But it is the conviction of most of the non-religious that sin is not that big of a deal. In fact, sin isn't really bad. I mean, think of our language: if something better than just good, we say that it is sinfully good.
Sin is just some stupid rule. Stupid rules should never stand in the way of fun, of happiness, of joy, of self-fulfillment, of a life of freedom and self-realization. A hundred movies, a thousand TV episodes, tell tale after tale of some poor noble soul oppressed by joyless, loveless, graceless, dour, dessicated, usually hypocritical religionists.
A lot of the time, it has something to do with sex. Kids wanting to have sex with other kids, lonely wives wanting to have sex with better men than their horrid husbands. Lately, it's guys wanting to have sex with guys, women with women.
And why not? If that's what they really want in their heart, why shouldn't they? Isn't our heart our best guide? Aren't rules just stuffy conventions that each generation outgrows, varying from culture to culture? Isn't the Bible full of rules we don't keep anymore, anyway — like about slavery, skin disease, and shellfish?
The way the world thinks about sin starts with the assumption that man is the measure of all things. Whether the talk is of "enlightened self-interest," or the heart's best impulses, or the "angels of our better nature," or what-have-you, the assumption is that man is both alpha and omega. Maybe an individual man, or maybe the human consensus of an enlightened society — but the assumption is that morality bubbles up from within. It can be divined by a poll, which often turns out to be a poll of one.
The problem with that is that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). You see, with its very first words, the Bible turns our thinking on its head. We don't define our universe. We don't create meaning. We come into a universe already created, already defined, with already-assigned values and borders and lines and definitions.
That reality is absolutely fundamental to all thought. Undervalue it, and wisdom remains under lock and key.
Were that not true, then common thinking is correct: man is both alpha and omega. However, since it is not true, neither is man-centered thought true. Before the whirl of the first atom, God existed: self-sufficient, self-delighted, the font of all perfection. When He created, He created. All things are His things. All creatures are His creatures. He owns, possesses, has rights over all things.
Including you, whoever you are.
Or you may be a religionist, a relativist, a post-modernist, or a nothingist. No matter. Those are all labels applicable to you, and they are all irrelevant to reality.
In reality, God is the center of the universe. He is its source, its creator, its owner, and its definer.
And so I think you can see: if He says something is right, well then, it's right. If He says it's wrong, well then, it's wrong.
But think further. What is the worst of crimes? It can only be crimes against Him. These are acts of high treason, crimes of deepest dye. Remember, it doesn't matter that you don't feel them to be such, and it doesn't matter if the majority of society doesn't feel them to be such. God requires no one's permission to be God. He simply is.
And that is what sin is, at heart. Sin is my refusal to deal with reality — specifically, with the game-changing reality of God. Sin is my insistence on being self-defining (as if there were no God), self-ruling (as if there were no God), self-pleasing (as if there were no God). In fact, sin is living as if there were no God. It makes me the opposite of the real Jesus Christ; it makes me an anti-christ.
In fact, sin is the desire that there be no God. Sin sees God as the great obstacle. Sin wishes there to be no such obstacle. Therefore, sin wishes there to be no such God as the God of the Bible.
Therefore sin is, at heart, a desire to murder God; and all sin is attempted Deicide.
And in so doing, prove themselves worthy of Hell.
"What?!" you say. "Did I miss a paragraph? How did you get from A to Z?"
Simple. The thinking is, "I just don't feel that way, so I won't do anything about it. Because what I feel is ultimate to me. My feelings matter most. If I don't feel the need to change, I won't change, and I won't feel bad about not changing. And this sin thing? This God-thing? I don't feel it. It's not moving me. So I'm not moving."
All of which is simply to say: to me, I am God.
Which is a very, very old lie. Because, you see, the thing is: you aren't. God is.
And that's what makes sin a big deal.
Which is where the Gospel comes in.
But that wasn't what this post was about. It was about why you and I need the Gospel.
Because sin is such a big deal.
Hello, Out There #3: What is the Big Deal about Sin?