with sinners arises as a consequence of identifying a sinner. The best advice to deal with sinners or anyone is given by Jesus Christ. Read Luke 6:27-36. In these verses, Jesus tells us to treat with kindness and respect as we want to be treated. Remember Jesus said, “… I came not to call the righteous, but sinners into repentance. “(Mark 2:17) We have all sinned therefore needed to be called into repentance. The best you can do for sinners is encourage them not to continue in sin and to pray for them.
Note that preaching repentance from sin does not mean you help sinners commit sin. Our association with deliberate sinners should be limited. Read Prov. 23:17-21. Remember Jesus did not commit sin while He was with sinners. He taught them not to sin. You would be of very little use to a sinner if you are unwilling to tell them the truth and admonish them not to sin.
The true Christian life is to be a life of example to the sinners the same way Jesus was an example for us. Living this lifestyle will not be easy, but we are required to live in a way pleasing to God. Read I Peter 2:20-22. As ancient Israel was called to be a nation of priests (Ex. 19:6), we are also called to be a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9) showing the world the way of God.
“9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (I Peter 2:9-12)
Follow the link to view the other installments in this series: Proverbs Series