“You cannot use words like ‘sin’ when speaking to someone. It only pushes him away.”
After chewing on the authority of the Bible for our understanding of right and wrong yesterday, a conversation came to mind which I had a year and a half ago in which the statement above was said to me, with surprising authority and sternness, by someone with Biblical and counseling training.
I also heard it preached recently, from a pulpit, that it is not primarily our sin that will send us to Hell.
This is a lie. A trick of the enemy, seeking to keep lost people on the path to damnation and believers complacent in their sinfulness and worldliness. Jesus died on the cross to pay the punishment for our sins. Hell is an eternal judgment for sin. God destroys both body and soul in Hell, after convicting the world of sin (Matt 10.28, John 16.8)!
“Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”
– Rev 6.15-17
Jesus Christ is the Lamb. He is the final judge and He will return to the Earth in wrath, to deal with sin. Sin, people! The wages of sin is death (Rom 6.23)!
“There is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good…”
– Rom 3.10-12
Telling ourselves that we are OK, that we are generally good people serves no one. In reality we all know that we are not good enough, and we are all striving for success, popularity and something to ease the condemnation of our conscience. We know, because it is written on our hearts, that we are sinful and deserve wrath (Rom 1).
And Christians need the Spirit, the church, our friends and family to continually convict us of our sin.
“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
– John 16.8
If we do not allow Him to convict us and change us, we run the risk of making peace with sin and proving ourselves to not be of Him:
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
– Heb 10.26-27
We are talking about eternity here. If we spend our time on Earth appeasing our guilty consciences through lies or neglect, we will continue on the path to our just reward: an eternity in Hell. If we choose to accept our sinful state, tell ourselves that “I’m not that bad”, and go on our merry way, we offend an almighty God and there is no salvation. The standard is not other sinners. The standard is God’s perfect Law. Unless one keeps the entirety of the Law perfectly, eternal damnation is the due punishment. But Jesus died on the cross for sin.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
– 2 Cor 5.21
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
– 1 Peter 3.18
I am a sinner. You are a sinner. There are specific sins in your life right now that the Spirit would desire to help you overcome. There are sins in my life that I need the Spirit to help me overcome. Own it. Man up. Confess it. And let God transform you from the inside out.
When we come to God for salvation, we come as we are. We have nothing to offer, we cannot make ourselves more acceptable to God. Coming to God, in fact, is that complete realization that I can do nothing on my own, I am sinful, I deserve Hell and punishment and I am lost. But after you come to God for salvation, we do not settle into worldly, sinful lifestyles. The Spirit is daily transforming us and we are to die to sin. Purposefully seek it out and kill it. Through the power of the Spirit to the glory and honor of God. God is primarily concerned with your holiness, not your happiness. He will step on your toes. Let Him. Just man up already, and let God define sin. Own it. Confess it. And be changed.