Ever since the fall, God has been active to reverse the effects of sin. He takes action to limit sin’s damage; he calls out a new nation, the Israelites, to mediate his teaching and his grace to others; he promises that one day he will send the promised Davidic king to overthrow sin and death and all their wretched effects. This is what Jesus does: he conquers death, inaugurates the kingdom of righteousness, and calls his followers to live out that righteousness now in prospect of the consummation still to come.
Is there anything wrong with this description of sin? According to D.A. Carson, plenty: It collapses human rebellion, God’s wrath, and assorted disasters into one construct, namely, the degradation of human life, while depersonalizing the wrath of God. It thus fails to wrestle with the fact that from the beginning, sin is an offense against God.
Yes, God takes sin personally. It is an active rebellion against Him. And sin occurs in the church as well because the church is filled with sinners, like me. Problem is, sometimes we try to hide the fact that it’s there.
Sin lives in a costume; that’s why it’s so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that make it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party. Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn’t present itself as evil, which is part of its draw. You’ll never understand sin’s sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers… We’re all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.
– Paul David Tripp, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy
Let’s not pretend or think that sin is not in the church because that’s the deceptiveness of sin itself. That’s why we battle to fight it every day. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matt 9:12). I am always sick with sin, so I always need to see the Doctor. Every day I need my dosage of forgiveness from God.