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3 Bad Ways to Talk About Sin

We don’t use the word “sin” much any more.

Some think that’s good. I myself do not.

Sin is a biblical word, and while its scope continues to be reduced verbally by many in the pulpit, God loathed its effects so much He sent Christ to die for its abolition.

Far be it from me to pretend there is no such thing.

All Christians (especially those who teach) need to have Jesus-centered substance, grammar and tone speaking of sin. However, we simply must do it.

We need to talk about character formation in a way that draws a clear distinction between the ways of light and darkness.

Problem one: the idea that “sin is sin.”

While this is true in the sense of qualifying us for the need for atonement, it isn’t correct qualitatively.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

However, Hitler and the toddler saying, “No!” to his mother aren’t the same.

There is a greatest commandment and Christ speaks of an “unforgiveable sin.” There are 10 commandments singled out, and Jesus speaks of “weightier matters of the law.”

Sin isn’t flat, and neither are God’s commands.

It is, of course, true to say we are all sinners. It is another to suggest if you have sinned in any way, you lose any ability to call my sin “sin” without hypocrisy. Paul called himself the Chief of Sinners but had no problem pointing out the need for repentance from sin in others as well. If I’m overweight, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to lose a few pounds as well.

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Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California--a fast-growing plant launched in 2011. Tim is also the purveyor of New Vintage Leadership - a blog offering cutting edge insights on leadership and theology and the author of numerous articles and one book: Jesus, the Powerful Servant.