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The Lens Through Which We View Sin

Dave Miller

In the Old Testament of the Bible, the youngest recorded king was an eight-year-old by the name of Josiah (2 Kings 22). The Bible teaches that Josiah followed after the Lord God and tried to do what was right in His sight. When Josiah was about 26 years old, the Word of God was discovered during a remodel in the Temple of God and was brought to Josiah and read to him. Upon hearing from God’s Word, the Bible says that Josiah “rent his clothes” in remorse for the sin of the nation.  

How do you feel when you look at our nation’s sin? Angry? Disheartened? Numb? As Christians, we have the gift of a spiritual lens to see the world, but as for the lost, they don’t regard sin with the same severity as we do.  

  • Society teaches that we sin because of variable outside and uncontrollable elements. Phrases are often heard: "It was my upbringing, my childhood, I’m just a product of my environment." The problem with this logic is that the opposite of this belief system must mean that a person with a good upbringing and environment is a sinless person. The truth of the matter is that every excuse for sin that society uses will never be adequate unless they realign their view with God’s Word. Romans 3:23 sets the record straight that all men are indeed inherently sinful. We, as humans, are born into sin and therefore have a sinful nature. Sin, as defined by American theologian Charles Ryrie, is “anything in the creature which does not express, or which is contrary to, the holy character of the Creator.” 

  • ‘To each his own’ has become a frequently used colloquialism when asked about right and wrong. Sin has now become a matter of opinion, not fact. In his article, Evolution and the Challenge of Morality, Christian astrophysicist Jason Lisle wisely writes, “Without the biblical God, right and wrong are reduced to mere personal preferences.” Morality as we know and value has obviously declined in everyday society, but God’s standard never changes. 

  • Society teaches that the solution to man’s sin is found within the individual. This belief is typically expressed by several different avenues, none higher than the thought that educating oneself will lead to moral uprightness. A Bible college professor of mine once said “Sin cannot be educated away.” He is right! If this were the case then the religious leaders in Jesus’ day would have been the most moral people surrounding Jesus during his time on Earth. However, we find a very different narrative as Jesus continually rebuked the religious leaders for knowing things about God and not a relationship with God. According to society, more education = less wrongdoing (sin). Society’s remedy for sin leaves a person working toward his or her attempt at perfection while the Bible leaves a person with the comfort, peace, and knowledge that they are saved only through the blood of Jesus Christ—grace alone—through faith alone—in Christ alone. 

My challenge to all (myself included) is to recognize sin for what it is; not because of how we feel but because of what God’s Word has instructed. Pray for our nation and for God’s people, that we may turn from sin and seek God. May we enter the new year with a desire to pursue the goodness of God and how He has intended us to live—free from sin and to walk in truth!

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