What is a Sinner?

A recent one of Ray Comfort's blogs questions the Gospel from a position of ethics.

I love the banner in place here, for it pictures the tension in the minds of many non-believers when they hear the word "sinner." For that matter, it probably demonstrates the minds of many professing Christians who struggle with the notion that they sin.

So much of Christian teaching today conceals the word "sin" as though it were a dirty word. No one wants to accuse a non-Christian of sinning -- we might offend -- and we can be certain they don't want to hear such condemnation.

Of course, Christians, themselves, want to be inspired and uplifted. Does anyone attend church to suffer humiliation at the hands of a fundamentalist in a pulpit? May it never be!

What is the connecting factor between non-Christian offense and Christian obfuscation? Human nature. We want to think better of ourselves so we can live with ourselves. Even when the voice of conscience is calling, we drown it out with the music of past merits, silencing our conscience. (Some may choose more drastic means, even looking to substance abuse to quiet any potential twinge of guilt.) We each do things in private we know others would find reprehensible, but then we somehow convince ourselves we have not done any great evil. Human nature, then, not only warns of potential wrong, but provides salve for a bruised sense of morality.

This kind of thinking is horizontal, however. It is a morality that is most often concerned with how one's behavior relates to others. Sure, it may take God into account every once in a while, but mainly in the context of community or personal consequence. Horizontal morality does not concern itself with vertical relations with God, which strikes at the very definition of sin.

Sin is not violating decent living. Sin is not simple mistakes one makes. Sin is faithless acts that manifests as lawless behavior - behavior that violates the statutes of God. Sin is the lack of a vertical relationship. Sin blinds, and turns our focus onto the horizontal. Sin will have its way with us, causing us to make our own standards of living, eventually violating them and lowering them. Sin will eventual kill.

That is the nature of the insidious beast the Bible warns about. That is the nature defining every person outside of Christ. That is the creature crouching at the door of the hearts of Christians.

Many atheists visit Ray Comfort's blog with the goal of proving they have a higher standard of morality than Christians. Sadly, a few may may have a higher standard than many in churches today. But none understand the concept of being a sinner in the eyes of a Holy God.

Being right in the eyes of God goes infinitely beyond human terms such as minding ones "P's" and "Q's," it is a daily faith in the saving grace of the living God. Being a sinner means being in need of Gospel -- of some Good News -- and then living by and trusting in that News every day.

If you are reading this and you suffer the guilt over the sin in your life, don't ignore or bribe it. Just as fear is a natural instinct to keep you safe from danger, and pain alerts you to problems, guilt is a warning of the conscience. Guilt can be a means to spiritual health as you turn to Jesus Christ to forgive your sins. He is the Good News, the provision God made for sin, the Gospel we must trust for salvation and life.

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