Looking at the intensity of social changes in the affluent world today one may easily come to a conclusion that sin has been outdated.
We may hear it mentioned in vague terms in our churches, while outside their walls talks about sin are more and more becoming interpreted as hate speech. Today you may end up in a serious trouble if you call certain sins by their names, or refuse to celebrate their promotion into publically acceptable norms of behavior. What we used to cherish as the firm and objective moral foundation not long ago, today we declare primitive and outdated, while the perversions of yesterday are celebrated today as the “new morality” and the “new normal”.
Woe to you if you do not embrace, applaud and celebrate.
But sin is not a fictional construct created by our illiterate great grandfathers and great grandmothers, to be dissolved at a stroke of the pen or a decision of the supreme courts or governments, or by the choruses of pop-scientists and pop-psychologists, or crowds of bullying activists.
Anything we do that defies the moral character of God is sin. Paul the Apostle was painfully clear about its consequences for those who persist in it: “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1. Cor. 6:9.10. NIV John the Revelator was even more graphic: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Revelation 21:8. NIV In short, the Word of God speaks with one voice that “the wages of sin is death”. Romans 6:23. NIV
In fact we have “all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Romans 3:23 NIV. It is in the system of our deprived human nature to sin. We sin more often than we would like to dare admit. We sin because we are sinners and not the other way around. There has never existed a man or a woman who, unless covered by the grace of Christ, could look into God’s eyes and declare: “Look at me God, you can’t find in me anything to complain about!”
How come anyone still dares question if certain lifestyles are morally acceptable or not, without oneself suffering from hypocrisy?
Not all sins are the same even they look alike, and the grace of Christ makes a difference. It boils down to what we do with it. There is a world of difference between a person who is genuinely struggling with sin, whose record might look devastating, but who acknowledges his or her sin to the Lord in humility, and through repentance seeks God’s forgiveness and strength against it, regardless of how many times one has succumbed to the temptation; versus the sins of those who have with pride elevated sinning into a lifestyle, worldview and agenda; who are arrogant and defiant, and who are not satisfied until we have all joined our hands in applause and our voices in approval and celebration.
Outwardly all sinners may look the same. But inwardly one meets the grace and forgiveness of God who knows our hearts, while the other will face God’s judgment for his or her unrepentant heart. People recorded in the Bible as great sinners, such as Jacob, David, Manasseh, Zacchaeus and the women caught in the act of adultery were forgiven and restored because they recognized their sin for what it was and turned to God in the attitude of humility and repentance. One the other hand Lot’s generation, citizens of Sodom, and the self-righteous Pharisees remain under the condemnation because they pursued their defiance until the end.
No sinning with the agenda and impunity will go unpunished. We are all sinners with some skeletons in our closets. But we differ in the way we treat our skeletons. Some of us, in the name of Jesus Christ, and because of Christ, and with the help of His grace and power, are more than eager to surrender our skeletons to our God, while the others celebrate them with pride, and want others to join the party. Charles Spurgeon describes both groups of sinners well when he said: “If you see a sheep fall into the mire, it is quick enough up again; but if the swine falls there, it wallows in it again and again. So there is an essential difference between the righteous and the wicked even in their sins.”
We have all tasted the dirty and infectious waters of mire known as sin. But we differ in whether we jump into the forgiving hands of Christ the moment we become aware of the true nature of our cherished or hated sin; or if we keep on enjoying having repeated and extended baths in the disgusting waters of our sins, and if we are luring others to ‘enjoy’ its splashes with us, while calling everyone else who does not want to embrace this “new morality” idiots, bigots and insane?
What are you going to do with your skeletons? Remember, we are talking about the matters that mean the difference between life and death. As for me I declare with Paul the Apostle in the spirit of humility: “This is what I used to be! But I am now washed, I am now sanctified, and I am now justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1. Cor. 6:11 (paraphrased).