Solid Sin and Solid Forgiveness

Originally published October 2004.

Nearly every music artist with a Christian upbringing says something similar to this. "We do have a lot of faith in God, and I attribute everything we have to Him, but there's no way that either of us could do with going to church on a regular basis. We are not your typical Christians by any means at all, but I do try to do good by people. That's my religious effort." --Benji Madden of Good Charlotte (Blender, May 2003). Of course, Good Charlotte's (and others) lifestyle choices would make you wonder why they bothered to say that at all. The Stuffed Culture Collection is full of such quotes and the same sort of thing can be heard time and time again when talking to youth (and adults for that matter). Some may say that this is postmodern thinking with more and more believing that there is more than one way to God and as long as you are good, you will make it to heaven. Surely a good God would not send a good person to hell. But in actuality, these are not new postmodernistic thoughts at all. This kind of thinking has been bothering many many philosophers and writers (and me and I'm sure you) for many years.

Oswald Chambers said in My Utmost for His Highest (that's not a postmodern book by the way),

"What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavor, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give us in exchange for our sin? Real solid forgiveness. But we must relinquish all pretense of being anything, all claim of being worthy of God's consideration."


Have you ever tried witnessing to a good person? Tough, right? They are not in need of a Savior because they've got it taken care of themselves with their goodness. Their goodness covers up their real solid sin.

Or what about a person who doesn't even have a context of sin? Consider what Monica Lewinsky said about herself, "I was never a bad person. I made some mistakes, but I just needed to mature. I"m doing that." (Time, May 12, 2003) In her mind there was no real sin. There wasn't even a little sin. She is a good person who was just immature. In that line of thinking we should not have a sin problem at all when we are mature. But when will that day come for me?

Unbeknownst to all those covering up real sin with such excuses, being a good person is still carrying a lot of sin. Let me explain it this way. Say you were a good person. Say you were such a good person that you only sinned once a day--only one, probably small "slip up" every day. Sound reasonable? If that is so, then you will commit 365 sins a year. If you live to be 21, that is 7,665 sins. Say you really didn't start sinning until you were 6 years old, then that is still 5,475 sins to carry. And that is if you just sin once during a day. This doesn't count for those bad days you have. Doesn't someone who has at a minimum of 5,475 sins to be forgiven in need of a Savior? Can a good person with the minimum of 5,475 make it into heaven with those sins unforgiven?

And is someone mature at age 21? I don't think anyone will say that is so. So if the age of maturity is 40 and one didn't start sinning until age 6 and one had only one small "slip up" a day, that mature person who is not bad would then be carrying 12,410 sins. Of course, this is not counting those bad days.

I turned 41 this year. I can't say I've become mature enough to stop sinning. So maybe this age of maturity is older yet which means adding more sins to that 12,000 number. And so on the argument goes.

I believe one of the greatest assets of the Christian faith is forgiveness. Or breaking it down to sinner terms, a second chance. When one comes face to face with one's own real solid sin, that second chance is what one needs. When finding that second (or 81st) chance it is often memorable as it stirs deep into the soul of the Created to the Creator. That bridge has been crossed.

Those carrying around 5,475 sins (and more) will never experience that. If a good person understood the number, then maybe he/she would realize his/her need for a Savior.

Who doesn't want real solid forgiveness? Even a good person has got to eventually realize that he/she is in need of forgiveness. And there is nothing sweeter than experiencing real solid forgiveness? Those who have experienced it will testify to that again and again.