“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
Have you noticed how our vocabulary is changing today? It used to be that you were placed in a cemetery at the end of your life. No more! It is a garden. It used to be that if you weren’t telling the truth, you were lying! But today, it is a misstatement. A generation ago, when you slept with someone else’s wife you were an adulterer; today you are liberated. And then, too, we used to call moral failure sin, but today we have replaced that term with phrases like “momentary lapses” or “bad choices.”
We refer to these terms as “doublespeak,” yet if your doctor used that kind of terminology in describing your illness, you would sue him and demand that his medical license be revoked. What’s happened, anyway?
Have we become so concerned that we might offend someone, that we refuse to tell the truth, but robe it in acceptable verbiage which softens the blows of hard, cold, reality?
If I know I have an illness and my doctor is honest enough to tell me what is going to happen to me unless I take my medicine, I’m far more apt to swallow the bad-tasting elixir he prescribes than if he sugar-coats his diagnosis and fools me into thinking everything is going to be O.K. if I do nothing.
God never softened the cold reality of man’s condition, something which can’t be said of some of today’s churches. Paul, as God’s spokesman, wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He prefaced those words, saying, “There is no one righteous, not even one…. There is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10,12). Pretty plain, right? Shirley MacLaine’s New Age Version puts it, “For all have experienced momentary lapses and have come up a tad shy of the Divine Entity’s absolute ideal, but hey, nobody’s perfect. So don’t worry. Be happy!” (As quoted by Christianity Today, July 14, 1989, P.39).
Before you say too much in rebuttal, ask yourself when you heard that word S-I-N mentioned in your home church. Can’t remember? I thought so.
At the heart of the word S-I-N lies the letter “i,” the personal pronoun which means I, me, or mine, and I’ve come to conclude that this is the very heart of the sin issue. “I want my way.” “I want my sexual satisfaction.” “Me first!” Isaiah described it saying, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Yet, Isaiah didn’t stop there. He pointed out the solution–the remedy–as he added, “And the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
God would have been cruel had He only pointed out our flaw, our true problem, but He was gracious and merciful in prescribing a remedy for our failure, our sin. Long ago God said through the prophet Isaiah, “’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).
Calling sin what it is makes it possible to find forgiveness, which is the final solution to your failure, your shortcoming and your stubborn refusal to do the will of God. It’s high time that we went back to telling it like it really is, for only then can we be assured there is a solution to our great problem.
There is a solution to the problem of sin, but living in shades of gray is a malady for which there is no forgiveness and no hope. Think about it.
Resource reading: Matthew 5:17-20.