December 18, 2017

Should I sin more so I can love more?

Doug Wright

The perception among many Christian families is that their young people are too “sheltered.” Christian parents have the idea that if their young person is exposed to more sin, they will appreciate their salvation more. In fact, Christians often have the idea that unless they have “sinned big,” their salvation is not that spectacular.

This idea is seemingly reinforced while the Lord is talking to Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:36-50. A woman who is a “sinner” stood behind Jesus as he reclined at the table and washed his feet with tears and wiping them with her hair. Jesus used the situation to teach Simon that one who is forgiven more will love more. Jesus drew the lesson to a conclusion in v. 47 by saying “he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

The natural conclusion seems to be that those who have sinned a great deal will have a more extensive appreciation of the Savior than those who have lived a sheltered life. Perhaps, then, we should not only let our children live a more sinful lifestyle, but we should encourage them to sin more! Our hope would be that they eventually turn to the Lord and then have a higher level of love and appreciation for their salvation. They will, in turn, become vibrant Christians.

I trust your natural response to that proposition is negative. However, our experience confirms that some of the most vibrant Christians seem to be those rescued from the depths of depravity. Young people from Christian homes, schools, and churches do not seem to have the same capacity or level of love for the Savior. This has led to skepticism about setting standards of behavior, skepticism about Christian education, and even skepticism that parents should “force” their children to go to church. The answer to our dilemma lies in the same passage that initially seems to confirm our fear that if people do not sin a lot, they cannot love extensively.

Jesus illustrated his point to Simon with a story about two people indebted to a moneylender. The creditor graciously forgave both of them. To one he forgave fifty denarii (about a days wage) and the other five hundred denarii. Simon correctly answered that the one forgiven the larger debt will love more. At the end of the story, however, the sinful woman hears Jesus say “Your faith has saved you; go in peace,” but Simon is still “indebted.”

In Jesus’ illustration one must remember that both men were in debt, both men were unable to pay, and both men were forgiven. The real problem facing our moral young people is that they do not understand the extent of their debt. If Simon stands next to the sinful woman at the judgment, they will both end up separated from God for all eternity in hell. Whether it is one sin or one hundred sins, you are going to hell.

The problem from the pastoral side is that we have not helped “moral” people understand the extent of their debt. We have unintentionally exalted people who have been rescued from their sinful lifestyle. Their dramatic and thrilling testimony seems to dwarf the testimony of a young person who grew up in a Christian home and has never led an aggressively sinful lifestyle (47). That individual comes away saying to themselves, “I sure wish I had sinned more. Then I would have a gripping testimony.” How wrong they are! The eternal consequences of your sin are the same. God simply and graciously preserved you from some of the natural consequences of sin. Pastors and parents do not need to expose their young people to more sin. We need to do a better job of teaching a biblical view of sin. One sin sends you to hell. You were as lost as the most sinful of your counterparts, and you have been just as dramatically saved. Once you understand the extent of your debt, you will understand the magnitude of your forgiveness. When you understand that, you will have a deep and abiding love and appreciation for the Savior.

Doug Wright is pastor of Keystone Baptist Church, Berryville, VA.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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