Last week I shared an excerpt from Martin Luther on sin and repentance. Today I've compiled some more comments on sin, this time from 21 different theologians, authors, philosophers and politicians.
Some are contemporary; others are ancient. Some are from your culture; others are from the opposite side of the world. Some professed a Christian faith; others lived by a different religion. But each of these figures agree on one thing: there's something wrong with humanity.
The Bible teaches that sin is the problem, that each human being is born with a selfish heart. Sin causes us to desire ugly things, say hurtful things, and do wicked things. For the Christian, sin is a life-altering reality; even though we've been declared positionally righteous, we're still functionally infected.
Interact With The Comments
I would encourage you to interact with the comments below. Here are three actions you can take with each one:
- CONTEMPLATE your own heart. Ask yourself: where am I falling short of God's standard?
- CELEBRATE your growth in grace. Ask yourself: how have I grown in spiritual maturity?
- ANTICIPATE the return of Christ. Ask yourself: why will the new heavens and the new earth be better?
Underneath the first quote by Benjamin Franklin, I've included my own answers to get you on your way.
"Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but forbidden because it is hurtful."
- Benjamin Franklin, American inventor (1705-1790)
- Contemplate: Even after 40 years of teaching the Bible, I still say hurtful things to my wife, my children, and the people I work with. Lord, help me become a more loving and sensitive person!
- Celebrate: When I look back on my early days of ministry, I was so insensitive and harsh. By grace alone, I have grown to love people in the midst of their mess. Lord, help me to grow even more!
- Anticipate: When Jesus returns, every microbe of hurtful sin will be eradicated. I will never be hurt again, nor will I have the ability to hurt anyone else. Lord Jesus, come quickly!
"Marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness of sin."
- Laozi, Chinese philosopher (ca. 6th century BC)
"Why does no one confess his sins? Because he is yet in them. It is for a man who has awoke from sleep to tell his dreams."
- Seneca, Roman politician (4 BC – AD 65)
"Pleasure is the bait of sin."
- Plato, Greek philosopher (ca. 425 BC – 348 BC)
"A sin takes on new and real terror when there seems to be a chance that it is going to be found out."
- Mark Twain, American author (1835-1910)
"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it."
- Thomas Jefferson, American president (1743-1826)
"Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains."
- Thomas Fowell Buxton, English politician (1786-1845)
"To sin is a human business, to justify sins is a devilish business."
- Leo Tolstoy, Russian philosopher (1828-1910)
"If you have sinned, do not lie down without repentance; for the want of repentance after one has sinned makes the heart harder and harder."
- John Bunyan, English preacher (1628-1688)
"It is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses."
- Ignatius of Antioch, bishop of Antioch (ca. 1st century AD)
"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or the guilt of sin."
- C.S. Lewis, British author (1898-1963)
"In short, a man must be free from the sin he is, which makes him do the sin he does."
- George MacDonald, Scottish minister (1824-1905)
"The temptation of the age is to look good without being good."
- Brennan Manning, American priest (1934-2013)
"Repentance is but a denying of our will, and an opposition of our fantasies."
- Michel de Montaigne, French author (1533-1592)
"People don’t do what they believe in – they just do what’s most convenient and then they repent."
- Bob Dylan, American musician (1941-)
"All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation."
- W.H. Auden, English-American poet (1907-1973)
"Sin is never at a stay; if we do not retreat from it, we shall advance in it, and the farther we go, the more we have to come back."
- Isaac Barrow, English theologian (1630-1677)
"Out of timber so crooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can be built."
- Immanuel Kant, German philosopher (1724-1804)
"We are all too Christian to really enjoy sinning, and all too fond of sin to really enjoy Christianity."
- Peter Marshall, Scotitsh-American preacher (1902-1949)
"Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it."
- Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (1892-1971)
"Few love to hear the sins they love to act."
- William Shakespeare, English playwright (1564-1616)