Dear Friends,

We need to rediscover sin and we need to learn how to speak wisely about sin. The concept of sin is wise and true.

For many secular people, our friends, when they hear Christian’s talking about “sin” they think we are talking about sex. For many secular people, they think Christians are hung up about sex. Basically that we think that sex is wrong, just as we think pleasure, fun and freedom are wrong. So when they hear Christians say “we are all sinners”, they think we are saying, “We are all doing sexually wrong things”.

Now most Christians know better – that “sin” does not refer to sex. We tend to react to the cultural misconception about sin by one or two ways. We either over-adapt or under-adapt. When we “over-adapt” we take on too much of our cultures view of the word “sin”, and we take on too much of our cultures view on sex, pleasure, fun and freedom. One consequence of over-adapting is we either stop using the word “sin” or even worse, putting quote marks around “sin” when we use the word sin. We under adapt when we just plough blindly on using the word “sin”, refusing to realize that most non-Christians and many Christians are confused about what “sin” or “sinner” means. So we do not explain the word, or give an “apologetic” for the word and its meaning.

“Sin” is a Bible word, therefore we should not throw it out or abandon it. The word comes ultimately from God as part of His revelation to us. Words like “evil”, “wrong”, “immoral” are good words, but can easily be understood in a way that leaves out the God of the Bible out of the picture. We can use a “consequentialist” or “utilitarian” or a legal system to determine right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral. The word “sin” ties right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral to the existence, reality, presence and centrality of God as He is revealed in the Bible. Sin is an offence against Him, a “missing the mark” set by His moral law which is rooted in who He is, His character and nature. The word “sin” is to remind us that God, as He is revealed in the Bible, exists and matters, that He is our creator and we are His creatures.

Sex is not sinful. Sexual knowing outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful. Pleasure, fun, joy and freedom come from God. “Sin” refers to all that we desire and do against God, creatures made in His image [Human Beings] and His creation – by acting against His will. Telling lies, oppressing the poor, prejudice, racism, killing the innocent, slavery, bribery, graft, and much more. This is sin. Legally passing a law does not make that law right, it can still be a sinful law. The Supreme Court can make a ruling, but that does not make that ruling right, they can rule that something sinful is “right” and legal, but it is still sinful.

Friends, pray that we will hold fast to what God teaches us through His Word, and that we will explain it well to each other and the world.