Christians are well known for being anti-sin. Being repulsed by sin is critical to the Christian faith. It’s because of sin entering the world that humankind has found itself in the predicament of being separated from God.
The good news is Jesus making a way for us to have victory over sin and to be redeeming us to the Father. We celebrate this. We cherish this. We dedicate our time, heart, and mind to serving the One who has made a way for our lives to be changed and saved.
And this is the way it ought to be. I truly believe many Christians desire this for their life. The event of moving from unbelief to belief is all consuming.
The life we once enjoyed is nothing in comparison to the life Jesus offers. We once viewed the way we lived our lives as acceptable, but once our eyes were opened we realized all of it is tainted by sin. We see the world for what it truly is and only find hope in the midst of it, because of God’s promises to restore all things. In our minds, we understand that everything has changed.
At the same time, in some ways, it seems as if nothing has. We’re still living in this world, and the fullness of God’s glory and salvation has not been poured out into our lives.
As we continue to live in the already but not yet, we struggle with applying our repulsion toward sin in our day-to-day lives. And though we don’t like to admit it, our view of sin is somewhat lighthearted. We often make passes for certain common sins in our hearts and lives.
I don’t believe we’re necessarily intentional about accepting certain sins and not others. Nevertheless, we might be ignorant to the damage it’s causing in our lives and communities.
The list of acceptable sins in the life of Christians will look different for each person, but here are 4 common sins that Christians tend to be oddly okay with. We must be aware of and repent of them.
1. Right theology without love
We are the people of the bible. There is no greater authority in our life than the very words of God. The bible is very straightforward regarding matters of salvation, and if you stray from these core truths then you can hardly be considered a Christian.
Then there are many other issues and topics we wish the bible were more straightforward on, such as church structure, the end of the world, use of technology, and many other matters that are uniquely pressing to the twentieth century.
The reality is many servants of Christ arrive at different conclusions to a great number of these topics. That doesn’t sit well with many of us, because we want to know what the right way to view everything is. So we work hard to determine what that is.
The trouble is when someone else doesn’t subscribe to our same (right) theological camp. There’s nothing wrong with holding to your theological convictions and living your life accordingly. But we have to be cautious about letting this lead to a sense of self-righteousness or superiority.
When we begin to see our stance on secondary issues of the faith as the only way, we run the risk of recklessly wielding our right theology swords at others. Our passion and zeal for right theology can’t come at the expense of love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
(1 Corinthians 13:1-2)
The bible itself speaks against having all the faith in the world and abandoning love. There’s no amount of biblical knowledge, spiritual gifts, or measure of faith that allows for us to lose love for others.
Abandoning love is a common sin we too often let sneak into our lives.
Far from rebuked, standing firm for “right” theology regardless of love is often celebrated in churches. We mask this common sin in a sense of spirituality, as we claim to never compromise on truth. The bible is very clear that truth and love must exist together. We can never have one without the other.Abandoning love is a common sin we too often let sneak into our lives. Click To Tweet
2. Slander & Gossip
That’s why reality shows and tabloids are so successful. They’re packed full of the latest drama. We actually find the tragedy and misfortune of others fascinating and entertaining. I wish it could be said that Christians are different. Certainly we should be. The bible isn’t unclear about this.
When Paul writes his second letter to the church of Corinth, he is distraught by the way he finds them. They’re not acting as people redeemed by the blood of Jesus. They are acting just like the people of the world.
“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.”
(2 Corinthians 12:20)
Gossip and slander have become so socially acceptable that we give them a pass in our own lives. This common sin flies under the radar as we take inventory of our own hearts. We make far too many excuses for the slander running across our lips. This particular sin is alive and well in the church. It’s one we rarely call out in one another’s lives because each of us is equally as guilty.
This must change. We must repent from this common sin that we too often allow to thrive in our families, communities, and workplaces.Our nation thrives on slander and gossip. Or, at the very least, it could be said that we certainly have an addiction to it. Click To Tweet
3. Disregard for Leadership
The last few years have shown us just how much our distrust of leadership has grown in our country. We question the intentions, motives, and just plain facts of every word and action from those placed in authority over us. We sound the battle cry of not being blind to what’s really happening around us, and that leads to a lack of submission.
Of course, we shouldn’t accept everything our leaders say or do uncritically. But our cynicism and distrust shouldn’t lead us to the common sin of disregard for leadership. I fear it happens far more than we’d like to admit. And it goes against what God has commanded us.
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
The world of the New Testament wasn’t always favorable to Christians, and this is still very true in other parts of the world. Yet the bible calls us to not make it difficult for those placed in authority over us to do their job.
Do not fret. They will be held accountable for the way they led those in their care. I think our suspicion of leaders treads into the territory of sin not when we disagree with them, but when we actively work against them in every way imaginable.
It can be a very thin line, especially in our country today. But we have to be cautious not to fall into this common sin. Ultimately, we must trust that, regardless of who’s in authority, God will care for us.
Certainly we can voice our opinions within the structures of the authority systems we are placed in, but we have to be aware of when that turns into sin. Simply put, a complete disregard for the leadership and authority placed in our lives is sin.Ultimately, we must trust that, regardless of who's in authority, God will care for us. Click To Tweet
4. Labeling Pride as Self Worth
It has become very trendy to build up your self worth. The idea of pulling yourself by your bootstraps has taken on a modern form. We now have mantras, classes, and even counseling sessions dedicated entirely to you believing in yourself.
Really what we’ve done is slapped a new label on the common sin of pride and made it socially acceptable.
It’s important not to confuse self worth with self respect. Being confident in the worth and value placed in you by the Creator is not the same thing as pride.
“Self worth” tells you that you are superior in certain aspects. It places an arrogance on the certain gifts you’ve been given. Being absorbed with your own achievements and endlessly promoting yourself is pride. Our society likes to call it self worth, but it’s still pride.
If we are to boast about anything it should be the work and victory of Jesus.
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
We have to be cautious about boasting about ourselves and building ourselves up so high that we admire ourselves more than Jesus. It’s a more common sin than we should be comfortable with. We must always keep in balance respect for ourselves and our dependence on Jesus for everything.
All these common sins are easy to fall into. They are celebrated in our world. But they shouldn’t be celebrated in our own hearts, lives, and churches.We have to be cautious about boasting about ourselves and building ourselves up so high that we admire ourselves more than Jesus. Click To Tweet
MORE RESOURCES TO CHECK OUT
If you enjoyed this article, these books might be useful resources to you.
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- Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin by Cornelius Plantinga
- The Gravity of Sin: Augustine, Luther and Barth on ‘homo incurvatus in se’ by Matt Jenson