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Enjoying God Blog

Evidently not, at least so say more than half of professing Christians. If you have ever wondered if the church is drifting and has lost its way theologically, here is one more line of evidence that the answer to that question is a sad but resounding, Yes.

Not only has church attendance plummeted in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, but so too has the theological maturity of many who profess to know Jesus.

The results from The American Worldview Inventory 2023 are not encouraging. Some 2,000 people from across the country were surveyed under the supervision of George Barna. What he discovered is that between 2020 and 2023 the percentage of those who believe in the sinless life of Jesus dropped from 58% to 44%. Did you get that? More than half of professing (and I do emphasize the word “professing”) Christians believe that Jesus sinned at some point in his earthly life.

Of course, if that is true, we are all in a desperate condition. Only a sinless sacrifice, who himself needed no sacrifice to be offered on his own behalf, could atone for the sins of those for whom he died.

That Jesus did not sin in any way, shape, or fashion, be it in thought or deed, is repeatedly affirmed in the NT. Jesus himself invited the religious leaders of his day to identify any sin in his life, and they failed (see John 8:46). He is called “the Holy and Righteous One” in Acts 3:14. Paul says it as clearly as possible when he refers to Jesus as the one “who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Later in Hebrews Jesus is referred to as our “high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners” (Heb. 7:26).

“He committed no sin,” declares the Apostle Peter, “neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). The reason we are forgiven of our sins is because “Christ also suffered once for sins” (1 Peter 3:18), but not for his own. As Peter goes on to say, “the righteous [died] for the unrighteous.” And the Apostle John joins with Paul and Peter when he declares that “in him,” that is, in Christ Jesus, “there is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

So, what could possibly account for this appalling ignorance on the part of so many who claim to be Christians? The options are few. It may be that they are not Christians at all. They may be religious. Perhaps they occasionally attend church. But their profession of faith is no more than a verbal statement, devoid of an internal new life. Or it may be that they are simply untaught. Sadly, some of them likely attend churches where little is said from the pulpit about what Scripture teaches concerning the person of Jesus. Simple biblical ignorance is a likely explanation. Some no doubt are blinded by the devil, who would love nothing more than for people to think that Jesus transgressed the will of God, for if he did, his death was of no value to anyone.

There were other equally disappointing results from the survey conducted by Barna, all of which testify to the appalling ignorance of so many who claim the name of Christian. So, what is the solution? We simply must return to the regular, consistent, detailed, exposition and unpacking of the written Word of God. All such heretical notions, such as the affirmation that Jesus committed some sin or sins during his earthly sojourn, must be identified and denounced.

The only substitutionary death that can save and redeem is the one in which the substitute is himself pure, holy, righteous, and altogether free of any sin in any form. And that is Jesus. Only he who knew no sin could be made sin for us and thereby reconcile us to God.

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