We asked a thousand Americans which of the following best described them. It’s just different variations of I’m a sinner and I’m fine with that, I’m sinner and I work on being less of one, I’m a sinner and I depend on Jesus Christ to overcome that, I am not a sinner, sin does not exist, prefer not to say. What jumped out to you guys in this?
Just even two‑thirds of people having a recognition, saying, “I am a sinner,” that’s interesting to me. I don’t know what my frame of reference was for what I was expecting that to be, but I think that that’s just interesting that people have that conviction that, yeah, there’s something. There’s a difference between my ideal self.
Who’s “OK” with being a Sinner
We do find that very few people say that they’re fine with being a sinner, just five percent of Americans. We actually have more people saying that they’re not a sinner or that sin doesn’t even exist.
One of the groups that’s high on that are non‑religious people. A third of non‑religious people say that sin does not exist. Not only are they rejecting Christianity and other religions, they’re rejecting our framework and our vocabulary as we talk about that.
While Christians believe that that status of being a sinner applies to everyone as we read in Romans 3:23, we’ve got to understand that not everybody’s going to accept that label. Not everybody’s going to accept that terminology.
When it is Tough to Talk about Sin and Consequences
4 in 10 Americans agree that hell is an eternal place of judgment where God sends all people who do not personally trust in Christ. That statement would be Biblically correct, but only 4 in 10 Americans agree.
We have that divide there that when these Christian beliefs, these Biblical beliefs, start stepping into that territory of using the sin language, using language of punishment, that’s when Americans back off and go, “Whoa, wait a minute.”
Confession is Good for the Disciple
One of the things that we saw in our discipleship research that we’ve done for several years is the significance of confessing sin and admitting wrongdoing, how that impacts the rest of your spiritual [life] and the growth in other areas of discipleship. Logically that just makes sense because it requires a vulnerability and a recognition it’s not your own way. Regardless of what those sins are, doing that.
The other I noticed as I was looking back through that is that the questions that related to confessing sins also fell into that area of obeying God, denying self. Recognizing sin, addressing sin, it’s a part of that process of obedience. It’s not just fall into that I was hanging in there but then I failed. It’s important for our growth, and we’ve got to be engaging in that.
Also that the more you do that, your Bible engagement goes up. As you’re looking to that growth, just even looking back at those things, I was encouraged about…I wasn’t encouraged about my own sin, but I was encouraged in the hopefulness that sticking in there and being vulnerable to God and vulnerable in those admissions is healthy and good spiritually for us.
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