Thursday, 8 May 2008

Understanding Sin: Another reason why the faithful preaching of the gospel is essential

Tim Challies posts his thoughts on how Sin is understood by many, possibly most Christians today, and how to counter it.
He recalls in his post:
A couple of years ago I spoke to the administrator of a church in the area. This person had been a Christian for several years and was active as a leader in the church. Discussing a recent and high-profile crime that had been covered by the media, this person told me, "I just don't understand how anyone could do that. I don't understand how anyone could be that bad. I could never be that evil!" As we spoke, I realized that this was a person who knew that he committed sins, and yet one who clearly did not understand his inherently sinful nature. He knew he sinned but refused to believe he was a sinner. Sin is what he did, not what he was.

I'm afraid that this is only too common, and people around me not only do not understand that "The Bible tells us in plain terms that we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners.", but they aren't even interested in hearing that. They are too occupied with what they want to improve in their lives. Sometimes, what they pursue aren't that secular but in fact, quite virtuous, like, humility, honesty, generosity, etc. But just as Tim's post points out, "They may never have owned up to their fundamental sinfulness, their natural enmity towards God. They may never feel or acknowledge guilt not only for what they do but for who they are." And in so doing, they increase their false assuarance of salvation by seeing what they have do and achieved, and they forget to depend on and cling to our Redeemer who offerred up Himself as the redeeming sacrifice. This is why Christian-term-coated self-help books like "Your Best Life Now", or "Become a Better You" are both popular and only deceiving many.

He concludes:
"People needed to be properly convinced of their real guilt and sinfulness, in the sight of God, and their deserving of his wrath." Every Christian needs not only to own up to his sin and guilt, but to admit that he is deserving of God's wrath. No one has properly apprehended God's grace until he has understood his own sinfulness and knows that he fully deserves God's just and holy punishment. The evangelical church of our day is a wrathless church - a church that speaks often of God's love and grace, but rarely of the deepest necessity of this love and grace. The church today needs an infusion of the gospel, the whole gospel, which speaks not only of God's love, but first of our desperate need of reconciliation. The gospel portrays us as we really are - as sinners who sin because of our fundamental guilt, our fundamental hatred of God. Only when we see ourselves as sinners can we truly see Christ as Savior. Only when we have identified ourselves as fallen in Adam can we truly and properly identify ourselves as raised up and set apart in Christ.

There's no other way. The gospel, the whole gospel which includes and shows our sinful state and God's righteous, just, and terrible wrath and judgement as its consequences, must be clearly preached in our churches. Without such faithful preaching of the gospel, we will have no hope.

Read the whole thing.

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