Listening to some voices, you’d get the impression Jesus’ primary focus is on getting people to stop sinning. Listening to others, you’d think Jesus cares nothing about sin, that his main concern is making sure everyone feels included.
I think they’re both kind of right, and wrong.
Sin is important to Jesus, but this is misleading unless you understand why it’s important to him: Sin is important to Jesus because you are important to Jesus.
God created us for beauty, strength, freedom, love, community, light, life, flourishing, and so much more. Sin is sin because it does harm, because it destroys these.
Whether we can see it in the moment or not, sin leads us individually and collectively away from all that is good, whether that sin is pride, murder, greed, pornography, stealing, homosexual sex, gossip, sex outside of marriage, bitterness, divorce, lust, or unforgiveness.
Jesus didn’t come as the heavy-handed traffic cop looking for you to mess up. He doesn’t stand outside the strip club taking down license plate numbers or sit in the back pew noting who shows up late to church.
But he does come like a physician telling you the diagnosis is bad news. Why? Not because he loves to give bad news, but because he wants to see you healed. Not because he loves catching you in your sin, but because he wants to save you from it.
“You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:23, 24).
Ouch. Why would he say such things? Not to harm us, but to uncover the harm to us. And this is exactly why he’ll bring up your sin, why he won’t just shrug it off, why he’ll tell you to stop. Why he gives you his righteousness and his Spirit to empower you to leave sin behind.
What’s more, he let himself be burned in the fire we started, so we’d be able to get out safely. He let himself be consumed with the disease we contracted, so we could be healed. He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him (1 Corinthians 5:21).
Is your sin important to Jesus? You are important to Jesus.
Question: What makes people think of Jesus more as a “heavy-handed traffic cop” waiting for them to mess up than a good physician telling them the truth in order to save them?