Where is sin? I've been reading Job and it struck me that this truth is completely absent from the church:
How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot--a son of man, who is only a worm! (Job 25:4-6)
Do your children know they are sinners? Do you and your wife know how desperately wicked you both are--that your hearts are unbelievably deceitful? Do you preach for conviction of sin in your flock? Do you share Jonathan Edwards' conviction that the doctrine of original sin is the key to conversion and revival?
It's always struck me that the Reformed church seems incapable of preaching the sinfulness of sin. Yet doctrinaly, we continue to pay lip service to total depravity. How can we do this? What good is it to have a tool that we are in principle opposed to using? The demons have more faith in total depravity...than we do; they use it.
There are so very many ways this failure could be illustrated, but simply ask yourself, mother or father, pastor or elder or elder woman, does the worship of anyone in your church Sunday morning demonstrate their conviction that, outside of the blood of Jesus Christ, they are simply a maggot and only a worm?
I've been thinking for several months that the state of the art in conviction of sin in our churches is the endless hissing against the Prodigal Son's elder brother.
The pastor who preaches against self-righteousness without preaching God's Moral Law is like the man who waters his garden with a watering can while holding an umbrella to keep the rain at bay.
Think about this. Less than five percent of the victims of child molestation and incest are discovered or come forward, yet as one presbyterian elder said to me recently, in ten years of session meetings, he's never heard mention of one case of child molestation or incest. He'd recently discovered his own children had been molested by a close relative, so he was going back in his mind wondering what he and the pastor and elders had missed for those ten years?
And that's just the Seventh Commandment. What about the First and Second and Third and Fourth and Fifth and Sixth and Eighth and Ninth and Tenth?
Then there's this droning on and on about grace. Where's the sin? How can anyone know grace if they have never heard a sermon on a sin worse than elder brotherhood or narcisism?
Men, we must teach and pray for our children to hate their sin and to love their Savior. They can't have the second without the first. We must preach for conviction of sin if we are to see evangelism--true evangelism--restored to our churches.
If there are no tears of repentance and manly zeal in song visible in our worship services, the Word of God is gagged--likely by a soft man in the pulpit working for soft men on the session who think "life is hard and people just need to be encouraged." Why allow such a man to serve as your shepherd? The sheep are going over the cliffs in herds with no hope of Heaven and he's droning on about God's wonderful grace? The closest he gets to preaching total depravity and deadness in trespasses and sins is his mantra about how we're much worse than we could ever imagine but God's grace is much greater than we ever could dream?
You've got to be kidding me!
Unsheath the sword God gave you, dear brothers. It's helpful. Call on the Holy Spirit to use you to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment.
Jesus didn't blather on about grace. He said He came for sinners--not the righteous--and then He hung with them. The sinners, that is.
(TB, w/thanks to Chesterton)