Calling Sin “Sin”

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“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20)

Sin is a bad word. The Bible portrays the evil of sin in many dimensions. Sin is repugnant to God. “Those of a crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord” (Prov 11:20). Sin separates us from God. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened,Calling Sin "Sin" | that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isa 59:1-2). Sin merits punishment and death. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Our sin is the reason the Son of God was tortured and died on a cross. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Pet 2:24).

Despite the awfulness of sin, many want to call it by another name. To these, sin is a bad word—not because sin is so bad—but because it is taboo to say such things. Instead of calling it sin, with all of its judgment and Biblical baggage, “I made a mistake.” “I had some indiscretions.” “I had a few issues.” But calling sin by another name is nothing more than an attempt to tone down God’s warnings about sin. And when we tone down the evil of sin, we cease to understand it. Consider more examples.

Is there a more destructive sin than adultery? Families are torn apart, children grow up in broken homes, and lifelong pledges are cast aside for lusts’ sake. Yet it seems that no one commits adultery anymore. Instead they have “affairs” or they “cheat.” “Fornication” and “licentiousness” are as outdated as the typewriter. Similarly, homosexuality and its accompanying Biblical labels (sodomy, sexual immorality, ect) have been cast aside for a gay alternative lifestyle.

Examples are inexhaustible. “I didn’t gossip. I was just venting.” “I didn’t lie. I was just shading the truth.” “I’m not a glutton. I just have a big appetite.” “I don’t hate. I just don’t get along with some people I dislike.” “I’m not neglectful. I’m just busy.” “I’m not lustful. I’m just a man.” “I’m not unforgiving. I just have a strong sense of justice.” “I’m not stingy. I’m frugal.” “I’m not greedy. I’m a hard worker.” “I’m not materialistic. I just like nice things.”

Please call sin by its proper name. Never try to excuse your own sin or lessen its evil by relabeling it. Sin will kill your soul.