Respectable Sins Bible Study
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7, KJV). Though many scholars today question whether the well-known account of the woman accused of adultery actually belongs in the Gospel of John, the expression has become a part of our wider culture, along with a similar one: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1, KJV).
This book, as the title announces, is about sin—not the obvious sins of our culture but the subtle sins of believers, the target audience of this book. So let me say up front that I am not without the sins addressed in this book. In fact, you will find that I sometimes use my own sad experiences as examples of some of these sins.
The motivation for this book stems from a growing conviction that those of us whom I call conservative evangelicals may have become so preoccupied with some of the major sins of society around us that we have lost sight of the need to deal with our own more “refined” or subtle sins.
While seeking to address these “respectable” sins, however, I also want this to be a book of hope. We are never to wallow hopelessly in our sins. Rather, we are to believe the gospel through which God has dealt with both the guilt of our sin and its dominion over us.
The gospel, though, is only for sinners, for those who recognize their need of it. Many Christians think of the gospel as only for unbelievers. Once we trust in Christ, so the thinking goes, we no longer need the gospel. But as I seek to bring out in this book, the gospel is a vital gift from God not only for our salvation but also to enable us to deal with the ongoing activity of sin in our lives. So we still need the gospel every day.
This book by no means covers all the possible subtle sins we face. A number of friends in Christian ministry looked over a lengthy list of sins I had compiled and helped me reduce it to a manageable list of the more common ones. To those friends I express my deepest thanks for their suggestions.
Three other people deserve special acknowledgment. Don Simpson, who is not only my editor but a close personal friend, has been very helpful. Dr. Bob Bevington, with whom I have just collaborated on another book, also read the manuscript and made helpful suggestions. Mrs. Jessie Newton transferred my handwritten manuscript to a computer composition so that it could be submitted to NavPress. This is the third manuscript Jessie has typed for me. Finally, there are an unknown number of people who have supported this project in prayer. Thanks to all of you for your part in this book.
And above all, to God be the glory both now and forever.
Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2017).