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  • Writer's picturePhil Rains

The Unpopular

A subject we dare to discuss

Today I want to talk of something that is both unpopular and, according to some, politically incorrect. It’s viewed this way because it calls us into account for our actions, and the very motivation by which we do the things we do. It requires personal responsibility and accountability, something that seems to be miserably lacking in today’s western culture. It’s something, if not handled and communicated properly, can divide and alienate people. It is seen, at best, as old fashioned, or at worst, cultish. It’s this thing called sin.

Unfortunately, we have defined sin solely on the basis of our actions rather than our nature. We see it as something we do, not something we are. That way it’s a physical or emotional thing instead of a spiritual thing. What’s the problem? Well, I can modify my actions or hide my emotions, but, sooner or later, my nature will end up revealing itself.

Sin is becoming an obsolete idea. We seem to be putting everything in the baskets of disorder, phobia, sickness or disease. It’s much simpler and cleaner that way, because it alleviates us of any responsibility or accountability. By defining sin in such a way, it takes my actions out of the arena of a sinful nature and into a place of either inherited or learned behavior. "That's just the way I am, that's how God made me, it's not my fault." Or “It’s because of what happened to me when I was a child, I can’t help it.”

That way there’s no need for repentance, forgiveness or deliverance.

But to ignore sin is to misunderstand the plight of the human condition, therefore , rendering us void of a solution, and subsequently, salvation.

Now don't take me wrong, I believe there are sicknesses and diseases that can impact our actions, things that can be mitigated with medication or counseling. In this context, we can make someone a better person, but not a saved person. Eventually, we must deal with sin’s source if we are ever to have an eternal resolution.

But in the final analysis, only God can define sin and determine what constitutes alienation from His presence. When we try to do so, it only promotes legalism and self righteousness. Neither sin’s root nor scope can be left to human manipulation, or determined by legislation, cultural trends or political correctness.

What we have done is to categorize and prioritize certain actions so as to control sin’s impact on our lives. That way we can determine for ourselves what is sin and what is not. We can also determine which sins are worse that others. Conveniently, someone else’s sin is always worse than our own sin. How convenient is that?

When we see sin defined purely as certain actions, not as a nature void of God, we can then shape the narrative of sin to our own liking. It also let’s us determine the best way to assuage it’s impact on our daily lives so as not to let it change the normal flow of living life the way I want to, with no restraints.

When we lost a grasp of the absolute, everything was then determined by the prevailing winds of culture. Environment and situation became the “go to” as far as right and wrong. As a matter of fact, is there still such a thing as right and wrong? Or maybe that’s too arbitrary. Suddenly, truth is no longer absolute. We now have “your truth” or “my truth”. What we have done is to install cultural and religious relativism to replace an absolute, eternal God.

The repulsion to the idea of sin has led to the elimination of the very One who has the solution to sin. Sooner or later we are going to have to face our sin, face to face. At that moment in time , we can either ignore it, sweep it under the rug, deny that it even exists or turn to the one who has power over it’s dominion and a solution to it’s impact on your lives.

This is why Jesus came to this earth in flesh, “to seek and save that which was lost.” If we will confront our sin, call it what it is, and repent, there is forgiveness and salvation.

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