Do You Need to Know You’re a Sinner?
Much of Christianity’s view of evangelism is to get the world to see how sinful it is. We feel you need to know you are a sinner before you can trust in a savior. But is this really God’s approach to us? Is this how Jesus related to people in the Gospels?
One problem of thinking you need to realize you are a sinner before you will come to Jesus is what happens when you are not sinning? Do you still need Jesus?
What is Sin?
What is sin, anyhow? I was taught to share Romans 3:23, “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then I would explain how sin is active disobedience and passive indifference – doing what you shouldn’t do and not doing what you should.
While I understand what was trying to be communicated, that is not what the verse says. Sin is falling short of the glory of God. Instead of trying to avoid sin, we should try to attain to the glory of God.
What is the Glory of God?
Webster defines glory as praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent and something that secures praise or renown (m-w.com, glory). Therefore the glory of God is the public praise of God, and the design of our lives is to live in such a way that people see His glory in us and want to give Him praise. Sin is not so much breaking some commandment; it is failing to live in such a way to bring God honor and praise.
Jesus Never Sinned
Jesus, on the other hand, never sinned. He is the radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3). Radiance is defined as the state of being sent out from something in rays or waves you cannot see (m-w.com, radiant). By being the exact representation of who God is, He fulfills the call of each man to have a life that brings God worship.
Why Have All Sinned?
Jesus did come to correct the sin problem. He needed to because man had chosen to bring sin into the world, which caused death, sickness, and evil to reign in the world. Man became more deprived because sin also separated him from God. There are none that seek God (Romans 3:11) apart from the work of God in their life (John 6:44).
When God originally made man, He said that he was very good (Genesis 1:31). Sin came afterwards and distorted the original plan. So while everyone does have a sin problem, there is still good in them. Jesus didn’t come to remove the evil and put in the good; He came to remove the evil so that the good could fully shine (Isaiah 60:1).
There is Still Good in Them
When we are called to love others, this is the part we are called to connect with. We are not loving who they could become if only they would came to Jesus; we are to love that part of them that God wants to shine forth that is already in them. When God created us, He placed a part of His glory in us. That part shines forth the goodness of God in a way that no one else can.
As you honor and love this part of people, even when they are not believers, you get to experience a part of God’s glory that you could have otherwise missed. That person also responds to your love in a way that draws them to live out of that part that God placed in them.
It’s Your Kindness
This is how Jesus treated people in the Gospels. He didn’t draw attention to sin unless it was hindering others from coming to God, as in the case of the Pharisees. God allows His kindness to draw people to repentance (Romans 2:4). He calls us all to become all we were created to be.
Let’s focus on the goodness in each person. If we have a hard time finding it, let’s ask God what it is. He wants to show us because that goodness was placed there for His glory. As we see it, focus on it, and call it out of others, we are releasing more of God’s glory in the world and sin has less of a foothold.
I’d Love to Hear From You
What about you? Have you seen this in your own life? Has someone called out the goodness in you? Have you seen other people respond to the goodness called out in them? Please share your stories in the comments.