I hate this question. Not because I feel like I have to justify my faith or anything like that, but because it is usually coming from someone who knows what my answer will be (and often wants to pick a fight). Another scenario is that someone is asking the question to try to find a loophole or justification for something they already know to be “sinful.” The third, last, and least common is someone who really doesn’t know, but wants to.
Here’s the long and short of it… If you are asking the question, the answer, 99.99% of the time, is Yes. “Yes, ___ is a sin.” (You can quote me on that.) “How can you say that? Aren’t you being close-minded and judgemental?” No. Not really. I’m giving you the answer the Bible says – this is the exact reason you were asking me, remember? Me saying that lying or homosexuality is a sin is no different than me saying that murder or gluttony is a sin. No one sin is greater than another (except blaspheming the Holy Spirit, but 99.99% of the time, you’re not asking me about that). (For the record, I didn’t say homosexuality is the same as murder – we’ll get to that, stick with me.)
Here’s the deal. Sin, for those who put their faith in Jesus, is no longer an “eternal” issue. Jesus paid it all. The words He spoke on the Cross, “It is finished,” means the final payment was made – a more accurate translation is, “Paid in full.” (The Greek words he spoke are actually an accounting term.) The Old Covenant was fulfilled, the New began.
Sin, this side of the Cross, is more of a “social” issue. Every sin affects your life – murder, lying, gluttony, homosexuality all have social ramifications: they physically affect you in your day-to-day life in one way or another. Many sins directly have emotional or physical effects on the “sinner.” Socially, physically, emotionally, or however, these sins have different consequences and have to be dealt with by the one “committing” them. I don’t set these standards, society does (for the most part).
I am overweight, oddly no one asks me if gluttony is a sin. It’s usually drinking, smoking, “being gay,” abortion, drugs… People tend to focus on their own issues (or the issues of a loved one), often because of an offensive comment/statement from a “Christian” (or worse, a Minister).
We (Christians) tend to focus on Sin more than the Savior. We want everyone to say the “Sinners’ Prayer” (so we can tell everybody how many souls we got saved) rather than making genuine relationships with sinners – that’s what Jesus did. Our collective focus on Sin, then, causes separation from those who do not know Christ (and many who do but feel condemned because of a Christian’s hard heart – which is a sin).
How about this, we focus on Christ and try to live a life like Him. We go to parties and make real connections. We go to work and treat others with love and respect. We show some compassion and help those that need help. We speak life to the broken and downtrodden (did I really just use that word?).
Christians need to be known more for their attitudes than their actions (and words). I know I sin on a daily basis. I can admit that. I’m getting better though, the more I allow Christ to work in me and through me. Why do we have to try to cause more friction in this world? Didn’t Jesus say something about us being peacemakers? I’m not saying we don’t call, what is clearly a sin, a sin, but we don’t have to call “sinners” out on it!
Jesus once commented that whoever is without sin is more than welcome to cast the first stone. I love this account (The Woman Caught In Adultery, John 8:1-11). This woman was about to be executed for breaking the Law. Jesus makes the most profound statement in history (above) and then, when the trolls go back under their bridge, He tells her (after clearly seeing her repentant heart), “There is no one here to condemn you, not even Me. You know what you did was wrong, don’t do it again. Go, enjoy your life.” (Paraphrased, of course.)
Why do we try preaching Sin to the saved, much less the unsaved? I think I’ve clearly shown why neither works. As far as the uptight, religious finger-pointers, Jesus calls them “blind guides” and advises us to leave them alone – those who follow them that want to get out of the darkness and see will follow Christ – the Light of the World.
We carry that light… It’s time to let it shine!
Follow-up to this article: “More On Sin… Really?”