Several years ago, when I ministered in a small town in the Midwest, the largest church in town was part of a major Protestant denomination. The pastor, a very conservative Christian, was asked to deliver the sermon for the Baccalaureate service at the High School. He preached a powerful message on the subject of sin. He laid the blame for all the world's wars, oppression, and poverty squarely at the feet of sin. He warned the graduating seniors of the dangers of sin and solicited their aid in calling a lost world to repentance.
Personally, I felt like applauding him, but this was before the day when polite folk applauded in church services.
As we left the auditorium, I overheard one indignant person remark, "I'm sure glad I don't belong to his church!"
I got the impression she didn't think sin was all that serious. She was wrong. Deny it as we might, sin is, indeed, the root of all the world's woes. And we do want so bad to deny it.
Moody Monthly magazine once published the following list under the title "What Is Sin?" It points up the efforts we make to minimize sin by calling it anything but what it really is:
r Man calls it an accident. God calls it abomination.
r Man calls it a defect. God calls it a disease.
r Man calls it an error. God calls it an enmity.
r Man calls it a liberty. God calls it lawlessness.
r Man calls it a trifle. God calls it a tragedy.
r Man calls it a mistake. God calls it a madness.
r Man calls it a weakness. God calls it willfulness.
The extent to which men will go to deny the reality of sin is seen clearly at Calvary. The crucifixion of Jesus was, from a human point of view, nothing more nor less then a political coverup. The religious leaders of His day, embarrassed by His teaching and threatened by His popularity, killed Him in order to protect their positions and power.
To our great blessedness, Calvary also demonstrates the length to which God will go to deal with sin. From the Divine perspective, the crucifixion of Jesus is the true answer to sin's challenge. In that event, God demonstrated His love for us, His hatred for sin, and His determination "to destroy the devil's work." (I John 3:8NIV).
The dark side of human nature, society and culture is sin. God shed His light and dispelled the darkness through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Now He calls upon us to live in the light and share this redeeming Truth with those we meet.
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week's column comes from Pastor Chuck Salmon, associate minister of Howard Christian Church.