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Monday, September 17, 2012

DESENSITIZED TO SIN

By Marc Hinds

You can’t see your soul. And you certainly can’t see it stained with sin. And so, the philosophy of life, “out of sight, out of mind,” has been embraced by millions of people who have slowly but surely lost their taste for the spiritual. Rather than walking with God, “every man does what is right in his own eyes” (Jdgs. 17:6; 21:25). Like Judah of old, we have forgotten how to blush (Jer. 6:15; 8:12).

In his inimitable way, C.S. Lewis lists several reasons why we have grown more and more desensitized to the reality of sin. The following is a paraphrase from his Christian apologetic work: THE PROBLEM OF PAIN (New York: Touchstone, 1996, reprint from 1962; pgs. 52-60).

1. COMPARISON: When we compare ourselves with others, we are less likely to see ourselves as we really are. “I'm better than he is,” we might think, not realizing that: 1) even though we are better than someone else, that does not necessarily mean that we are above the bar of acceptability with God; or 2) it may not really be true that we're better than someone else after all.

2. SINS OF SOCIETY vs PERSONAL SINS: Just because the world is terribly sinful does not mean that we should overlook our own personal sins. We haven't murdered anyone, we're not addicted to drugs, we’re not lying under oath. But yet, we have sinned as individuals. “Corporate guilt...is not felt with the same force as personal guilt.”

3. TIME CANCELS SINS: “The guilt of sin is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ...” through baptism (Acts 2:38). The very fact that we have been immersed in the watery grave of baptism should forever remind us of “the price of our forgiveness” which Jesus Christ selflessly paid for us. And thus, we should be forever humble.

4. SAFETY IN NUMBERS: “Everybody else is a sinner.” It may be true (it is true) that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), but that doesn’t make us okay. Immorality is never justified under any circumstances, including just because “everybody else is doing it.”

5. DELICATESSEN MORALITY: You can’t pick and choose which virtues cancel out your vices. God is the Standard of all time. After all, what may have been considered a virtue in a past society may be considered a vice today. (?).

6. AT THE CORE OF KINDNESS: Why are you nice to people? Is it because you truly want to be kind, or because you have no reason not to be kind? If someone has offended you or inconvenienced you and you are still kind to them, then you are truly kind. Kindness is one of the several virtues: “You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.” Paul tells us that “the FRUIT of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22,23). “Patience is a virtue!” we often say; so is kindness. (This FRUIT of the Spirit is a package deal, JWS).

7. PERFECTLY PERFECT PERFECTION: Just because we cannot be perfect (1 Jno. 1:8) even as God is perfect, doesn’t mean that we should just give up trying to live righteous lives. The bar has been set and we have been commanded by the Lord Himself: “Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

8. “IT’S NOT MY FAULT!”: Even though we cannot live perfectly sinless lives, that doesn’t mean that it's God’s fault that we’re sinners. He made us free moral agents: we choose to sin. We are not totally depraved, as the doctrine of Calvinism purports. “I disbelieve that doctrine, partly on the logical ground that if our depravity were total we should not know ourselves to be depraved, and partly because experience shows us much goodness in human nature.”

- Marc Hinds; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org



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