(Parepidemos) and I (Chalkbrd) were discussing the effect of sin
and why sin IS sin and he introduced me to the idea that sin
is sin not because of God but because of ourselves. The rules
that God gave us are in reality not rules to protect God from our
sin, but to protect us from ourselves and each other. My basic understanding
of sin had always been that it was something that we were not supposed
to do because it would hurt God in some way...how silly of me, right?
That’s a bit simplistic summary of my concept of sin, but in the
right vein. And I still see sin as something that hurts God, but
for an entirely different reason than I had once thought.
used to think that sin was a personal affront against God Himself,
that when I sinned it was something that He didn’t want me to
do just because He said so. But I see now that I was missing the
whole point of the Law. The Law was given to
us so that we would treat each other in a way that God knew we
wouldn’t do without some guidelines. He knew that if He
didn’t give us rules about what was right and wrong, we would
hurt ourselves and each other in so many ways. After all, how
could I ever hurt God? Nothing I can do can touch Him...except
in His heart. So sin cannot be something that hurts God, but instead
something that hurts us.
like a parent and a child. A parent will instruct the child
not to eat some candy. The child, desiring greatly to eat some
of the tasty treat, doesn’t understand why the rule has been imposed
and sees the rule as unfair and unnecessary, but the parent sees the rule as fair and necessary because the parent
can see the bigger picture. So the parent has defined eating
the candy as a sin, not because the child eating it will hurt
the parent, but because it will hurt the child, which in turn
will grieve the parent because he doesn’t want to see the child
this is what I believe sin really is. If we lie or steal
or cheat or commit adultery, we do not hurt God directly but only
because we hurt ourselves (and each other) and then His heart
aches to see us hurting. Knowing this about
sin, this raises the issue of what is really behind our sin.
The child, when tempted by the candy, fights in his heart whether
or not to trust the parent. If the child sufficiently trusts the
parent and trusts that the parent has the child’s best interests
at heart, the child will refuse to succumb to the temptation of
eating the candy. If the child does not have sufficient trust,
he will choose to eat the candy, despite the parent’s rule. Whether
the child knows he is going through a lack of trust or not, I
think this is the basic issue. Sometimes the child has learned
that to comply to the parent’s request will eliminate the possibility
of punishment, but still there is a basic, underlying trust issue
to carry the analogy to its spiritual counterpart, we as
God’s children must trust His decisions in making the rules. We
must trust that the rules He established were not laid down willy-nilly
but purposefully and with good intent.
We must trust that not only did God have a purpose for them, but
His intent is perfectly good. The rules are put down for our good
and He has our best in mind. If we can trust this, we can trust
Him. And if we trust Him, we will not disobey Him. Ah, but if
we were all able to do this, there would have been no reason for
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
this is where grace comes in. I have come across people
in the Yahoo chat rooms who would have me believe that God’s grace
is bounded by limitations, that we must say exactly the right
words to obtain it, or that it is something we can lose if we
sin. This attitude is very prevalent in the Christians I have
met in there and it worries me. To believe any of the above is
to have a total lack of understanding of the very idea of grace.
God’s grace is so complete that it meets us
where we are, in our sin and our debts and restores us to sonship
when we deserve to be servants.
witnessed a Christian counselor in the rooms declare to
a woman that if there was any sin whatsoever in her life, the
ministry she wanted to do would be null and void. I beg to differ
with this brother. If God had to wait until we were all 100% sin-free,
His workers would be very sparse; indeed, non-existent. After
all, the Bible says that there is none righteous except Jesus.
We all sin in many ways. And God, even more than us, is fully
aware of this. Although He wants us to strive for 100% sin-free,
the practicality of it is that we are going to fall short of this.
God’s grace, then, becomes the covering that
allows this failing to be corrected in His eyes.
back to a parent/child illustration. If a child does something
wrong, hurts himself and thereby grieves the parent, the parent
has one of two choices (with varying degrees of shading understood):
either disown the child or to restore the child to sonship. A
loving parent would not disown his child for something the child
did wrong. Once a correction was made, the parent would restore
the child to sonship. Now, did the child ever actually lose his
sonship with the parent? No. The child was
always a son, although he did not act as a son or act as the parent
a similar style, when we sin, God doesn’t revoke our sonship
temporarily until we repent and ask forgiveness. That would be
like adopting a child and then every time the child does something
wrong, taking him back to the adoption agency and turning him
back over to them temporarily! Sonship is for good. We
have been adopted into God’s family and that was a permanent thing.
Sin, while it may strain our relationship with God, does not remove
us from His family.
we are not quite ready to give a certain area of our lives
over to God’s control. We offer our whole heart to God -- except
for this area and this and this.... No one is 100% sold out to
God. And when we encounter an area that we are not 100% sold out
in, this is the area we will sin in. God knows this. But God is
also aware of how we will grow into this area, into giving this
area completely to Him, by growing in His grace. His
grace supports us until we are able to deal with that area on
you ever tried to glue a broken vase together? Usually
you have to glue one piece at a time and then make sure that they
are supported until the glue can set and the pieces become strong
enough to stand on their own. Or it’s as if you have a broken
bone, the cast is put there to aid the bone until it is strong
enough to function on its own again. This is what God’s grace
does for us. It holds our imperfections together
until we are able to function as a whole in that area and to give
it completely and wholly over to God.
the impact of this on our lives is immense! When this is
truly understood, it overwhelms us with gratefulness to our loving
God who has given us His grace so freely and who holds together
our shattered pieces, waiting patiently for them to mend in due
time, and gives us His grace to cover our self-destructive sin.
The more we see our sin, the more we see His
grace that covers it, elegantly, surely, decisively and forever.