“Self-deception about our sin is a narcotic, a tranquilizing and distoring suppression of our spiritual central nervous system. What’s devastating about it is that when we lack an ear for wrong notes in our lives, we cannot play right ones or even recognize then in the performance of others.” –Cornelius Plantinga
I think when it comes down to it, most people do not understand the seriousness of sin. I think most people think of sin as breaking a set of rules. The company I work for has a set of standards and procedures for operation. When I was in high school, curfew was 11. Like a first grade class has a lamenated list of rules hanging on the black board, we are all bound by a list of do’s and don’ts.
People think sin is breaking one of said rules. But sin is not the spiritual equivalent of talking out of turn, or blowing off work at 3pm.
Imagine that you are walking home in the rain. It’s cold and windy. When you walk in the door, your mom brings you a warm towel from the dryer and wraps it around you as she hugs you. She sets you down in front of the fireplace and brings you hot chocolate and warm cookies from the oven. She sits down next to you and asks you about your day. You turn to her, cookie in hand, and spit in her face. That is sin.
Sin is not a problem because we break the rules that were establish by a loving Creator. Sin is a problem because it is giving the bird to a loving Creator. Sin is a break in relationship.
Religions all over the world deal with sin by lamenating a list of dos and dont’s and telling people that the way to enlightenment/peace/righteousness is by following the list to a tee. Other religions remove the relational aspect of sin, and therefore consider it adequate to focus on human endevors to meet a standard. But everything we do has a twinge of pride or ego or the motive of self-glorification. We are undone.
Sin is serious. I believe people reject God, in part, because they minimize the gravity of sin. And it may be one of Satan’s most devastating lies that sin is inconsequential. And if we are all basically “ok”, then there is no need for a Saviour.
There is a common belief that if your good outweights your bad, then you will be in Heaven. Let’s think about this for a moment. A man robs a bank. He is caught on camera, witnesses testify against him, the money is found in his house and he confesses to the crime. The defence lawyer uses this as his justification. “Your honor, yes, my client is guilty, but he always pays his taxes on time. He visits his mother often. He even donated a large sum of money to the local homeless shelter. Surely these acts of generosity and kindess are enough to outweigh his crimes?” What judge would accepts this?
Neither will a Holy, Just God accept this from us. It’s not about what we do right. It’s about our sin. And He would not be a just God if there was no retribution for our sins.
So, how is it with you? Holy God does not overlook the need for justice. He took the punishment on Himself. Instead of falling to our knees in gratitude, we puff up our collective self-righteous chest, flip Him a bird, and go about donating money and visiting our mother.