A common way in which we have created a double standard of morality is by acknowledging the reality of sin, but minimising the wickedness of sin. We minimise sin by the many more respectable terms we’ve invented to refer to sin.
Jerry Bridges realised the disaster to one’s soul that comes when Christians accept less sinful-sounding words for their personal sins. In his book euphemistically entitled Respectable Sins he talks about the socially acceptable things we do often that we’ve forgotten are called “sin” in the Bible.
You are familiar with this deceptive practise:
- it is not a lie, it is a white lie
- it is not impatience, it is irritability
- it is not theft, it is fraud
- it is not greed, it is materialism
- it is not coveting, it is dreaming
- it is not a lack of self-control, it is a mental disorder
- it is not gossip, it is therapy
- it is not selfishness, it is self-esteem
- it is not drunkenness, it is alcoholism
- it is not adultery, it is an affair
- it is not pornography, it is art
- it is not worldliness, it is engaging the culture
Nothing is SIN! any more, everything has become respectable.
Rightly did some of the Puritans come up with pamphlet titles like “The Sinfulness of Sin” to jolt believers back to one of the basic tenets of Christianity, namely, that sin is not okay! Here is another puritan title we should resurrect: “The Evil of Evils or the Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin” – yes, the “or” is part of the title, giving you two options in case you missed the point of the first!
John records for us the words of God when making these two very distinct categories among mankind:
Category #1: Those purifying themselves
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be, has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
Category #2: Those making a practice of sinning
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. … Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil. 1 John 3:4 and 8
Let us not continue in sin, but let us purify ourselves in righteousness.