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What is sin?

September 15, 2010

Last Wednesday, Church in the Word’s midweek services resumed after the August break, and Dennis started a class on Romans. In an “Oh snap” moment, Dennis actually guaranteed a revelation every week, and Week 1 did not disappoint. I’m not sure if my little revelation is the one Dennis intended, or if it was really what he was teaching, but it was related – at least – and it opened my eyes a little wider.

First, he defined “gospel.” That’s a whole other blog post, but he emphasized and re-emphasized that we’re “saved by grace through faith.” It’s all about grace, and you can’t do anything to earn or achieve it.

You can’t have this conversation for very long, though, without butting heads with the question of sin. Does that mean we might as well just go on in sin, doing whatever we feel like? Paul addresses it pretty quickly in his letter to the Roman Church, and in this discussion is where a little epiphany broke forth into my brain.

Here’s what we know:

  • In Christ, we’re free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8)
  • Whoever sins is a slave to sin. (John 8)
  • We are not saved by good works, but our salvation is evidenced through our good works. (James)

Here’s how we live:

  • We make excuses for “little” vices and addictions because we think they’re relatively insignificant, or because our addictions are really hard to break, and because we try – and fail – to give up our “little” sin every now and then.
  • We secretly envy the unredeemed and their ability to sin without any apparent conviction because it’s easier than holiness, because it’s fun, and because their Facebook profiles are cooler than ours.
  • We try, in our own strength, to give up certain behaviors or habits or thought patterns that we know are not godly, because we know that we should. We fail because deep down we don’t really want to be rid of them because they’re comfortable, or familiar, or pleasurable.

Inherent in all of our failed attempts at holiness and our secret longing for compromise, is the fact that we don’t believe what we know. We don’t believe what Jesus said about sin.

We believe sin. We believe our hearts when they tell us that this little compromise isn’t all that bad, that every once in a while we can indulge, that God understands how hard holiness really is, and that someday we’ll give up fun forever and be good Christians.

We see sin and compromise as pleasures that we are obligated to sacrifice instead of slave drivers. We think we’re in control of our compromise, but we’re not. Being born again and becoming a part of God’s kingdom isn’t about sacrificing fun so we can be holy, it’s about freedom from the lies that make death and destruction look sexy.

And we know that, but if we really believed it, we would party in our freedom. Every day that we got an opportunity to put down or walk away from an old addiction or bad habit would be a great day and we would come excited to tell our loved ones about it.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who used to have frustrated conversations with Holy Spirit about how difficult it is to live His life in this society. Maybe I’m the only one who saw old, unredeemed friends upload pictures from their weekend and felt a slight pang. Maybe I’m the only one who has ever rated sin and compromise according to my own comfort levels, but I doubt it

If you know what I’m talking about, I pray Holy Spirit would break this open in your soul like He did mine: It’s not about sacrifice – Jesus was the sacrifice – it’s about freedom. Your perspective is backwards.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffie permalink
    September 15, 2010 11:54 am

    it’s been a while since I’ve commented on ur blog, tho I read it as you post new things, and even longer since I’ve blogged, however I wanted to encourage you that ur introspective examinations are availing much and wish you would start writing articles, columns books … As I and surely man would read and gain wisdom, insight and comfort. This reached me

    • Lex permalink
      September 15, 2010 2:39 pm

      Thanks, Jeffie. I’m glad you could understand what I was hoping to say. :) And thanks for the encouragement. I’d love to write for an editor/publisher other than myself, but I don’t know if I’m quite there. :)

  2. bianca permalink
    September 16, 2010 7:31 am

    Darlin’, you’re there. There is nothing needed more than your candid, honest revelations. May God direct you to the path that will allow your encouragements and challenges to reach more in their relationship with Christ. (and, like, sooner than later).
    You are quite “there”.

  3. September 16, 2010 10:53 am

    (To steal a phrase from the 70’s) Wow, that’s heavy man. I couldn’t really think of anything else to describe it.

    I always say (especially to my non-Christian friends) God doesn’t grade on a curve and he doesn’t grade sin. It’s all sin and in his eyes it’s the same. Killing someone is the same as lying to a bill collector. It’s all sin. And it’s soooooooooooo easy to say, but so very hard to live.

    “Am I really as bad as Charles Manson?” No seriously, I gotta be better than him, right?

    So then if we know that humans cannot be perfect, because only God is perfect, what do we do about sin. Do we carry it like a weight around our necks? Do we give it to Him and repent, and then what happens when we do repeat that same sin? Do we keep repenting?

    Oi Very hard stuff to think about.


    • Lex permalink
      September 16, 2010 11:32 am

      Totally agree that sin is sin, and it’s a difficult concept to really consider.

      But I think that attitude that non-Christians have about holiness gets carried over too much into the lives of believers. That struggle with the idea of giving up all the little vices and worldly pleasures to live a godly life is an understandable burden on the non-Christian, but once we’re born again and alive in Christ we should start to see that it’s not a burden. Sin and compromise are issues that we have to constantly deal with because we don’t really believe that we were SLAVES and we are now FREE.

      I think if Christians believed that – and were taught that better, maybe – we wouldn’t have the weight around our necks, and we wouldn’t have to worry about repeating what we repented of. We would see sin for what it is and it wouldn’t be tempting anymore. No one looks at a dark, dirty prison cell and is tempted to lock himself in. No one learns about the horrors of human trafficking and struggles to keep herself from going to meet slave traders.

      We can talk about sin or we can talk about freedom. We can say, “Ya, I know it’s hard,” or we can say, “Let me show you what’s really going on. You’re being lied to.”

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