How much sin should we expect in the church? We have gauges for other elements of church life. We generally monitor attendance. We know how many people are in small groups. Somebody counts the offerings. And often we don't just measure what we're interested in—we set goals.
Anybody hear of a church that set a goal for a 5-percent sin reduction next year?
I don't mean to be glib about this. Sin is, somehow, at the root of all human misery. Sin is what keeps us from God and from life. It is in the face of every battered woman, the cry of every neglected child, the despair of every addict, the death of every victim of every war.
Pastors have historically understood their primary battle to be not the battle to build a big church, but the battle against the power of sin. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood … ." Christians have measured the seriousness of the battle by the suffering and bleeding of Calvary.
And sin doesn't seem to be going away, either ...1