One bit of Osteen-esque lingo that seems to be gaining traction in our suicidally unbiblical culture is the "itching ear friendly" description of sin as something like "not the best" or "less than the best" that "God has for you."
Such phrases as "not the best that God has for you" are increasingly being used to replace the word - and biblical concept - of sin.
There are a variety of reasons for this, all of which center on a man-centered approach to reality and an unbelieving fear of man rather than a faith-fueled fear of the Lord.
It should come as no surprise that biblical representations of sin are not very appealing or marketable to the ears and minds of unrepentant sinners, and since the last thing we want to do is offend or hurt someone's all-important feelings, professing Christians in America have increasingly opted to avoid and even flat out replace the biblical concept of sin with something much more palatable (and therefore much more marketable) to a world at war with God.
When we play this game, we enable and encourage any number of life- and culture-wrecking trends that have come to dominate our increasingly touchy-feely and super-squishy American age, including:
- We radically minimize the significance of sin. By replacing the term (and biblical concept) of sin with a phrase like "less than the best that God has in mind," we make sin out to be merely less good than holiness, rather than the antithesis of holiness.
- We uphold the conventional secular notion that evil (sinful) approaches to life aren't necessarily evil; they're just "less good" or "not the best" available option. This is a form of "calling evil good" (see: Isaiah 5:20). To refer to sinful options as less good and not
necessarily evil is clearly a relativistic equivocation on the biblical concept of sin as it stands in contrast to holiness.
- We encourage people to sin. If some sin is to be accepted as merely "less good" or "less than the best" and is also defended as "not necessarily evil", then, in our equivocation and abandonment of the biblical concept of sin, we are encouraging people not only to persist in sin, but to defend their doing so using our own approach as a model and example.
- We encourage the culture's dismissal and trampling of the holiness and Word of God. By minimizing sin, we minimize the importance of the holiness of God, which then naturally inhibits our personal pursuit of the holiness of God, and severely waters down our defense of the holiness of God. In this, we lead the world to do the same by example...which it has been all too happy to do.
While we may imagine ourselves to be more loving or kind to those listening when we "protect" them from the biblical concept of sin in such a manner, in truth this approach demonstrates our personal hatred of those who are listening to us for truth and, more importantly, our personal rejection of God's clear command to faithfully proclaim truth with clarity...including the most hated truth to ever hit the ears of unrepentant sinners: The Gospel command to repent and believe.
Without a clear presentation of sin, there is no clear presentation of the Gospel.
Leaving sin vaguely defined or setting it aside for more appealing, less offensive approaches, is to leave the true Gospel behind. (See: Beware the "Gospel in a Bottle")
In deep theological terms, this is what is known as "a very big deal."
We can't coherently call people to repent without clearly confronting and correcting their misconceptions about the nature of God, man, and sin. We do this through the faithful proclamation of the whole Gospel and trust God to perfectly handle any consequences or results of our faithful proclamation. We are here to obey Christ and proclaim His Word. We are not here to spin Christ and edit His Word.
King Jesus doesn't need our help.
He doesn't need us at all.
We need Him.
Our only hope - and the only true hope we have to offer anyone else - is through repentance and obedient submission to Christ as King in practice in every realm of life. (See: Matthew 28:18-20.)
Our place and purpose here in His creation is all of His doing, all by His grace, all for His glory, and all to the eternal benefit of His people.
He commands and equips His people to be obedient and blesses us with the opportunity to demonstrate true faith in Him by obeying His perfect, loving commands and trusting Him completely to handle the consequences...no matter how "unkind," "unloving," "intolerant," and "harsh" the world says we are for doing so.
We are here to proclaim and pursue obedience to Christ in all that He has lovingly commanded.
Anything less is sin.
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