The Diagnosis of Sin: How Society Created Its Own God

Bible Reading ~ Devotion courtesy of Chineka on Flickr.
Bible Reading ~ Devotion courtesy of Chineka on Flickr.
Today continues our series in Knowing God by J.I. Packer. To read more about our time reading together click here.
The grace of God and the judgment of God go hand in hand. To understand one concept, one must understand the other. To appreciate one aspect of God’s character, one must appreciate the other. It is no surprise though, that the cultural ideology on which we now live has taken away a right (and biblical) perspective on the grace of God and the judgment of God. It is an ideology that diagnoses everything as a disorder, including sin.
No longer are the offenses against God called sin, instead they are now the result of a misalignment of neurons in the brain . . . often caused by the way we were treated by other people over the course of a lifetime. Obviously that’s a slight exaggeration, and I don’t want to make light of the seriousness of some of the major disorders and issues that are manifested. What I want us to see though is the absurd lengths that society has gone in order to excuse sin.
Our identification of sin as a disorder has had three extremely devastating effects on the world in which we live:
  1. It Removes the Need for Personal Responsibility: By passing sin off as a disorder we have shifted blame for our sin away from ourselves and to anything else that we want.
  2. It Removes the Need for Personal Accountability: Since a person no longer needs to accept responsibility for his or her sin, there is no need for accountability. Why be held accountable for something that you aren’t responsible for?
  3. It Removes the Need for a Personal God: Perhaps the most serious aspect of all, this is the result of removing accountability and responsibility. When sin is a disease there is no need for God because there is no need for forgiveness. A person is not responsible for their sin, so there becomes no need to seek forgiveness for us.
Sin has been minimized while personal hedonism has been maximized. Until the seriousness of sin is recognized in our own hearts, we will have no grasp of God’s grace and no grasp of God’s judgment, two key aspects of our relationship with a personal and holy God.
Packer is correct. We have no grasp of grace, we have no grasp of judgment. In fact, many believe the judgment is incompatible with the nature of God. That’s because we live in a society that picks and chooses which aspects of God’s character we find as necessary. In other words, society has created a god as they want him to be and a created god is not God at all.
We must be cautious of this temptation. Instead, we must see how each of God’s attributes are bound up together as though they were one. In this we find love, hope comfort, joy, discipline, judgment, and growth. Because each of God’s attributes work together for our good and His glory.

One comment

  1. Excellent article. I agree with you – this idea of “sin as sickness” is increasingly prevalent in our culture, and you’ve pinpointed the tragic consequences. John MacArthur’s book “The Vanishing Conscience” addresses this problem in great detail, so you’re in good company on this issue. Thank you.

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