"No sin? Not yet"
April 3, 2008
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
Just a few days ago, USA Today asked, "Is sin dead?" The question wasn't being asked in a vacuum.
Pope Benedict XVI recently said the modern world "is losing the notion of sin."
He may be right. Popular religious spokesman Joel Osteen never mentions sin in his television sermons or his book Your Best Life Now. "I never thought about (using the word "sinners"), but I probably don't," Osteen told Larry King in an interview. "Most people already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church, I want to tell them that you can change."
Michael Horton, professor of theology at Westminster Seminary in California calls that kind of preaching "moral therapy." This new preaching encourages people to believe if they change their lifestyles they can get into God's good graces. These preachers indicate people can improve themselves so much God will be compelled to reward them here and now, and not someday in heaven.
Karsen Case, an ex-Missouri-Synod-Lutheran-turned-atheist summed it up when he said, "... the Bible has a lot of good stories. And I do connect with the story of Easter ... It tells me you are going to make mistakes, and you will get another chance to do right in the future."
This means if we can solve our problems and sins ourselves, we don't need Jesus. We don't need His birth, suffering, death, crucifixion, and resurrection.
It would seem our modern age would rewrite the Pharisee's prayer of Luke 18: "Lord, I thank You that I am not as other men are who do really bad mistakes. Me, I deserve happiness because I'm a pretty good guy who is doing fine on his own."
To this St. John replies, "If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." The beloved apostle wants the world to know God's Scripture-given truth that tells us when we have been given a faith to confess our sins and when we rely upon Christ, God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The hymn writer puts it into poetry: "We deserve but grief and shame, Yet His words, rich grace revealing, Pardon, peace, and life proclaim. Here their ills have perfect healing who with humble hearts believe-Jesus sinners doth receive."
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, I give thanks You have been merciful to me a sinner. In your Name I give thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries