Thinking Out Loud

July 24, 2011

Whatever Happened To Sin?

Pete Wilson:

Over the past year I’ve become a fan of Scot McKnight and his thoughts on following Christ. I don’t always agree with him, but he almost always makes me think outside of my little theology box.

He recently wrote an article for Relevant Magazine entitled, “Why Doesn’t Anybody Talk About Sin?” Here’s a little snippet from the article.

To many, sin has fallen into grace. What does that mean? When we talk about God’s grace, we are assuming the reality of sin—that we are sinners and that God has forgiven us. But in our language today, sin is not only an assumption—it is an accepted assumption. And not only is it an accepted assumption—it also doesn’t seem to matter.

It’s as if we’re saying, “Yes, of course we sin” and then do nothing about it.

Widespread apathy toward sin reveals itself in the lack of interest in holiness. Your grandparents’ generation overdid it—going to movies, dancing and drinking alcohol became the tell-tale signs of unholiness. Damning those who did such things became the legalistic, judgmental context for church life. So your parents’ generation, inspired in part by the ’60s, jaunted its way into the freedom of the Christian life. Which meant, often enough, “I can do whatever I want because of God’s grace.”

That generation’s lack of zeal for holiness has produced a trend: acceptance of sin, ignorance of its impact and weakened relationships with God, people and the world.

I’ll be honest.  Sometimes I think I fall into the trap Scot talked about in the article.  At times, I’ve been somewhat accepting of my sin and ignored the impact it has in my life. I’ve quickly categorized my sin as “under God’s grace” (which it certainly is) but not taken the time to mourn over the very realistic consequences it has in my life.

Like many of you I grew up in what I perceived to be a legalistic church. And like many of you I swore I would never be a part of that kind of movement again.

But now I wonder if  the pendulum has swung too far away from legalism and too far towards grace in the church today?

How about you personally? Does your focus tend to be toward law or grace?



  1. Wow, how true this rings! I look around me and I see that NO, there is no SIN anymore. People have gone so far the other way, that it seems nothing is wrong anymore. And where do I fit in….at times, guilty as charged, sadly. Time to get on my knees.

    Comment by Phoenix_Rising — July 24, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  2. Well said Paul. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent months and I wonder if Christians see grace as a convenient rinse when needed, as a former Pastor of ours said once. Aren’t we called a peculiar people in the Bible? How are we any different than the unsaved if we don’t act any different? We can talk the talk but the walk needs to match up.

    Comment by Issy — July 25, 2011 @ 8:24 am

  3. We are working through Galatians in our church..slowly, verse by verse. Never before have I been so struck by the implications of Grace…the purpose of the law and the web-work of sin that continually tries to get a grip on my new nature!

    Comment by Cynthia — July 28, 2011 @ 10:41 am

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