Why Do People Fight to Justify Sin?

FightPeople can usually have a polite discussion about differences of opinion on issues that are of a nonmoral nature (what color to paint the house, should the new highway be two lanes or four), but when the conversation turns to a topic that is of an inherently moral nature (right vs wrong, something that must be labeled as either “moral” or “immoral”), one party usually becomes inflamed and will go on the offensive attempting to justify their chosen conduct. The current attempts to justify, and even normalize, homosexual conduct is a prime example.

Why do people feel the need to justify their conduct? If they really believe that what they’re doing isn’t wrong, then why care what other people think? Well, they do it for the same reason that a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar makes up excuses to justify what they’re doing – a guilty conscience. The heart (inner-man, or spirit-man) knows that what they’re doing is wrong and is condemning them. However, their natural man (flesh, or outer man of body, mind, emotions) likes what they’re doing and is determined to do it anyway. The natural man tries to shout down the voice of the spirit so they don’t have to admit that what they’re doing is wrong, so they can even excuse, or justify, the acts in their own mind, and continue their conduct in a state of self-deception.

I’m listening to a series by Andrew Wommack on the book of Romans where I heard him make the following statement.

“People don’t need people to come tell them that what they’re doing is wrong. In their heart, they know it. And I’m gonna get some flack for this, but this is why you see some of the segments of our society that are into immorality and adultery and just shack’n up with people, or homosexual, or anything you want, this is why they fight so hard for acceptance, because their heart is condemning them. According to these verses, Romans 1:18-20, they know the wrath of God. They know that they’re wrong. They can try and tell you, ‘Oh no, I was born this way; no, there’s nothing wrong with this; everybody’s doin’ it.’ But in their heart, they know that they’re wrong… Everybody, at a heart level, knows that this ungodliness they’re doing is wrong.”

Of course, the important thing is not just to be able to say, “Ah ha, I knew those immoral people committing that particular sin were without excuse!” The important thing is to realize that we’re all missing the mark and are all without excuse, but that the good news (gospel) is that the power of God has been made available to save (redeem, deliver, preserve) us apart from doing the works of the law, by undeserved favor (grace) alone, if we will accept it by faith.

However, we cannot receive the forgiveness that is being freely offered by grace if we refuse to admit that our conduct is wrong and that we need to be forgiven. If I offered you access to a bank account with a million dollars in it so that you could go pay your traffic tickets, you would still have to admit that you have committed crimes and that you have fines to pay, or else the money will just sit in the bank while you sit in jail. That’s the reason that establishing the sinfulness of homosexual conduct, adultery, living together without marriage, etc, matters – not so that we can beat people over the head with it and make them feel bad, but so that we can establish right and wrong. The bottom line is that a person is either acknowledging the sinfulness of their sin and calling on Jesus to save them from it, or they are rejecting God, denying His just judgment and declining His offer to forgive and save them – that’s the paramount issue.

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