Hollow Man

Wages

Sin doesn't make people bad, it makes them dead. – Ps. Anon

Sin – perhaps the second most unpopular word in modern Christendom to only “hell”. Any discussion of sin, I believe, needs to be based on one of Jesus' key teachings. In fact, so key to His ethics that it was included in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also a teaching that Christians have, in my experience, most often failed to spectacular degrees.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:1-2

The banning of taking a judgemental attitude (remember that Pharisee dude in the Temple??) is key to any understanding of sin. Who are we to judge? Psalm 75:7 says it is God who judges. That is, we are not. What Jesus said to those ready to stone the woman caught in adultery (oddly, they let the fellow off the hook), equally applies to us. If we are without sin, then we may start chucking stones about. Who has never lied in their lives? Jesus' point is that only God knows the full story of someone's experience and choices. We cannot even begin to imagine the realities that someone else faces. And besides that, since when is making someone feel like crap about their sin fulfilling Jesus' other teaching of loving our neighbours as we love ourselves. Check out Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:8-10, if you figure you are without sin.

Recognising that I, myself, am a sinful person in many ways that might surprise some, let's launch into this.

Sin is defined as “the offence of breaking, or the breaking of, a religious or moral law” in the Cambridge Dictionary. Basically, sin is any action (mental or physical) or inaction that is contrary to the laws of God, and the teachings of Jesus Christ. For instance, if you look at that pretty woman or handsome man with bit of carnality (a mental action), you have committed adultery, according to the Lord Christ. Welcome to sin. And we all do it in some way.

The big question is what God's response to sin is. The responses of God have been two-fold. One is that He sent Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of the world (Rom 5:8 among many others). That is one Who is fully divine and fully human was nailed to a cross to break the veil between humanity and God. If God went to all the trouble of sending His own Son to hang on a cross for sin, then one can be sure that sin is not some little inconvenience on your way to eternal bliss.

Therefore, God does not turn a blind eye to it. If anyone tells you He does and that He accepts your sin, because Jesus inaugurated an age of grace that gives everyone freedom to indulge in whatever sin they like, they are lying to you. The Epistle to the Romans deals with this very issue (Rom 6:1-7).

There is a coming judgement before God. Jesus Himself will be the judge of both the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). God Himself will judge through Jesus Christ (Romans 2:14-16). Jesus Himself will come with a sword in judgement. Revelation 19:11-16 and Matthew 10:32-39 make it pretty clear that Jesus has a different side to Him that people sometimes prefer to forget. These are tough verses that people find difficult to reconcile with the popular analogy of “our Friend in Jesus” from an old song.

To quote the pastor who supplied the opening line to this post again, sin is not a game. It is not something that can be swept under the carpet and downplayed. We are all sinners, every single one. How we respond to that is of vital importance.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

Blessed are those for whom sin is not the end of the story.

Disclaimer – As ever, do not trust me or take me at my word. Get to the Bible yourself and read. Seek the thoughts and wisdom of Christians around you who you trust more than some malcontent with a blog.