Friday, October 06, 2006

Hidden Sin

I have been thinking a lot about sin recently. There are many reasons. The topic we are discussing in our series on Wednesday nights to the Students, the stuff I am reading, the struggles people I know are going through, sin in my own life. From all of this, I have come to a very specific conclusion:

Sin is not a big deal to us.

We see sin as if it were on a credit card...that we can spend whatever we want without worrying about it. We sin staggeringly often, but are seldom arrested in our hearts to change our ways. I am talking to myself as much as anyone else. I notice this all the time. It boils down, again to my point, that Sin is not a big deal to us.

I think there are pretty much 2 reasons that this is the case in our world today. First, that we know the outcome: Jesus paid our debt. If all of our sin is covered, why is it such a big deal? We would never be so crass as to verbalize it as I am now, but I think it is what we tell ourselves. The scary thing is that Paul warns against this very idea. He writes in Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Great question, Paul. And yet so many of us, I believe, are doing exactly what he describes, "Living in Sin." Sin is a way of life; a rut, if you will, that we have apparently no plans to get out of. Have you noticed how trendy it is to lie nowadays, even for Christians? Have you noticed how common it is for Christians to use profanity? Do you realize that according to, 60% of youth pastors admit to having viewed pornography in the past month? Friends, sin is a major issue, and we need to do all we can to remove it from our lives. The problem, as I return to my point, is that we view it as already taken care of. What if it were harder? What if we still had to sacrifice a goat to gain forgiveness every time we sinned? What would that cost us financially? Would it change things?

The second reason I think that we view sin as no big deal, is that sin is primarily hidden in our lives. Sure, sin happens publicly on a regular basis on TV and the radio blah blah blah. But I mean in our personal lives, sin is so often hidden. What if we still practiced confession? The Roman Catholics did that for over 1000 years until it became legalistic and corrupt. The result is that we almost never confess anymore, and that leads to very little accountability on our part to change. When asked whether confession was necessary, C.S. Lewis stated that he wasn't sure confession was absolutely necessary, but that a man should at the very least make a list of his sins. We don't even get real and face our sins any more. What if we started confession again? And what if we no longer felt that we needed to hide our sin from everyone? I for one am sick of feeling like I need to pretend I have it all together. I am ready to throw in the towel on hypocritical perfection.

What do we have to do to make sin a big deal again? It is a huge deal for God, that is for sure. Allow me, while I am here, to make a few comments to add balance to this discussion. I am not promoting legalistic perfection or condemnation. God is a God of grace, that is for sure. But, as in everything, there is a middle ground that is healthy, with ditches on either side. I fear that we may have fallen into the "grace ditch," and no longer view sin as a big deal. My intention is not to urge us (or myself) into the other ditch, the "legalism ditch." What I do hope is that those who are serious about God will get their lives in order, that they will do whatever they have to do to remove deeply rooted sinful behavior from their lives. Don't wait until later; get it done now. I realize that this view is very unpopular because of the discomfort and shame that results (but honestly, after several of my blogs in the past, do you think popularity is my goal?). However, I think God is calling me (and maybe you) to a higher level of obedience and sacrifice for him. To a more serious view of sin and a declaration to not live a lie any longer. May God help us as we journey on this road of righteousness together.

As I continue these thoughts, I intend to go back to The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his reflections on "Cheap Grace" versus "Costly Grace." Feel free to join me as I continue this voyage to better understand what God is saying to me.

No comments: