Our society is one that has downplayed the idea of sin over the years. We’ve moved from a Biblical Worldview that equates the problems in the world to the sinfulness of man, to one that is moving away from calling anything sinful. The modern age is one in which every other “ology” is turned to rather than Theology. We desperately want to blame everyone except ourselves for the maladies of our day. The sinfulness of the human heart, inherited from Adam and inherently tied to original sin in the garden, is either considered too simple or too stupid to the modern populace of the modern thinkers of our time. We prefer to solve our issues with politics, psychotherapy, and pills.
Recently I have been reading The Sinfulness of Sin, by Ralph Venning, and it has been reminding me of a far more Biblical view of sin. If someone had asked me if my view of sin needed strengthening, I probably would have said no. But after reading the first few chapters of Venning’s book, I have been corrected on that matter. As God, through the pen of this able wordsmith, has addressed sin and its sinfulness, I’ve been amazed at how much my view of sin has deteriorated over the years. Let me quote from the book to help me on this point.
"The works of sin are deformed and monstrously ugly, for it works disorder, confusion, and everything that is abominable. Sin may be arraigned for all the mischiefs and villainies that have been done in the world; it is the master of misrule, the author of sedition, the builder of Babel, the troubler of Israel and all mankind. So contrary is sin to the works of God, that it sought and still seeks to undo all that God does, that there might be no seed nor name, nor root left Him in all the earth . . . Sin is evil and does evil, indeed, it does nothing else.” (The Sinfulness of Sin, by Ralph Venning, pgs. 32-33)
As I’ve read Venning’s book I have realized that too often such much needed descriptions of sin are usually laughed at today – and the speaker of writer is written off as some crazed “evangelist” type – or hell-fire and brimstone preacher who needs more grace and kindness in his presentation. But that is not the case with what I’ve read so far. The desire of this author is not to elicit “amens” from a Sunday morning crowd or from a evening Revival meeting. He speaks of the holiness and glory of God with glowing affirmations and does not spend his time denouncing “pet sins” of his generation. Venning is genuinely concerned that men do not grasp how pernicious and horrific sin is. That is why he writes with such passion about sin and sinfulness.
One of the marvelous benefits of reading this volume is the way it is aiding me in seeing sin and utterly sinful and terrible. I am not being urged to rail against sinners whose sins grieve my sensibilities. Instead I am being led to God Himself, in whose presence sin is seen as the ultimate blight of MY OWN soul. His holiness only makes my sin that much more awful and hated – even as His grace forgives and His Spirit enables me to turn from it.
One might wonder why this is important to us? Why make all this fuss over a right comprehension of sin. The problem comes from a diminished view of God that rises up in our hearts when we make our peace with something with which God will never make peace. Sin, when seen properly is an odious and disgusting thing. We want nothing to do with it and retract in horror from it in our own lives and choices. This is true at least with those who grasp how terrible sin is in God’s eyes. The practice in our current time is to make little of sin – and much of conditions we have. Our conditions are named and others are blamed for them. In the end – sin – is now repackaged as something others should feel sorry for us over. We are not held responsible for our actions, attitudes, or messes. We have a syndrome – not a sin-choice. We have a condition – not a corruption. We are battling a social disease – not a sinful decision. In renaming sin and redefining it – we absolve ourselves of responsibility and can blame everyone and everything else for what we are doing.
Sin is a choice – a choice to ignore God’s Law and rebel against it. That rebellion is also against God Himself. Sin hurts us most assuredly, but much more than that, it grieves the heart of God. It incites His wrath and requires punishment. It is against the true order of things God purposed and it opposes His reign over all things at all times. But the worst thing of all is that sin falls short of the glory that God Himself is – and the glory which should characterize our lives as we are called to live for Him. May God in His mercy open our eyes to the sinfulness of sin – helping us to abhor it even as He does. May we see the malignancy of it as well as the destructive path that is portends to those who choose it. May we remember the price required to pay for it on our behalf, and thus learn to hate it and see it as the dangerous and horrific thing it is. And may we have grace to apprehend such things so that we learn to fully o embrace holiness with all that is in us – now and forevermore.