Are You Semi-Churched?
Kevin DeYoung has an excellent post the thoughts of which most pastors would echo. It's short and challenging. Please read and consider whether you are semi-churched.
Can I go a day without sin?
We had a good discussion in our men’s Bible study this morning. We’re reading Living The Cross-Centered Life by CJ Mahaney and we discussed chapters 4-5. Since Mahaney emphasizes our sinfulness, one person asked whether it’s possible to go a day without sinning. He said what many have thought, that at times you review your day and maybe can’t think of a specific sin you have committed. So are we as sinful as Mahaney and other pastors (this pastor) thinks we are?
Yes we are. Sin blinds us to itself, so it’s not surprising that we might think we’re less sinful than we are. And growth in Christian maturity means we will grow in being aware of our sinfulness. That’s what the church, the Holy Spirit, and the Word help us see more clearly.
However, I think the question of whether we can go a day without sin is not one the Bible seems concerned about. I can’t think of any passage that discusses whether Christians can go a day without sin. It doesn't seem to be a question that biblical authors considered. It has a fascination for us, but not for them.
More importantly, I wonder if the question misunderstands sin. It seems to assume that sin is just acts or behavior, not an orientation of the heart. Let me explain. There have been a few times in my life when my family has been gone for a few days and I’ve been alone around the house. Surprisingly, I commit no relational sins while I’m home on those days. No arguments, no hurtful sarcasm, no frustration with the kids leaving lights on, and no anger directed at my wife. Now, does that mean that for those few days I have become holier? Of course not. It’s just that circumstances haven’t squeezed my heart enough to expose the sin. When my family returns, I experience all the temptations that I experienced before they left. While they were gone, it’s possible I could have reached the end of the day and not had one relational sin to confess. But that has nothing to do with holiness.
One of the men in our Bible study suggested a monk living alone on a mountaintop as another example. He has no relational sins to confess either. If he’s fasting, he’s probably not worried about his next meal, nor is he complaining about a previous meal. He has no worries about finances either. So he could convince himself that he’s living a holier life. When he comes down off the mountaintop, he will be faced with the same temptations, and he will succumb to some of them again. Why? Because his circumstances are now exposing his indwelling sin in a way they didn’t before.
So it’s possible I might go sometime without being aware of my sin because sin blinds me to itself. Or it’s possible I might have pleasant circumstances that don’t expose my heart’s orientation. But neither of those are evidence that I am any less a sinner. Just because God has graciously given me pleasant circumstances that don't as readily expose my heart doesn't mean I'm not still dealing with indwelling sin. Growth in maturity means being skeptical of my heart when it tells me I’m not much of a sinner.
The Idolatry of Thrift
I came across this blog and really enjoyed it. I think sometimes that those of us that value thrift can be idolaters just like a materialist is. Read and see if your "wise stewardship" is actually self-reliance--something that doesn't please God.