There is more than one way to offend the holy God.
As everyone expects, we can offend him by “being bad.”
What’s surprising is that we might even more greatly offend him by “being good.”
In C. S. Lewis’s words:
“If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and backbiting; the pleasures of power, of hatred….That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither” (Mere Christianity [New York: MacMillian, 1967], 94–95).
Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895–1960), was a renowned American Christian preacher and author. Once he mused about what a city might look like if Satan was in charge. His conclusion was a lot different than most might assume. He did not envision rampant violence; he did not envision deviant perversion; he did not envision Christians being thrown into prison or tortured. Rather, Barnhouse conjectured that if the Devil took over a city, the bars and pool halls would close, the streets and neighbourhoods would be cleaned up, children would say, ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘No, ma’am,’ and every Sunday men and women would flock to churches where Christ is not preached.
As our Lord Jesus told the “moral-majoritarian” Pharisees:
“I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him” (Matthew 21:31–32).