If someone brings up the topic of sin today, often the word “mistake” or the phrase “doing something wrong” is used. Some may say the verbiage used today is easier to understand. This thought is a misnomer, because nearly everyone would understand the meaning of the words sin or iniquity.
The situation of not using the words, sin, iniquity or abomination may have nothing to do with wording, but on the way iniquity is viewed. Using the word, “mistake,” instead of “sin” is a good example of this. A mistake is turning right when you should have turned left at an intersection; sin is willingly doing something contrary to God’s commands. In support of the idea that sin is a “mistake” instead of breaking God’s commands is that I was once told that the idea that all people are sinners (1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14:3; Psalm 53:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:22; 1 John 1:8) was “archaic thinking.”
“Bad choices” is another modern term used synonymously with sin. A bad choice is eating a bowl of spicy chili 10 minutes before going to bed. Sin, although it is something we should have decided not to do, by calling it a “bad choice” waters down the significance of iniquity and the authority of God.
There are things God says is a sin, but our society today sees nothing wrong in them. I will use the way we view relationships as an example.
American society’s typical way of looking at the steps in a relationship are 1. Seeing someone who is physically attractive. 2. The first date. 3. The second date. 4. Date No. 3. If date No. 3 does not include sex or if the sex does not live up to a predetermined goal of physical enjoyment, the relationship is going nowhere, and a breakup usually happens at this point. However, if the sex is pleasing, the relationship moves forward. 5. The couple starts living together. 6. Marriage – for most people, this step is optional.
God’s way of looking at a relationship is entirely different. 1. A man should give honor and respect to the woman (1 Peter 3:7). 2. We are to flee fornication or any sex outside of marriage “1 Corinthians 6:18, 7:2; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). 3. Marriage is honorable in all (Hebrews 13:4).
Society tells us if the physical aspect of a relationship is good – move the relationship forward. God tells us when a couple is in tune with Him and each other the physical part will be excellent (1 Corinthians 7:1-5).
One thing about sin, unless there is repentance, it will bring on more sin. All of us have told a lie to cover up a previous lie. How many abortions are performed each year because of sex outside of marriage? If you did not catch it, in a roundabout way, I just called abortion a sin. There has been a decades-long argument in America on whether abortion should be legal. The fact that we have the debate over abortion proves there are those who do not think abortion to be wrong. To those in favor, it is usually the way to erase “a bad choice.”
For the most part, the way America looks at sin and the way God sees things are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Much of the things God sees as evil; many in America do not recognize as being wrong.
Jesus Christ died for our sins – He is willing and able to forgive us of them all. The huge problem is, can people come to a savior if they do not realize they need saving? If nothing is perceived as wrong, or if sin can be explained away because of circumstances or the end justifying the means, then everything can be justified, and people will see no need of a justifier. If someone does not recognize they are drowning, they will not scream out for the lifeguard.
Maybe, in churches, there is a need for more preaching on sin instead of talking about “mistakes.”
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at email@example.com, and his sermons can be found on SoundCloud.