“Sin hurts people so don’t sin. Wouldn’t that definition of sin be good for society?”
In "The Roots of Endurance" by John Piper, he quotes William Wilberforce on this topic. Below are highlights from pages 121-122
“When considering the nature of sin, Wilberforce said, the vast bulk of Christians in England estimated the guilt of an action ‘not by the proportion in which, according to scripture, [actions] are offensive to God, but by that in which they are injurious to society.’ Now, on the face of it that sounds noble, loving, and practical. Sin hurts people so don’t sin. Wouldn’t that definition of sin be good for society?”
Wilberforce goes on to explain that this type of view shows a lack of reverence for God, and references Psalm 111:10 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”
Piper explains that “…without this wisdom, there will be no deep and lasting good done for man, spiritually or politically. Therefore, the supremacy of God’s glory in all things is what he [Wilberforce] calls ‘the grand governing maxim’ in all of life. The good of society may never be put ahead of this. This would dishonor God and, paradoxically, defeat the good of society. For the good of society, the good of society must not be the primary good.”
Please let me know what you think. It sure challenged me and gave me a lot to think about. If you’re interested in reading the whole book, it can be found in the Desiring God website’s online book section.