Sin the other church four letter word

Sin is such a vile word that the world hated Jesus for his use of it. Jesus admits this himself:

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

Jesus also tells us that we will be hated like him because of our association with him.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” Why was Jesus hated? I thought he was about love? Are we going to be hated because of our association with Love?  If this is all Jesus was about then why all the hate? Hmm…could it be that perhaps that Jesus was not a one   dimensional person only concerned with love the way we tend to think he was? The pharisees didn’t hate Jesus because he was so loving. They hated him because he had the audacity to speak with authority about sin. He had the audacity to use that authority to point out that they were not as holy as they thought. This is why they kept pointing out his bad associations because they were desperate to find him guilty as well. The people who loved Jesus did not love him because he didn’t talk about sin, they loved him because despite calling them on it, he still loved them. This is what led them to repentance. The difference was the way people responded to having their sin pointed out. Humility or pride. This is still the issue to this day, this has always been the issue. Hypocrites in the church get mad when sin is talked about and unregenerate souls do the same.

But why are Christians reacting this way?

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

Sin should not be a four letter word for a Christian. Sin itself is a problem because it separates us from God, it influences. But confronting sin, talking about sin should not be because Jesus made a way. Sin is the reality of the fallen world. Sin is what reminds us that we need a savior and the amazing things God did for us. This is why Paul says the purpose of the Law was to reveal sin. When confronted with sin the Christian falls on his knees and asks for forgiveness and rises again knowing his forgiveness is accepted and he his welcomed into God’s presence. Christians acknowledge sin because sin separates and a Christian wants to abide with Christ. Sin becomes a problem when it is not revealed; sin becomes a problem when it is fostered. For a Christian the mere presence of sin is not the problem, because it is always going to be there in some form. It is the hiding of sin that is. When someone points out our sin we should say “You are right and I need Jesus.” The person bringing the charge should say “You are right, you do and so do I. It is a good thing that he is so forgiving.” Then they should go out to lunch or something.

Instead what we have is people in the church responding as hecklers at a tent revival. The abhorrence to the charge of sin that the world has, has infiltrated the church and now we can’t be honest with ourselves. We fail to grow and produce fruit because we seem to think that grace means we don’t talk about sin or that it is no longer an issue. It isn’t, as far as eternal judgement, but it is as far relationships and growth. Romans 6 is all about this. But the church has fallen for the “hey man don’t judge me line” that the world uses. The church should be the one who is well aware of her heart and her deeds. This awareness should be met with joy because God’s availability to us in the middle of it. God’s righteousness should cause us to rejoice because our sins are dealt with in Christ, but righteousness should not make us indifferent to sin. Living together as broken people is what makes the church beautiful. That does not mean the multicolored stained sheet of unaddressed sin is beautiful, but the fact that the people are humble about it.

It is this humility that makes us prepared to share the gospel. We recognize our need. This is that whole “It is the sick that need a physician” thing. This humility makes us present the “good news of the gospel” as a remedy and not as condemnation.

If sin is overwhelming and hateful to you one of two things has happened. The first is that you are being overcome with guilt over your sin, you feel helpless about it because you feel condemned. Now this also can go in two directions.  It can lead you to repentance or it can lead you to more guilt and despair. It is this latter that causes someone to react with such hostility about sin. The first will lead you to Jesus. But the next thing that happens is your heart is hard and you do not want to repent. So the idea of sin merely angers/offends you. This is the position of the unregenerate heart, but unfortunately this mindset has weaseled its way into Christian speak among brothers.

If as a Christian we react in this last way then there is a big problem in our heart. It is the goodness of God that causes us to repent going back to the first problem. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit tells us we are doing well when we are in sin and that hopefully we will “come around.”  It means that because God is good his spirit brings guilt to us so that we will want to repent and restore our relationship with him.  This is clear from what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7.

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

For the christian sin is supposed to bring us back to God not drives us away from him. I know that part of the problem may come from the way it is presented, but i would urge us to still reply that we know we need God too. Humility is quite a disarming thing. That way, if it was just said poorly we both are covered. A pastor has the responsibility to bring both the encouraging words as well as the challenging ones. If we constantly war against the challenging ones, then the question remains what’s going on with our heart?

Sin should not be a four letter word for a Christian, not anymore.



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