The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
The heart is never being more deceitful than when it downplays sin. False teaching is never more prevalent and dangerous as when it downplays sin. It is utterly false to think that a Christian can be forgiven of their sin and then rarely have to wrestle with sin. There is the urgent need for the recovery of an emphasis on biblical and reformed piety in the life of the church with a delighting in subjects such as holiness and godliness. Is holiness and godliness a pursuit in your church, your family and your life? It should be!
Satan also wants to deceive the church that "all is well" and to downplay the danger of sin. The Garden of Eden warns us as with a huge red road sign, as if to say "Beware, Sin Kills!".
Thomas Brooks writes in his excellent little book "Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices", that "sin is a plague, yea, the greatest and most infectious plague in the world" (page 31). In addition, he rightly warns "It is our wisest and our safest course to stand at the farthest distance from sin; not to go near the house of the harlot, but to fly from all appearance of evil (Proverbs 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
For ministers to fail to warn against sin is therefore to do Satan's job and to expose the church to darkness. Paul wrote to Timothy to "flee these things" in references to lusts and sins and instead to exhort him to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11). Sometimes, professing Christian university students in the UK, wrongly think that they can play with the world and go to nightclubs. Be warned O Christian; to play with the world is to "play with fire", and it is to lead people into the danger of sin. Never downplay the danger of sin!
True biblical and reformed churches will warn against sin. We must warn people in a loving and firm way, but we cannot be silent of the danger of sin. We must not be afraid, but instead we should courageously take up the whole armour of God and fight the good fight of faith (Ephesians 6).