No Sin, No Gospel

ABCs_L30_Jesusdeathoncross Last year I wrote a post titled, “Grasping Sin in Order to Grasp the Gospel,” which included this quote from D. A. Carson:

There can be no agreement as to what salvation is unless there is agreement as to that from which salvation rescues us. The problem and the solution hang together: the one explicates the other. It is impossible to gain a deep grasp of what the cross achieves without plunging into a deep grasp of what sin is; conversely, to augment one’s understanding of the cross is to augment one’s understanding of sin.

To put the matter another way, sin establishes the plotline of the Bible…

In short, if we do not comprehend the massive role that sin plays in the Bible and therefore in biblically faithful Christianity, we shall misread the Bible. Positively, a sober and realistic grasp of sin is one of the things necessary to read the Bible in a percipient fashion; it is one of the required criteria for a responsible hermeneutic. (from Fallen: A Theology of Sin, copyright © 2013, as republished on

Question: Are we helping our children and students understand the massive role of sin in the plotline of the Bible? Interestingly enough, one of the questions we sometimes get at CDG relates to the prevalence of “sin talk” in our curriculum—especially in the younger grades. Is all this depressing talk of sin really necessary for these young children? Why not go right to the solution instead? Because, as Dr. Carson states, “It is impossible to gain a deep grasp of what the cross achieves without plunging into a deep grasp of what sin is.” That is why we believe children—even young children—need a biblically serious and sober view of sin. Hence this CDG distinction:

We believe that in order to fully embrace the Gospel, children must first come to an appropriate understanding of the true nature of sin and the offense that it is to God’s holiness. Sin is no trifling matter. It is not simply a matter of “mistakes” or disobeying rules. Its consequences go far beyond a broken friendship with God. Our curriculum takes our total depravity very seriously, as well as God’s righteous wrath and condemnation. Therefore, lessons dealing with sin and God’s judgment use texts, illustrations, and explanations that convey these truths in an appropriate tone and manner. Children are challenged to think deep and hard about their standing before God and Jesus’ call to repent and believe.

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