D. A. Carson addresses that very question in a chapter entitled “Sin’s Contemporary Significance” (free PDF).
He begins by distinguishing sin’s intrinsic and contemporary significance.
Here’s his argument:
1. Sin has intrinsic significance.
- Sin is tied to passages that disclose important things about God.
- Sin is tied to the work of Satan.
- Sin is depicted in many ways.
- Sin is enmeshed in theological constructions.
- Reflection on sin is necessary to understand suffering and evil.
2. Sin has contemporary significance.
- We live in a time of extraordinary violence and wickedness.
- Postmodernism is reluctant to identify evil.
- The new tolerance is now the supreme virtue.
(Carson’s essay is the first chapter in this outstanding book: Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, eds., Fallen: A Theology of Sin, Theology in Community [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013]. Justin Taylor recently interviewed most of the contributors.)
Sin could not be more relevant. So we at Bethlehem College & Seminary are strategically partnering with Desiring God for the Conference for Pastors on February 2–4: “Where Sin Increased: The Rebellion of Man and the Abundance of Grace.” See you there.