In conjunction with Tenth Presbyterian Church's 2010 Urban Ministry Conference, Sex in the City (3/5-7), the members of Tenth's pastoral staff and HarvestUSA will discuss issues of sex and sexuality in our culture. A list of the topics we will be discussing is available here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Level Playing Field, by Dr. Paul D. Tripp

One the most comforting things about the biblical diagnostic; sin and the Gospel cure; the cross of Jesus Christ, is that together they level the playing field.  We are all diagnosed with the very same spiritual disease and we are find hope in the very same cure.  Because of this, none of us can look at another as being more of a sinner than we are and none of can pride ourselves in having a cure that won’t work for another.  Permit me to explain.

All sin is sin.  Every act of sin is an expression of a deeper condition that makes all of us the same.  You see, we sin because we are sinners.  Sin is much more than a set of wrong things that we do.  No, sin in its fundamental form, is a condition of the heart.  We sin because at the causal core of our personhood we are sinners.  So, although the way our sin nature expresses it self in individual choices and actions is different from individual to individual, at the level of the causal condition, we are all the same; sinners.  You may sin differently than me, but you are not more of a sinner than me.  This is why the Apostle Paul employs the all-inclusive language of Romans 1; “None is righteous, no, not one,…All have turned aside…no one does good, not even one…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 1:11, 12, 23).

What all of us need to accept is that we all share the same dilemma and we all are completely dependent on the same cure.  All of us are morally unclean (iniquity), all of us willing step over God’s clear boundaries (transgression), all of us fall woefully short of God’s standards (sin), and all of us are completely dependent on the forgiving and transforming power of grace so that we might have right standing with God and the ability to live as he designed.  None of us can look at the other as being cursed with more depravity or blessed with more righteous.  No, altogether we stand as the same; sinners in desperate need of grace.

Perhaps it is because of the addictive nature of sexual sin, with its rush of compelling and temporary pleasure, coupled with its significant social and relational effects, that often sexual sin is thought of as being in another category of sin altogether.  Frank, who struggled with homosexual sin, came to counsel with me and in our first session together clearly communicated that he wished he was a “normal” sinner like everyone else.  He went on to say that then he would have the hope of forgiveness, power and deliverance that everyone else had.  I was so excited that I could give Frank the good news of the Gospel in a way that he had never heard it before, and in so doing, be used of God to lift the cloud of despair that had enveloped Frank for a decade. I took Frank to Romans 3:23, 24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption this is in Christ Jesus.  Frank was not a sinner of a different nature and did not have to look for hope out side of the cross of Jesus!

Perhaps there is no lie of the enemy that a person struggling with sexual sin is more susceptible to then these ugly words, “You and your sin are different, so what works for everyone else won’t work for you.”  The truth is that the Gospel declares that we are all alike; sinners and that we all rest in the same hope: grace.

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