Steven Smith, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, speaks at the afternoon session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Pastors’ Conference Oct. 22.
Smith: 'The Pastor’s Character'
Referencing the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Smith said that the favor of God is not tied to a person but a purpose. And without God’s favor, “I am Samson with a haircut,” Smith said.
People who have the favor of God on their lives are tempted to sin and are tempted to sin in ways that can remove God’s favor on our lives but living in this tension is not sin, Smith said.
“God has called us into an existence where we are tempted to sin … but living in that state is not sinful,” he said.
Smith offered two encouragements for pastors and ministers living in the tension of temptation: 1) remember Jesus, and 2) remember the gospel.
Jesus experienced temptation at a much greater degree than humans do because his tension was never relieved, and it therefore continued building throughout His life. Because Jesus experienced temptation, at an even greater degree than we do, He understands our plight and ministers to us accordingly, said Smith.
“Nobody goes to heaven because God forgets their sin, they go to heaven because God remembers their sin but He punishes Jesus instead of them, anyway,” said Smith.
Referencing Romans 8, Smith said there is no condemnation for those in Christ.
“You pastor and minister in a no condemnation status,” he said.
“The point of this passage is not that there is no suffering, but that there is no suffering that is wasted,” said Smith. “All (suffering) comes into our life to produce Christ’s likeness.”