Does Anyone Care About Sin Anymore?

Written by Drew on March 20th, 2007

Today’s pop gospel is about having fun and being rich. Feel-good religion is what the public is buying, not messages about the danger and ugliness of sin and the wide gate to destruction.

Gauging by book sales and television programming, the most popular preachers of the 21st century preach positive messages to the exclusion of anything that could be construed as negative or judgmental.

Joel Osteen preaches for the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which boasts of 30,000 members and meets in a stadium that used to house the Houston Rockets. According to Osteen, the secret to his success is concentrating on building people up and encouraging them to lead a life of victory. Winford Claiborne points out that his book Your Best Life Now claims that David did not focus on his faults or on the things he had done wrong. Evidently Osteen has missed the 51st Psalm.

Joyce Meyer attracts a broad audience with her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life. While Meyer concentrates on the dangers of sin more than Osteen, her main push is self-centered–enjoying life instead of pleasing God. The gospel that people are buying these days is extremely selfish. One wonders how this works with Jesus’ teachings of cross-bearing and self-denial (Mt. 16:24).

According to a survey conducted by the Barna Research Group, Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life is considered by pastors to be the most helpful religious book on the market. The numbers support their conclusion, as The Purpose Driven Life was the best selling book in the world for 2003, 2004, and 2005. But critics complain that the book distorts the true message that is at the heart of the New Testament: spiritual death through sin, God’s scheme of redemption through Jesus Christ, and the plan of salvation.

A gospel that doesn’t preach against sin and demand repentance is not a true gospel (Gal. 1:6-10). God does want us to enjoy life and find lasting joy, but not at the expense of truth and righteousness. Too many preachers are taking the easy route to peace–by wearing down the corners of our consciences so they won’t cut anymore (Eph. 4:19; 1 Tim. 4:2).

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10). These words reflect back to the apostle’s first letter to the church at Corinth, in which he condemned the actions of a man who had been sleeping with his father’s wife. In that letter he instructed them to “purge the evil person from among you” (1 Cor. 5:13). They were not even to eat with that man until he repented.

The whole process was extremely painful, but it was necessary to bring the sinner real peace and happiness. As long as he lived in sexual immorality, he could never meet his true purpose–seeking and honoring God (Isa. 43:7; Acts 17:26-28). By the second letter to the Corinthians, it appears the man did repent. He was evidently still licking the wounds of the discipline he received, for Paul said to “forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow” (2 Cor. 2:7).

People have to feel bad in order to get better. This is why the body hurts when something is wrong with it. If the body of Christ never feels the “godly grief” essential to repentance, it will become diseased and eventually die. So preachers, “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). A church full of sin may have the numbers, but it fails to meet its purpose.

3 Comments so far ↓

  1. rhill0611 says:

    The morality portrayed by the speakers you mentioned is like tossing sugar cubes at diabetics.

  2. Daniel says:

    Great post! It’s encouraging to see some people who are really fed up with superficial christianity and want to be followers of Christ not Joel and Joyce.

  3. Sean says:

    I’m so glad to find at least one post that at least mentions we should rid ourselves of sin. Try a Google search to find it and it just isn’t out there! The trouble is that we’ve so corrupted the message that Jesus preached that we think we can believe ourselves into righteousness. We say we believe “in” Jesus but we don’t believe the things he preached! Jesus TAUGHT the Good News, he didn’t BECOME the Good News.

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