Sin … and then Grace

Following is an excerpt from an email I received from a Pastor. The overarching message about sexual abuse is clear but the underlying message about sin and grace needs to be repeated over and over again, especially in our day of healing sin lightly:


“Next month I’ll be attending a conference on sexual abuse, The Enemy Within. A growing problem in the church today–with disastrous consequences for multiple generations–the first step in bringing healing is recognizing the signs and determining you won’t ignore them. Certainly our culture’s commitment to sexual ‘freedom’ has increased opportunities for all of us to sin, whether inside or outside the church. More tragic is seeing how theological errors within the church contribute to the rise of such sin. For example, to de-emphasize the sinfulness of man and the consequences of the Fall is such an error. Believe me when I say that we pastors are tempted to do this. Sin is such a downer. The result though, is people who believe that sin and temptation come from ‘out there,’ not from within our own hearts. Thus, our school, our co-op, our church and especially our family must be made up of people who don’t have such temptations and consequently must be safe. In such an environment, sin cannot be confessed, so it goes underground where it festers and rots. The bad fruit that comes to light eventually is often twisted sexual sin blowing up ‘picture-perfect’ families and churches.

Thus, the Bible reminds us constantly of our sinful nature. In Romans 7:21 Paul describes it like this for Christians, ‘I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.’ Our flesh already desires to keep sin hidden in the dark. Our theology shouldn’t help us make believe it isn’t that serious.

If you only do one thing to prevent sexual abuse, reject theology that talks more of ‘grace’ than of the sin that necessitates it. If you do two things to fight sexual abuse, I suggest making the second one joining me in attendance at this conference on February 17-19.”

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