To Lose a Sense of Sin Is to Lose the Gospel

To speak of sin by itself, to speak of it apart from the realities of creation and grace, is to forget the resolve of God. God wants shalom and will pay any price to get it back. Human sin is stubborn, but not as stubborn as the grace of God and not half so persistent, not half so ready to suffer to win its way. Moreover, to speak of sin by itself is to mischaracterize its nature: sin is only a parasite, a vandal, a spoiler. Sinful life is a partly depressing, partly ludicrous caricature of genuine human life. To concentrate on our rebellion, defection and folly–to say to the world “I have some bad news and I have some good news”–is to forget that the center of the Christian religion is not our sin but our Savior. To speak of sin without grace is to minimize the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, and the hope of shalom.

But to speak of grace without sin is no better. To do this is to trivialize the cross of Jesus Christ, to skate past all the struggling by good people down the ages to forgive, accept, and rehabilitate sinners, including themselves, and therefore to cheapen the grace of God that always comes to us with blood on it. What had we thought the ripping and writhing on Golgotha were all about? To speak of grace without looking squarely at these realities, without painfully honest acknowledgement of our own sin and its effects, is to shrink grace to a mere embellishment of the music of creation, to shrink it down to a mere grace note. In short, for the Christian church (even in its recently popular seeker services) to ignore, euphemize, or otherwise mute the lethal reality of sin is to cut the nerve of the gospel. For the sober truth is that without full disclosure of sin, the gospel of grace becomes impertinent, unnecessary, and finally, uninteresting.

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Eerdmans, 1995), 199.

Also, a friend sent this hymn:

Smitten, Stricken, and Afflicted

Stanza 3

Ye who think of sin but lightly,

Nor suppose the evil great,

Here may view its nature rightly,

Here its guilt may estimate.

Mark the Sacrifice appointed!

See Who bears the awful load!

’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,

Son of Man, and Son of God.

 

Stanza 4

Here we have a firm foundation,

Here the refuge of the lost.

Christ the Rock of our salvation,

Christ the Name of which we boast.

Lamb of God for sinners wounded!

Sacrifice to cancel guilt!

None shall ever be confounded

Who on Him their hope have built.

About Calvary Seminary
The mission of Calvary Baptist Seminary as a professional, graduate-level school is to glorify God by preparing individuals for ministry as godly, servant-leaders of local churches worldwide through the combination of instruction in the Scriptures with theological education and training in ministry skills.

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