The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/27

Posted on | February 27, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/27

Scripture reading: Genesis 6:5–8

The “S” Word

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)


The word “sin” has virtually disappeared from public discourse. Have you noticed? In opting for medical, psychological, and behavioral terms to describe actions and attitudes that are less than commendable, our culture has lost the ability to make moral distinctions. And the price for such a loss is huge! If we can’t speak of sinners, then we will lose also the ability to speak of saints.

One of my favorite books on sin is Cornelius Plantinga’s Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin. In the Preface he explains why he chose to write about sin.

In this book I am trying to retrieve an old awareness that has slipped and changed in recent decades. The awareness of sin used to be our shadow. Christians hated sin, feared, it, fled from it, grieved over it . . . But the shadow has dimmed. Nowadays, the accusation “you have sinned” is often said with a grin, and with a tone that signals an inside joke. . . .

As a child growing up in the fifties among Western Michigan Calvinists, I think I heard as many sermons about sin as I did about grace. The assumption in those days seemed to be that you couldn’t understand either without understanding both. . . . You were never in doubt what these preachers were talking about. They were talking about sin. In today’s group confessionals it is harder to tell. The newer language of Zion fudges: “Let us confess our problem with human relational adjustment dynamics, and especially our feebleness in networking.” Or, “I’d just like to share that we just need to target holiness as a growth area.” Where sin is concerned, people mumble now . . . The word sin now finds its home mostly on dessert menus. “Peanut Butter Binge” and “Chocolate Challenge” are sinful; lying is not. The new measure for sin is caloric. . . .

Self-deception about our sin is a narcotic, a tranquilizing and disorienting 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 can- not play right ones or even recognize them in the performances of others.

Eventually we make ourselves religiously so unmusical that we miss both the exposition and the recapitulation of the main themes God plays in human life. The music of creation and the still greater music of grace whistle right through our skulls, causing no catch of breath and leaving no residue. Moral beauty begins to bore us. The idea that the human race needs a Savior sounds quaint.

I pray that God will stir our souls and open our eyes so that we can see what a bunch of no-good, dirty, rotten, egocentric, narcissistic, arrogant jerks we really are. If that happens, maybe, just maybe, we’ll also have our eyes opened to see the power of the Gospel to save! (Can I get an “Amen”?)


The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. —D. L. Moody


point to ponder Only those who know they are sinners know they need a Savior.

prayer focus That God would reveal those things that are keeping you from experiencing his mighty power in your life.


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