Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What is Sin Really? Why We are All Hypocrites

I started this post years ago, and it caught my eye again. I am need of a post, and this one was almost done.

To listen to a traditional evangelical preach the Gospel, we are quickly aware of the following points.

- We are all sinners (Romans 3:23)
- We all need a personal Savior: Jesus to be exact. (John 14:6)
- The Bible is law and our guide to God's will. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Those particular points ask the following questions:
- What is sin, and who says so?
- What happens when we sin after we are "saved" and have a personal relationship with Jesus?
- Why does it seem OK for some to sin?

What Is Sin?
1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

Sin is breaking the Law, missing the mark set by God.

The word "sin" is a translation of the Greek word "hamartia" which means to miss the mark.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Religious tradition labels many things as sin which the Bible does not. People make up all kinds of rules based on what they think is right. But God is the judge and only God can decree what sin is.

Mark 7:9 And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!

God has not left us to wonder what sin is. The Bible reveals it to us. We don't have to guess, or make it up as we go.

Just because you do something someone else thinks is wrong does not mean it is a sin. So don't let people condemn you over things the Bible does not clearly say are wrong. God is the judge.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Another error is to think being tempted is a sin. Temptation itself is not sin. You cannot help being tempted. Even Jesus was tempted - but He never yielded.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin

A common mistake is believing that having a desire is a sin. It is not a sin to be tempted with a bad thought. It only becomes a sin when we embrace those thoughts as our own and decide to act on them.

James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

God is against sin because it is deadly. Sin brings forth death, not life and blessing. God loves people, so He is against everything that harms people.

All sin harms people. (Just because you don't see how a sin would harm anyone, does not mean you know more than God.)

But no human can be right with God by never sinning. We have all fallen short and need a Savior. It is only by God's grace and His forgiveness that we can be right with God.

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

We can be glad because Jesus came to save sinners, and He paid the price for the forgiveness of all sins by shedding His blood.

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

So what if we are saved, what about those sins?
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

It's a pretty good plan!

What do you think, is you faith in Jesus enough to receive His eternal grace and heavenly presence?

1 comment:

Rick Yushenko said...

What is sin? Sin is disobedience.

Disobedience to what? The moral authority.

And what, pray tell, is the “moral authority”? The moral authority is the prevailing set of ethics in a community, and the source thereof.

That doesn’t make sense. Communities always have a set of rules that include both explicit and implicit behaviors that are encouraged or forbidden. These behaviors are graded in seriousness, from trivial to beyond redemption. There is also an understanding of whom or what has created these rules and enforces them.

You sound like some sort of atheist liberal. The concept of sin as disobedience, from the trivial to the serious, against a set of implicit and explicit behavioral expectations that are community based are a universal part of the human experience. You have tribes in the darkest jungles of the world who will eat their neighbors in certain circumstances, but are forbidden to eat members of their own community.

And what does this have to do with God? An example, then. in the Book of Genesis, God gives explicit directives - name the animals, don’t eat from those trees. The original sin was disobeying the direct command not to eat from the trees. A little later on, God talks with Cain and cautions him to watch his behavior.
6: And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

This latter is an example of implicit behavior. God is neither ordering nor forbidding an act. Instead, God is reminding Cain that there are behavioral expectations.

So God just expected Cain not to kill his brother? Exactly. Here we have sin as disobedience to an unstated rule.

How do we know what these unstated rules are? Look at Matthew Chapter 7 for Jesus’s explanation of the expected implicit behaviors. These can be summed up into one line – Matthew 7:12, sometimes called the Golden Rule. Even in our cannibal communities, people are expected to treat each other with civility according to their individual closeness and position in the community.

So what are explicit rules? That gets trickier. In the Old Testament, God gives more directives, from the proper way to worship (told to Abraham) to the Ten Commandments. The Priests of the People of Israel create a long list of explicit rules (see Leviticus). The Hebrew people have continued to modify these rules – the Orthodox still follow these, while the Conservative and Reformed Jews do not.

And Christians? Paul changed everything. But that’s a topic for another day.

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