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Tag Archives: sin
Do you think your doctrine of sin is tainting how you view the rest of scripture?
Following a medical illustration, if a doctor diagnoses a disease incorrectly, the cure he/she will prescribe will only correspond to the severity of that disease or possibly just the symptoms. The majority of theological positions held in churches or by individual Christians begin with Christ, and start their apologetic at the cross. These positions vary in degree significantly as to what exactly Christ accomplished.
What is usually overlooked or taken for granted, given its unpopular nature, is the doctrine of sin. Offering the victim of a car accident the options of counseling, a band aid, a tourniquet or resurrection (if dead) are vastly different options (the last option being against his ability to choose). It is the status of the victim that warrants which of the options is appropriate. Believing what Christ accomplished will greatly influence the teaching and preaching of any church and therefore the witness carried out by the congregation.
“The original sin in a man is like his beard, which, though shaved off today so that a man is very smooth around his mouth, yet grows again by tomorrow morning. As long as a man lives, such growth of the hair and the beard does not stop. But when the shovel beats the ground on his grave , it stops. Just so original sin remains in us and bestirs itself as long as we live, but we must resist it and always cut off its hair”.
“As often as we see thorns and thistles, as often as we see tares and other worthless weeds in our fields and gardens, we are reminded, as by unmistakable signs, of sin and the wrath of God. Not only in churches, then, do we hear that we are sinners. All our fields, nay, almost the whole of creation is full of preachers reminding us of our sin and the wrath of God which has been aroused through sin.”
“Original sin is in us at birth; yet it is hidden to all the world, and our powers, our reasoning and thinking do not reveal it, but rather obscure, defend, and excuse it.”
– Quotes of Martin Luther
When was the last time you and I stopped what we were doing, reflected on the past week (day, hour, minute) and just took some time to repent of our sins? Most of the Christian world holds that repentance and faith are equal and opposite sides of the same coin. A lot of focus is placed on the faith side, as trying to increase or strengthen our faith in Christ, with little attention to sin and turning from it. In some cases the only sorrow for our sins comes when we get caught. We do little to pursue holiness in this life, and so rather attempt to wing it (Romans 13:14, 1 Cor. 10:9). Many times we only expect to have things given to us to make things easier. We cannot bring ourselves to make the personal sacrifices that would avoid and/or counter our pet sins. There is plenty of time to pray to God, begging and pleading for more strength, patience, money, work and so forth but little to no time to stop and just confess that we have wronged and offended God so many times since we last prayed. This is not a prayer for salvation but a call to acknowledge that we are not the obedient children we should be or confess to be.
More than our tithe, service or crying, God requests that we be obedient (Isaiah 1;11-31). We should be alert to this and not seek to hide when we are not, but openly confess our sins, relying that we are forgiven ultimately in Christ. This is not a smug, “sorry.” As if that the words are all that’s required in some magical way. I’ve seen this in children over the years. Kids grow up knowing when they have displeased their parents, but eventually the apology becomes remote, reflex and cold. The “sorry” button has worn out and you can tell when it’s insincere and even insulting.
When you or I have offended someone we love and care dearly about, we seek to make serious amends to heal that relationship, starting with a sincere apology. We admit that we are at fault for bringing in some destructive or harmful “thing” into the relationship. Should it be any different when we have offended God? No. All sin is a personal offense to God and grieves Him. I fear we frequently just shrug this off as no big deal, unless it threatens our well-being in this life.
Now we do not lose our salvation or standing with God, but there is usually something in the form of chastening to come (Revelations 3:19). Now God is not like our earthly parents, but you can still feel the tension of when your child hurts you and, in almost the same breath, asks you for something. We want an apology first, and some form of punishment may be due to curb the sin that spawned the sin prior to giving out any gifts. I don’t think we really believe we are ever entitled to any forms of correction, being we see correction “dished out” so improperly in our day. We simply pull an Adam, redirecting the blame somewhere else, “it was the woman you gave me,” or society, music, movies or the media that caused me to offend you (Gen 3:12). Or there is the famous, “I was just kidding.” We are experts at redirection and excuses, but pitifully and horribly bad at making a simple confession of sin. It is no wonder Jesus included repentance in His teaching the disciples how to pray, “Forgive us our sins (trespasses, debts) as we are in the process of forgiving the sins of others (Matthew 6:12).”
If we were to confess our sins on a regular basis, in a more than reflex kind of way, I wonder what the world impact would look like in our lives. Maybe we would be more forgiving of others, knowing just how often we keep going to God confessing we have wronged him again. I wonder how freeing confession would make our prayer lives, when having confessed our sins; we’d now know properly what to pray for (James 5:16). Confession really puts our prayers into perspective, knowing that I might not really deserve something big, when I have not been obedient with what I have in a smaller form (James 4:3). Maybe we would even be more inclined to pray for others, and their sins, or protection from sins, such that the honor and glory of God would be preserved by His church, His children, and not the opposite (Romans 2:24).
Maybe then we could pray for rain and actually get it.