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Missing the Mark: Sin

There is a popular analogy out there based on the belief that the word sin was an old archery term meaning to “miss the mark.” (A fact I have not been able to confirm) An analogy is often drawn against Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The point made is that we too have missed the mark and fallen short of perfection. The problem is that this implies we can just try harder. I could just pull another arrow from my quiver and send it down range. Maybe with enough practice I can get a bulls-eye. This message seems to miss the point. It is not a mere target we missed but that we have utterly failed in every point becoming the complete opposite of the “glory of God.” It better analogy would involve was standing with out back to the target firing off arrows in any old direction. The glory of God in Romans 3:23 speaks of is His righteousness; A righteousness illustrated in the commandments.

Making Sin Personal

This false comparison is common in many modern gospel presentations. It results in the hearing thinking lightly of sin. It diffuses sin as a general problem with all of mankind. While it is true on a high-level view that sin is a common issue; we do need to present the problem of sin in a personal way so the hearer sees his need for a personal savior. It is no wonder that a message that does not focus on the complete inability to hit the target leads to a natural response to try harder next time. Scripture gives us clear warnings as to the severity of sin: “The soul that sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) Just as Nathan the prophet did for King David in 2 Samuel 12; we must present the law of God in a personal way to the hearer. Only then will they respond as David, “I have sinned against the LORD.”