If Sin is Missing the Mark...

1 Corinthians 1:17-24; 2:2


A very loose definition of sin that was commonly passed around in conservative religious circles years ago was this: — “Sin is missing the mark. It is like shooting an arrow at a target and missing.” Granted, that is a very loose and terribly inadequate definition of sin. Yet, as far as it goes, it is correct. The mark at which we should aim is perfect conformity to the revelation of God in Holy Scripture. To miss that mark is sin.


Using that standard, if sin is missing the mark, then most of what passes for Gospel preaching and writing in our day is sin, nothing but sin. It is the corrupting of God’s covenant by the very men who are responsible to declare it (Malachi 2:8)


Without question, all that is preached and written declaring salvation to be determined by the will, works, or worth of the sinner is sin. It certainly misses the mark of God’s Revelation that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation is by the purpose of God the Father, the purchase of God the Son and the power of God the Spirit. Any doctrine contrary to these plainly reveled facts is damning heresy and sin (Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:1-9; Galatians 1:6-8; 5:2, 4).


But Satan is a crafty foe. Even those who truly believe the Gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ may be caught in the devil’s snare. — If he cannot get a man to deny the Gospel, he will do everything in his power to get him sidetracked and wrapped up in lesser issues, by which he hopes to keep even faithful men from being useful to the souls of men.


How many sermons I have heard and read by men who know the Gospel that contained no Gospel! Sermons about issues, morality, politics, abortion, divorce, marriage, economics, all that men call “practical living,” sermons by which the preacher vainly hopes to inspire and motivate people to godliness, —— sermons without the Gospel are useless sermons, a waste of time and effort. In conception, in execution and in hearing, all such preaching is sin.


All the preaching and writing that is done in the name of God which fails to instruct people in the Gospel of Christ and fails to direct the heart of sinners to Christ in faith, worship, adoration, love, commitment and praise is sin. It misses the mark of God’s revealed will (1 Corinthians 1:17-24; 2:2). It is not the business of God’s servants to get citizens to vote conservatively, or to dictate dress codes for grown men and women, as if they were children in day school, or to persuade people of this or that ecclesiastical, or eschatological speculation. It is the business of Gospel preachers to preach the Gospel of Christ. As Moses lifted up the serpent on the pole, so we are to lift up Christ before men and say, “Look to Christ and live!” Anything less or more than this is missing the mark — sin.





Don Fortner



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