“Repent and be saved.” That message is preached week after week in the great majority of churches in the US. "We all sin and fall short of the glory of God” likewise is a popular Biblical quote.
I have attended many churches over the past several years. I’ve studied the liberalization (aka “apostatizing”) occurring in the largest wings of the major denominations. I am afraid that outside of conservative Christianity, there is little understanding of what “sin” and “repentance” mean. Why? Because the idea of “sin” is a foreign concept in today’s culture and in most of today’s churches. In several significant instances (homosexuality, abortion, and gay marriage come to mind) the mainstream is declaring there is no such thing as sin anymore. Any chosen lifestyle and behavior is just as good as another. So what then becomes of the purpose of repentance?
What happens when people finally hear these proclamations about “sin?” The words “irrelevant”, “archaic concept”, and "that doesn’t apply anymore” come to mind. Why? Because a major chunk of our culture does not believe moral absolutes exist anymore. Without moral absolutes there can be no sin. Without law, there can be no violations. We live in a culture where moral absolutes, God’s laws, are not understood or believed. The prevailing standard is what is true for you is not necessarily true for me and vice versa – an “if it works, it’s cool” mentality. “Expediency” is the word for that. Taken to expediency’s logical conclusion, if I need money, steal it, if I like my neighbor’s wife, entice her, if I dislike someone, kill him.
Preachers today need to back up a step or two and explain the reality of sin, unless they are literally just speaking to the choir. They need to discuss “the law of God” as a constant reality that is not confined to 2 or 3 thousand years ago but that still prevails today. They need to discuss why those laws are necessary and why they still apply today. They need to discuss the consequences of breaking those laws and that the reality that breaking them is “sin.” Everyone does this.
But these realities are lost on most in our nation and in our liberal churches.
The churches have been speaking to the choir way too long. I hope soon they begin to address the culture, define the problem, provide examples of culture’s deceptions, and boldly declare the truth of their ignorance of the reality of God’s laws, the objective moral absolutes that are as definite and as binding upon all our lives as gravity.