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|What Ever Happened To Sin?||08/28/2003|
There is an old-fashioned idea that many civil, political and even church leaders disregard. Some refuse to acknowledge its existence at all. It is the concept of "sin."
Could we ever have imagined that the whole world would watch while a major denomination confirmed a bishop who openly professes to practice what is referred to as the "gay lifestyle"? Scripturally speaking, it is anything but gay; it is a sinful lifestyle. Many homosexuals admit to being unhappy, depressed and living under an unbearable load of guilt. While there are those who wrongfully encourage hatred and unkindness toward homosexuals (which is also indeed sin), the feelings of guilt and shame cannot be rightly blamed on others. Men and women do possess a conscience—at least most do. Yet the church is actually discussing this "alternative lifestyle" as normal, when the Bible so clearly defines it as unnatural. The Bible specifically calls it "sin."
When asked about gay marriage, President Bush made reference to the fact that "we are all sinners," indicating that we are not to condemn those who have failed in any way, that we are not to spend unnecessary time trying to get a speck out of someone's eye when we have a beam in our own.
Yet the President was ridiculed by writers like Maureen Dowd, a liberal columnist for The New York Times, who immediately accused him of mixing church and state and using the presidency as an opportunity to, of all things, proclaim his belief that there are some absolute principles that should guide our lives. She mocked him, ridiculed him and made it clear from her perspective that homosexual practices are certainly not to be categorized as sin. But isn't it amazing how forcefully she made clear that the President's action was a sinful violation of her interpretation of the Constitution? In other words, a media mouthpiece can assert her opinion freely, but a President must not! Relativists are often the most obnoxious absolutists.
Bible says that when we reject truth, we will be given over to impurity, the lusts of our hearts and degrading passions—exchanging the natural function for that which is unnatural. Scriptures predicted that men would "abandon the natural function of the woman and burn in their desire for one another, men with men committing indecent acts."
One thing must be absolutely clear: We have all sinned. This includes me, the writer of this article. How foolish it would be for me to defend my actions and disregard teachings in the Scriptures because I have a "preference" and to say that what God has called black is in fact white; that night is day; that bitter is sweet; and that sin is non-existent.
Would we argue that Kobe Bryant, who has confessed adultery while being accused of rape, did not sin? He openly acknowledged that adultery was wrong. But regardless of whether or not Bryant acknowledges it, the Bible says, "Thou shall not commit adultery." God says it is a sin.
No one denies that Kobe Bryant and Rev. Gene Robinson can conduct their lives in any way they wish as long as others aren't hurt. Our freedom to make choices in life was bought with a great price. But let it be forever settled: There are certain acts that can only be correctly described as SIN.
We might also ask, "Whatever happened to repentance?" Repentance is not simply regret or remorse. It is not just saying, "I wish I hadn't done it." And it is not merely reformation. It is a total turning from our wrongful way and a wholehearted return to the truth.
Yes, sin is still a reality, and far too many are enslaved and held captive by its entangling tentacles. Repentance is still relevant, and it is the way to redemption and restoration for individuals, families, communities, nations and, yes, even priests who try to justify their own sinful practices by seeking the approval of some misguided members of a religious group. God have mercy on us all, and may we grant mercy to all in need.