Once we begin to see clearly the nature and agenda of sin the following question arises: if all of this is true, why are contemporary men so negligent when it comes to putting sin to death? Why isn’t this sacred duty a priority item on the daily agenda of professing Christians? There are three reasons.
1 - Men Are Secular
Western Christians are more secular than they could ever realize. We live in a world that pictures sin either as a relic of a superstitious age, or as a form of especially intense pleasure (‘that chocolate was so good it was sinful’), or as a harmless nuisance. In my town there are a lot of raccoons in the area. These raccoons are pests; they get into people’s garbage cans and occasionally even find their way into an attic. However, I do not know of anyone in my town who has started a campaign to eliminate all raccoons. The problem is not big enough to demand so radical a solution. Modern thinking about sin often follows a similar pattern. Individual vices are a nuisance, not an evil. Anger or greed might cause discomfort, but they do not violate the core of reality, that is the holiness of God. Following this logic, a lot of Christians are tolerant of sin. So long as a sin is not ‘out of control’ – it is not rabid and endangering children – a faux pas can be overlooked.
2 - Men Forget There Are Two Ditches
A second reason men are negligent is that we live in a church culture that is paranoid regarding legalism. Legalism is treated as if it is the only peril that can beset a Christian. The truth, however, is that there are two ditches that flank the narrow road of discipleship. Yes, one is legalism, but the other is licentiousness (to use an old word). Unfortunately, men do not receive much teaching that would warn them of the second danger. Thus they happily veer left thinking that the only threat is to the right.
3 - Men Are Premature Satisfaction
A third reason is that men are prematurely satisfied with their spiritual growth. We do not live in an age that strives after lofty spiritual ideals. ‘Perfecting holiness in in the fear of God’ (II Cor. 7:1) is not on the bucketlist of most Christian men. Instead, we judge ourselves by our peers. If they are having affairs, we feel good if we contain our lust within the boundaries of the imagination. If they are workaholics, we don’t worry too much if our careers eliminate all solitude and prayer. If they are ignorant of all spiritual truth, we feel content if we read a few verses of the Bible each day. The sum result of this environment is that men seek stability when God has called them to sanctity. If our lives are not painfully disordered, we feel no imperative to deal with sin. If we are happy, we feel no need to be holy.