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I am unsure if this is a “thing” or not in the church in the United States. It seems pretty harmless at first glance. What is this “thing”? The word “mistakes.” It is the word that caused me to snap to attention when I heard it being inserted into a message about the salvation of Jesus. Everybody makes mistakes, the speaker said, and that’s where the narrative took us. Yes. Everyone makes mistakes. Obvious truth. One to which we can all agree. However, there is great danger here. I just hope we don’t fall for this like we did with the word of faith movement, prosperity gospel, seeker-sensitive movement, and worldly leadership principles.

Pardon me for the rant. I strayed a bit from the topic at hand.

As stated, everyone makes mistakes. We all know this and are comfortable with it as truth. The problem here, however, is omitting the word “sin” and replacing it with the word “mistake.” A mistake is when you smack your thumb with a hammer. A mistake is when one submits a paper with a typographical error. A mistake is when one claims the Pittsburg Pirates won the 1927 World Series.

But there is no comparing sins and mistakes. A sin is when one has sex outside of marriage or with another person’s spouse. A sin is when a child disrespects his or her parents. A sin is when one commits murder or theft. A sin is when one kills or helps to kill a helpless infant. Sin of any kind brings death, death to a life of thriving while on earth and death eternally. The Lord has provided a glorious remedy. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).1 Our sinful condition is the primary reason Jesus came to earth and the Creator of the universe shed His own blood to cleanse us of our sin. “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).

To maintain that mistakes equal sinfulness is an affront to our loving Jesus. It degrades Him and His sacrifice.  

Please permit me to say that the sins I listed earlier are rampant in our nation. This may explain our reluctance to call them out during a church service. Who wants to offend anyone? That’s no way to bring people to Jesus, is it?

Well, Jesus is offensive.

“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense’” (1 Peter 2:7–8).

Sin is a reality. People feel guilty about it or should. We should, without angrily condemning people with unforgiving language, allow the Holy Spirit to convict people of sin when we share the good news about eternal life in Jesus. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus said,

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8–11).

Let us, the Church of the living God, speak the truth and watch as the Holy Spirit does His convicting work. Unless, of course, we just want to fill the seats of our churches and thus seek the glory of men because we want a large church. If that’s the case, we must face this truth:

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

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