There is a trend in the world today. One that as a Christian I find disturbing. It’s a common and pervasive thought. It goes as follows: If we as Christians call something a sin, then we must hate those that practice that sin. I understand where this thought process is coming from. Some folks who claim to speak for God spew hate from pulpits and judge behind stain colored glass, but Christ did no such thing. When he confronted sin he showed love to the sinner. Those few that have failed to follow Christ’s example have created a false narrative on Christian thought. So here is my humble (and possible feeble) attempt to set the record straight.
Who does the Bible label as a sinner?
For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:21-24 NKJV)
All….. not some, not even most, but all. That’s you, me, and the rest of the world. We are all sinners. We have all broken Gods law. So when I call a behavior a sin, what I’m really saying is that its practitioners are human.
So why do we point it out? Why do we insist on calling sin what it is if no one lives a life apart from it. It’s like stating that a man breaths or eats daily. It has no bearing on day to day life.
Put simply, it’s an essential part of the gospel message.
So how does sin fit into the gospel?
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6 NKJV)e
This is the account of the fall of man. Adam and Eve were in the garden and were told they could eat of any tree in the garden but one. They disobeyed God (sin) and ate the forbidden fruit. They rebelled against God and his law. Man, at this turning point in history, developed a sin nature. Their relationship with God was marred. They could no longer stay in the garden. They would never be able to walk with God in the same way they enjoyed before.
God pronounced their doom.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19 NKJV)
Or as Paul says “For the wages of sin is death..,…..” (Romans 6:23 NKJV)
Not only is death a punishment for sin, but those who die in their sins will suffer a second spiritual death.
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15 NKJV)
The ultimate punishment for sin is Hell.
To top it all off, we can do nothing about it. We are who we are. We can live a life of sacrifice, of love and honor towards our fellow man, but God says, “but we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;……” (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV)
Here’s the kicker, as Christians we believe that we deserve this punishment. Not just the world in general, but me. The guy who looks at me through the mirror each morning. I deserve death and Hell.
This realization leads us to the thrown of God for mercy, and he gives it in spades. Not by rewriting his laws or compromising his statutes, but by sending his Son to take our punishment for us.
Why shouldn’t we then be focused on the mercy of God instead of sin?
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:19, 20 NKJV)
Before we can reach out to God for mercy, we must first know sin. We must see the darkness in ourselves, and our desperate need for a savior.
As Christians we call sin what it is because we love sinners. There is no hatred or vitriol in this. We simply want the world to cry out for the mercies of God. We want the world to come to Christ and be saved. We want this because God wants it too.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3, 4 NKJV)
What if we didn’t speak about sin? What if we left it out of the equation? What would happen then? I don’t have a crystal ball, and neither do you, but here is what I think. No one would come to Christ. No one would realize how desperately they need him. No one would seek him out, and we all would be guilty before God as a result. Is it fair toward those who are lost to fail in telling them they are lost? Especially knowing the consequences of sin.
The Bible is very clear on what is right and wrong. To deny this truth or make exceptions because of political pressures is to condemn the lost to die lost. They don’t seek out help because they are still self reliant. We as a people need to be brought to the end of ourselves before we know we need rescuing. This is the purpose of the law.
So the Christian message is this. You are not Ok the way you are. You are a sinner. Death and Hell are your just punishments for sin. However, Christ has overcome the grave. He has risen. In so doing our hope remains. Our punishment was meted out on our Savior. He took the weight of the worlds sin and died for the redemption of man. Now all we have to do is believe.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:14-18 NKJV)
Once we believe, he will neither leave us nor forsake us.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39 NKJV)
But ……..Before these…. Before Heaven…… Before Grace, we must first know sin. We must first see our desperation. We must have the darkness before the dawn. That’s why we call sin what it is. You are in need of a savior. You are a sinner. God loves you in spite of your sin. He sees the darkest parts of your heart and loves you anyway. That’s the true beauty of the gospel message.