In a pastoral way, I feel sorry for Christians who sit under preaching that doesn’t clearly, consistently, and convictingly discuss sin (total depravity, radical corruption, etc.). If you think about it from a human perspective, I can understand why one might avoid the topic of sin, for it is hard to hear that our anger, lust, and pride offend the living God. However, if you think about it from a biblical perspective, there are tremendous benefits in knowing what the Bible teaches about sin and misery (including our own dark hearts). Here’s how puritan Ralph Venning stated it.
“…It cannot but be extremely useful to let men see what sin is: how prodigiously vile, how deadly mischievous, and therefore how monstrously ugly and odious a thing sin is.”
He then explained the benefits of knowing sin and its vile aspects:
1) It helps us better admire the free and rich grace of God.
2) It makes us flee – by faith – to our Lord Jesus Christ.
3) It vindicates the holy, just, and good law of God and his justice in condemning those who break his law.
4) It leads us to hate sin, repent from it, and take a holy, just, and good revenge on it and ourselves.
5) It helps us love and serve God better than we did before we understood the depth of depravity.
6) Seeing sin’s ugliness and darkness makes God’s incomparable and transcendent beauty of holiness stand out all the more.
Of course we shouldn’t take sinful pleasure in talking about sin, but avoiding the issue isn’t the biblical and Christian way. If we do avoid or downplay the doctrine of sin, we will not understand the other truths of Scripture: God’s holiness, the justice of his law, the amazing aspect of his grace, the work of Jesus, true repentance and faith, and growing in godliness (plus several more). In the words of the Heidelberg Catechism, before we truly know what it means to live and die in the comfort of the gospel, we must know how great our sin and misery are (cf. Q/A #2). In other words, if we don’t know the depths of our depravity, we won’t know the greatness of grace displayed on the cross. God, have mercy on me, a sinner! Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more!
For the above Venning quotes (which I slightly edited), see page 18 of The Sinfulness of Sin.