We are embarking on a study of the life of Jesus and trying to answer the question: Was Jesus a Liberal? Let's begin our study with Jesus’ View of sin and forgiveness.
To the liberal mind, there are but few things that could be classified as “sin”, and what few there are will not really be punished by God because Jesus was so loving that He will someday simply sweep mankind’s sins under the rug. Herein lies the two-fold error of liberal theology: a redefinition of sin on the one hand, and a denial of judgment for sin on the other hand.
You hear this all the time. “Jesus is too loving to actually punish people for their sins”. That is the essence of religious liberalism. The love of Christ is preached but at the exclusion of the righteousness, or holiness, of Christ. Where is the emphasis on the holiness of God in our churches today, and in our culture? Truly God is a God of love. But His love was demonstrated by sending His Son to die for the sins of mankind. “God proved (demonstrated) His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). If you deny the reality of sin, you destroy the reason for the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus made it clear that He “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13).
Does anybody really sin anymore? People have bad habits, addictions, diseases, disorders, weaknesses, faults, shortcomings, character flaws, compulsions, and syndromes, but nobody actually “sins” anymore. If there is anything we can learn from the life of Christ it is this: He wasn’t afraid to call sin sin. Allow me to cite specific examples:
In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus said “there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents” (Lk. 15:7).
In the parable of the Pharisee and Publican (tax collector), Jesus explained that the one who was justified in the sight of God was not the self- righteous Pharisee, but rather the notorious, cheating tax collector who prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:13).
In order to prove the point that it is wrong to think that some men are “worse” sinners than others, Jesus said: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-3).
But the best illustration of all is found in John 8, the account of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The Pharisees brought her to Christ and challenged Him to agree that she should be stoned to death for her actions. Jesus responded: “he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone!” What an amazingly brilliant answer this was. Jesus is basically reminding them that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The sins of these Pharisees were just as grossly offensive to God as her sin of adultery. Then Jesus turned and said to the woman: “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Notice two important things about this account. First, Jesus truly came into the world to save sinners, and He offers forgiveness to all who admit and repent of their sins. Thankfully, there is forgiveness in Jesus. But Jesus does not sweep her sin under the rug, or suggest that she can continue to practice her sinful sexual lifestyle. “Go and sin no more.” Forgiveness comes to those who confess the reality of their sins, not those who try to excuse it by fancy re-definitions. The Bible says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (I John 1:9). No repentance—no forgiveness.
Liberal theology has done a masterful job convincing our current culture that no “lifestyle” should be thought of as sinful, or contrary to God’s holy commandments. According to Jesus and the teaching of the New Testament, while no lifestyle is any worse than any other, the fact remains that all have sinned, and everybody’s lifestyle falls short of God’s standard of perfect righteousness.
In order to show how this kind of liberal theology affects one’s political views, and has shaped the “politically correct” philosophies of our day, let me cite three simple examples:
• Pro-choice politicians refuse to call abortion what it is: the killing of innocent human life.
• Liberal left-wing leaders of our country hesitate to call the murderous ISIS group “radical Islamic terrorists”, for fear of offending the religion of Islam.
• Main stream news organizations are reluctant to report a murder that is committed by an illegal alien because it doesn’t fit their narrative of defending open borders and sanctuary cities. When a culture becomes so corrupt that killing is excused under the guise of personal “choice”, or tolerance of religious extremism, or pity for illegal immigrants, we have crossed the line of all rational and moral restraints. It is time we get back to the message of Jesus—that we are sinners, that sin is a serious offense to the holiness of God, and that we need a Savior.