The Bible clearly tells us that all sin is an offense to God (Romans 8:8). But so often, Christians act as if some of the sins they commit are somehow either more acceptable to God today or that He understands our human weakness and lets them slide, so to speak. But that is far from the truth of God’s Word. God detests all sin. God is Holy and Just, and every sin we commit separates us from Him. Nothing is hidden from Him. Every sin must be punished! But God loves us so much, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to go to the cross so that He would be punished instead of us for our sins. So when Christians fail to recognize their own sinfulness, God is deeply offended, and Jesus’ death on the cross is trivialized.
In our American culture today, I believe that some Christians think some things they do are not sinful anymore and so they are not offensive to God. In some cases they may not even realize they are offending God. It may either be a result of their lack of Biblical knowledge or the influence of our secular culture. Whatever the reason, they are not repentant nor do they consider that God is offended by what they do. This could be a tragic mistake, because Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:21 that “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
So knowing and understanding what behavior is sinful is extremely important for Christians. The Bible tells us what is sinful, not the culture and not other people, even pastors. Christians must read their Bible to know what sin is and what offends God. Then we must repent and seek His forgiveness for our sinful behavior in order to be forgiven and reconciled to Him.
Here are 10 things that some Christians do today that culturally may be acceptable but I believe deeply offend God:
1. Fornication. Fornication is defined as sex between non-married individuals. Today, many young Christians live together, have sexual intercourse, and consider it to be normal behavior. They often have no shame nor believe they are offending God. The Bible clearly calls this sin. (Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”)
2. Homosexuality. Homosexuality is defined as sex between members of the same gender. Today, our culture is tolerant of homosexual behavior and some churches and denominations even endorse it. The Bible clearly calls this sin as well. (Leviticus 18:22 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”)
3. Abortion. Abortion is the termination of a life that has begun. It is murder. Today, many Christians are pro-choice and believe it is a woman’s right to chose an abortion. But God’s Word is very clear that we do not have the right to terminate a life. (Exodus 20:13 – “You shall not murder.”)
4. Pride. This is about being proud of ourselves and placing ourselves above God. God is our Creator and is offended whenever we take credit for what He has done. Some Christians today are eager to pat themselves on the back while rarely giving credit to God for the blessings in their lives. (Proverbs 8:13 – “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”)
5. Selfishness. This is about placing ourselves above others. Today, some Christians are more concerned about themselves than others. They focus more on their needs and what they desire but fail to consider the needs of those less fortunate. (Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”)
6. Retaliation. Some Christians believe it is okay to take an eye for an eye, and to retaliate against those who have hurt them. We sometimes see people taking justice into their own hands and justifying it, some of whom claim to be Christians. But Jesus clearly says that we are not to retaliate when others hurt us. (Matthew 5:39 – “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”)
7. Unforgiveness. Some Christians want others to forgive them but sometimes they refuse to forgive others. God’s Word often refers to this as having a “hardened heart.” Scripture clearly tells us that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:15 – “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”)
8. Divorce. Many Christians today believe that divorce is acceptable for any reason and a legitimate way to end a marriage. But God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and Jesus spoke against it, except in the case of infidelity. (Matthew 19:6 – “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”)
9. Idolatry. Idolatry takes many forms today, including career, family, fame or money. But these are all false gods and God is offended when Christians seek something else instead of Him. (Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”)
10. Bad Language. In America today profanity is commonly acceptable, even among Christians, whether in conversation, movies, on television, or in Facebook postings. But God is still offended when people take His name in vain, swear or use filthy language. (Colossians 3:8 – “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”)
These are just some of the ways Christians offend God knowingly or unknowingly, and this list is by no means comprehensive. We know according to Scripture that we are sinful by nature. But that is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not we recognize our sin and repent of it. 1 John 1:10 says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives.” So , if we do not recognize our behavior as sin we tell God He is wrong and that deeply offends Him.
So let us look to God’s Word for what behavior offends Him, repent of it, and seek His forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)