Summary: What if our country decided to lower the standards of competition? Anyone who wanted to go to the Olympics and represent our country could go. What would the result be? What if this same idea of lowering standards was done in the church?
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
World class athletes train for 10 to 12 hrs a day preparing themselves for their competition. Only a few of these athletes ever make it to the Olympic games. Standards are set and if the athletes don’t reach those standards they aren’t allowed to compete.
What if our country decided to lower the standards of competition? Anyone who wanted to go to the Olympics and represent our country could go. What would the result be?
Would the true athletes train and act differently? No, but what incentive would, they have if anyone could represent our country in the most competitive of all arenas other than life. We also need to look at what would happen when other countries’ athletes showed up for the competition. The Olympic committee didn’t change the stringent standards and our chances of getting a gold would be slim to none.
What if this same idea of lowering standards was done in the church? Just think about people growing up thinking all they have to do to get into heaven is be good and moral. Just pray a prayer and you’re in like flint. What a rude awakening many will have on Judgement Day. God never changed his standard, Hebrews 12:14 is true: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” What if God’s standard and our failure to meet it is both greater than we think.
The church in many instances has lowered the standard of what it takes to be a Christian and in doing so made sin more acceptable. We’ve given it new names, but we’ve not gotten rid of it. People who claim to be Christians would never go to a movie theater, yet they watch HBO in the comfort of their living room. Pornography is considered an awful sin, yet some will read romance novels with the same images, only in black and white not in color!
1. Where Has Sin Gone? (vs. 12-13)
Sin has disappeared! In 1973 Dr. Karl Menninger wrote a book entitled Whatever Became of Sin? People today are asking that same question. Society has been lowering God’s standard of holiness. It has been said that there are to ways to meet a standard: live up to it, or lower it. The church has been lowering.
Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”
Whenever people lose sight of the holiness and perfection of God, they rid themselves of an absolute standard of right and wrong. No sin. “No one who does good.”
All you have to do is pick up any newspaper and read about someone like the man from Boston who was acquitted of flying drugs into the United States because he suffered from “action addiction syndrome.” An emotional imbalance that makes a man crave dangerous adventure!
The vanishing conscious is having people regret what they have done only after they are caught. There is no remorse or sorrow for the act just getting caught. We have counseled away all our sins. The American Psychiatric Association no longer identifies pedophilia, sexual desire in an adult for a child, as a psychiatric disorder.
2. What Happened To Holiness? (vs. 14-15)
Jeremiah is writing about the false prophets who provide Band-Aids over mortal wounds, and people eliminated guilt, so they don’t even blush.
Jeremiah 6:14-15 says; “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,’ says the Lord.”
Social analyst and U.S. Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, coined the phrase “defining deviancy down.” It means to take what is deviant and make it seem okay when compared to even worse extremes.
We compare our sins to the sins of our neighbors and friends. “Well so and so committed adultery; all I do is flirt!” or “I know I hate her, but at least I didn’t kill her!” You can see the problem can’t you? We compare ourselves to others but not to God. Compared to our friends and neighbors we aren’t so bad. Compared to God, look out.
2 Corinthians 10:12 says; “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves, they are not wise.”
Sin has disappeared from our vocabulary because we have found better ways to do it. We can do wrong but not as wrong as our neighbor. We must be careful not to watch others to judge where we are spiritual. To be wise we need to have our eyes on God!