Summary: Sin, at its core, is a worship problem.
Sin, at its core, is a worship problem
Sin is NOT:
• An information problem
• An emotional problem
• A psychological problem
• A political problem
• A lust problem
• A gossip problem
• A lying problem
• A substance problem or addiction problem
• A worry problem
In fact, sin is not a behavior problem in any form. It is, at its core a worship problem.
That is Paul’s clear message to us this morning as we continue our study of the Book of Romans. Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Romans 1 and follow along as I begin reading in verse 24 and continue through the end of the chapter.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
(Romans 1:24-32 ESV)
As I pointed out last week when we examined what Paul had to say about God’s wrath, it is absolutely critical that we make a proper diagnosis of who we truly are apart from the gospel of Jesus. It is only when a proper diagnosis is made that we can begin to apply the proper treatment.
That is especially true when it comes to our sin. Throughout history man has tried to apply many different solutions to the problem of his sin. And my guess is that all of us here have tried many of them in our own lives, only to find that they just don’t work, at least not in the long run. See if any of these potential solutions to sin sound familiar to you:
• Will-power. This is the idea that I can overcome my sin through my own self-discipline. I’ll just choose not to drink too much or eat too much or look at pornography or deal with whatever other sin I am struggling with. In some people with a strong will, this might work for a while, but it is never a lasting solution to sin.
• Denial. This is where I just deny that I have a sin problem. This can take several different forms. I can convince myself that what I am doing really isn’t a sin. Or I can make excuses for my sin or blame it on someone else.
• Accountability. Although accountability is often a very wise way to help us deal with our sin, by itself it is still not a solution because we can almost always find some to work around that accountability.
• Professional help. First, let me be clear that I am not saying that appropriate, Biblical based counseling can’t be helpful, especially if that counsel helps a person get to the root cause of his or her sin. But three recent studies point out the limitations of psychiatric services, in particular, to deal with our sin. Those studies found that as spending on mental health services increases, the suicide rate actually increases, not decreases as one would expect. And psychiatrists have some of the highest rates of suicide, alcoholism and substance abuse among all professions.
• Legislation. This is where we try to deal with sin through the political process. Let me be really clear here. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be active in the political process or that we shouldn’t vote for candidates that support Biblical standards. But what I am saying is that no law has ever prevented the sin that it attempts to address.
The list of ways we futilely attempt to address sin is obviously much longer, but I think these five give us a pretty good cross section of the solutions to our sin that just don’t work because they don’t address the root problem – that sin, at its core is a worship problem.