A Lesson On Sin From 1929

Marty Comer | Pastor
Sand Ridge Baptist Church, Lexington, TN

*This article was originally published at Dr. Comer’s website A Living Faith and was used by permission.

In 1973 Karl Menninger wrote a book whose title pointed out a major problem in American life. It’s title was Whatever Became of Sin? To the modern way of thinking sin has become  an anachronism. It’s old-fashioned and out of date to think about, much less talk about, sin.

People today have maladies, psychoses, neuroses, afflictions, and maybe the odd quirk or two, but you better not call it sin. If you do, the thought police in modern America will say that you are the one who needs institutionalized.  Sin? It’s out of date, old fashioned, and to consider any behavior, attitude, or action sinful is just not acceptable to the dullards who promote themselves to be the wise men of today.

I have a copy of “The Adult Bible Class Quarterly” from 1929. In a lesson on sin the author bemoaned the fact that there were people in 1929 who would “explain all the evil deeds of men as merely the manifestations of perverted mentality. In the view of these men sin is a disease rather than a crime. They would send the murderer or rapist to the hospital rather than to the jail, to the insane asylum rather than to the penitentiary.”

This quote from 1929 shows that for the last century the church has had to battle a twisted view of sin that has pervaded America. Our adversary knows that if he can get people to redefine every attitude, act, and behavior so that it is not considered sin, then they will see no need for a Savior to liberate them from their sin. When I was a teenager my pastor used to say “you must first get people lost before they can be saved.” He was right. People must understand that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). They must acknowledge that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And until a person sees themselves as a sinner they will never see their need for a Savior.

The 1929 Sunday School writer declared that “the result of these erroneous ideas about sin is the weakening of the sense of moral responsibility” and if this sense continues long enough “civilization will collapse.” A society with no sense of moral responsibility is doomed to failure.

As Easter season approaches, I give thanks  that there is a remedy for sin.  As John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).