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3 Bad Ways to Talk About Sin

Problem two: Speaking of sin, especially in judgmental tones, drives people away from God.

Time and time again, I’ve found pretending sin doesn’t exist is a far more effective way to drive people away from God.

When I think there is no difference between my sin and yours, a moralist will see us as “morally equal.”

As a result, I feel no special weight to bring you to Jesus … and from a Christian perspective, there is the greatest difference: the atoning death of Christ, and a clearer definition of light and darkness, sin and righteousness.

We speak of sin not because I’m a better person than you are, but because sin separates a person from Christ.

That needs to be said clearly. Why?

First, because it’s true.

Second, because it makes little sense to think people will come to Christ through osmosis or without some sense of need for Christ’s forgiveness. Throughout Scripture—whether at Nineveh or Pentecost—helping people understand their sinfulness in God’s sight provides the clearest path to repentance and union with Christ.

I’ve never seen a person driven away from Christ by a sermon on sin. I know some who’ve spent years without asking, “What must I do to be saved?” because they never thought they needed to.

Besides, the moral compass of the Lost is not the moral standard by which we preach. God will provide us the wisdom and words to speak of sin without judgmentalism if we desire to speak of it faithfully.

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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.