One thing that can be guaranteed to rally the troops together is to define an enemy. You can see it today in groups who define the enemy as those wicked Christians who won’t embrace anything an LGBTQI+ group proposes. Or, on the other side of things, the enemy are anyone who is at all sympathetic with homosexuals.
Once you define the enemy, you know who to oppose, and you can channel your opposition into a finely honed statement of what is wrong with the other group.
In this context, we should note an odd thing happening in Christian circles. Our enemy has been defined as particular people, or particular political or social positions, instead of sin. When many Christians define sin, they make it very specific and leave out the context.
I’m not referring to the contemporary context, and what people think today.
I’m referring to the context of the whole human race.
That every single person on earth, every human being, is corrupted by sin.
More than that, there is no area of our lives that is not corrupted in some way by sin.
This doesn’t mean that every area of our lives is completely evil all the time. It means that there is no part of who we are that is not effected (negatively) by sin. As such, every single area of our lives has something in it that needs repenting of, and changing, to conform to the way in which God intended us to be when we were created.
Which should make some statements on sin stand out as inadequate. Some only condemn a particular act or attitude, as if any other act or attitude which is its opposite is acceptable to God. But this is not the case. A heterosexual person is in as much need of repentance as a homosexual person in the area of their sexuality. In slightly different ways, perhaps, but still in need of sanctification. Because no-one is without sin in any area of our lives.
We should be presented with a picture of what God created us to be where we can all see something of God’s intention in our lives (as we are all created in the image of God), and where we can all see our own sinfulness revealed. And this should happen when we are presented with a picture of Jesus – the one human being who always, and in every way, was faithfully obedient to his Heavenly Father.
The thing that is missing from almost every statement on sin is the picture of Jesus which we need to have in order to see ourselves both as sinners in need of redemption, and sinners saved by the grace of God through Jesus.
This doesn’t mean that we see the Jesus we want whom we can use to justify whatever action we want to define as ‘not sinful’. It means we start from a position of expecting that we will need to be changed by the Spirit of God to become more like Jesus. We can’t start by assuming that we are acceptable as we are, or that there is another group which are by definition unacceptable but we are, broadly speaking, okay. We need the humility, insight and Godly wisdom to see the truth that every aspect of our lives is in dire need of redemption, and we should not take any part of it off the table.
Which sounds like the picture of us that is painted in Romans 3.
Our enemy is sin, and the cure is Jesus. Not anyone or anything else. We need to remember this.