Celebrating Sin; or Why Christians Should Not Separate Sin and Sinners
It is a common fallacy for Christians to say, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” This false dichotomy is derived from another fallacy, “God loves everyone.”
Fallen humanity has inherited sin from Adam (Gen 3; Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12). No one: baby in the womb; infant; child; nor adult is innocent. Man’s sin nature is man’s fallen identity. Man does what he is. Man does not just practice sin; he is sin because of his nature. Human nature is sinful nature. In other words, man thinks nothing but sin (Rom 8:5–7). His heart is wicked and deceitful above all else (Jer 17:9). His mouth is full of cursing because what is in his heart proceeds out of his mouth (Mt 12:34).
The Law clearly defines sin, and man is entirely guilty. Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4), and man is a lawless rebel at enmity with God (Eph 2:16). Man is evil (Gen 6:5), and his sinful passions are only restrained by his selfish desire to preserve himself.
Christians are sinners with the same sin nature as other people (Rom 7:14). Christians commit the same sins as others. The only difference is the occupying presence of the Holy Spirit, in the heart of the Christian (Rom 8:9, 11). By God’s electing grace, Christians have been chosen unto salvation (Eph 1:4–5). This means there is now no longer any condemnation against the Christian (Rom 8:1); but rather, all of her sins are forgiven (Rom 4:7; Col 1:14). This is the result of God’s will and work, alone.
The Christian retains his nature, and his flesh continues to sin, but the Spirit of Christ is manifesting change in the Christian. Divine transformation in mind and body is being produced by the Spirit (Rom 12:1–2; 15:16; 1 Thess 4:3; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13). The Holy Spirit, causing the believer to become holy, means there is an increased hatred for sin and the practice of sinning. A civil war is being fought in the Christian. The flesh and the Spirit are at war with one another (Gal 5:16–17).
The unregenerate sinful mind is not hostile to sin, and sinners are encouraged to sin by other sinners, who are themselves actively pursuing sins common to man. In recent years, the celebration of sin was seen with crowds cheering and hugging, as they rejoiced in the announcement of legalized abortion in Ireland. Celebrating death is a sin. LGBTQ people celebrate their sexual deviance with perverse pride parades. Gluttons gather at Golden Corral for yet another religious feast day. Alcoholics have their pubs and bars. Materialists have their mega DIY and shop-for-less sanctuaries. The homes of hoarders are notorious. Every sin is practiced and even celebrated somewhere and in some manner.
What does it mean when Christians and their churches become a celebratory party to sin-fests? What is the right Christian response in addressing sin and sinners?
First, by preaching the Law of God, we are able to call sin for what God calls it…“sin.”
Second, the sinner must be told he or she is accountable for sins and their consequences. Guilty sinners must understand that the wrath of God is directed against them (Rom 1:18–32)…and not just their sins. There is no separation of sin and sinner.
Third, without God’s grace to remove the hard heart of stone, and to give a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26), there is no hope of escaping the eternal wrath of God against sinners (Mt 25:46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).
To be delivered from eternal death means Christians have glad tidings of great joy to proclaim to all creation (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15). Who will believe our report? Not everyone. Still, we must never affirm sinners saturated in sin. This is a lie, and a deception on the part of the Christian, who should be warning his neighbor of God’s wrath to come against sinners (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7). We must denounce the damning nature of sin and call out against the perversity of prideful sinners, being prepared for destruction (Rom 9:22). There is simply no parade, no party, no convention, and no celebration for sin.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 18, 2021