Sanitizing sin

JP: Good read by Jay Adams: Relevant always but especially synchronizes with our study upcoming in Romans 1:18-32.

Sanitize: “to make more acceptable by removing unpleasant or undesired features”

Call It What You Like


It doesn’t matter a bit what you call it, the Bible is clear about what it calls it—and leaves no doubt. Sin is “sin.” You can’t cover sin from God’s eyes (or from the eyes of a biblically-astute counselor) no matter what terms you may use to describe it. Sin is “sin.” But what is sin? In the eyes of some it is transgressions against another human being. Is that sin? Yes, but not primarily so. Sin is first, and foremost an offence against a holy God Who will not allow you to mislabel it. When the Lord Jesus) gave us the parable of the Sought-and-Found son (Luke 15) He put into the mouth of the repentant prodigal these words: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and you.” There is the two-fold nature of sin. All sin against another human being is also a sin against God.

Again, what is sin? John says that sin is “lawlessness.” And that is precisely the nature of much sin today—believers who disregard the commandments of Christ (Mt 28:20) and do as they please. In effect sin is saying to Him, “Don’t You know that you’re standing in my way? Step aside! I want to go that direction.” You can’t tell God to get out of the way without sinning. But, in effect, as Proverbs constantly tells us, sin is taking the wrong path.

Jesus came to die for sin. That means it can be forgiven, erased, cleansed. You do no one a favor by calling sin genetic, a mistake, some sort of cultural more, or whatever. Jesus didn’t come to deal with those matters. But He did come to deal with sin.

So call it what you like—but no matter what you say, sin will always be sin. And your sanitizing language can’t change that!

John Piper on Sin:


  • The glory of God not honored
  • The holiness of God not reverenced
  • The greatness of God not admired
  • The power of God not praised
  • The truth of God not sought
  • The wisdom of God not esteemed
  • The beauty of God not treasured
  • The goodness of God not made sacred
  • The faithfulness of God not trusted
  • The commandments of God not obeyed
  • The justice of God not respected
  • The wrath of God not feared
  • The grace of God not cherished
  • The presence of God not prized
  • The person of God not loved
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