I think I have written on this before, either in my MySpace blog, or earlier in the year, but no matter, as we all need to revisit topics for consideration.
So with that, what is sin? It is ‘hamartia’ in the Greek. It means to ‘miss the mark.’ But, as Vine’s says, we in the NT frame have lost sight of this. Sin doesn’t have to be a very large and evil thing. It can be something as simple as not choosing the right food to eat.
I think this question gets asked quite a lot, and I think that there are a lot of people out there that have an opinion on the subject. Having said that, I think that a lot of people out there are misguided on what sin is. This lack of understanding of sin leads to people asking the question, “Am I really that bad of a person?” And this leads them further down the road to start comparing themselves to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and this continues to spiritual pride and self-righteousness. To a non-believer, it leads them to the point of saying, why do I need forgiveness and Christ?
This issue of sin and how good I am is one that needs to be re-visited on occasion, because we all get lifted up in the spirit of ‘judgementalism’ from time to time. We are all human and have that ‘fleshly’ side that still rises to the surface and gets us off track. This is what causes the apostle Paul to say the following…
Romans 7:23-25 (NASB)
23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
I’ve blogged and talked about this before, but it comes back to looking at scripture and teachings that keep us on track; running that race that Paul says he will finish. Doc Scott, my old pastor, called these lessons “Nitro Pills.” Like a heart attack victim needing those pills, when an attack is happening, that could potentially save his life, we need to re-examine basic teachings. Doc believed, and taught, that once a year it was a good idea to come back to these topics. He was up to about 9, I believe, when he passed away. He would preach on these fundamental building blocks of Christianity every year, no matter if he was in the middle of series or not. A good practice I think.
But, getting back to the issue at hand, sin needs to be defined and looked at. Paul, the great apostle to the gentiles, was plagued with the war he saw in his members. There was good in him, through the Holy Spirit and God’s gift of grace, all external. Then there was what he brought to the table, sin and works. That’s all that our flesh can muster. You can’t work yourself into heaven, but you can work yourself into hell. You can’t overcome your flesh, but that free gift of grace and the Holy Spirit can keep it in check. Remember Paul, in his writings, is always talking about being at war and finding himself knowing what he needs to do, but can’t because of his fleshly side. That fleshly side will continue to be at war with the spiritual until you either die or our Lord comes back. The best you can do is to fight it back into a submissive hold, like a wrestler trying to pin an opponent. So, as Paul is saying above, I serve God with my spirit, but the flesh is doing some sinning.
So we think we are good people…
I’ve got some news for you friend; the only ‘good’ man was hanged on a tree for us. The only ‘good’ man to walk this Earth was Jesus Christ. Others found favor in the eyes of God, such as Enoch, Noah, Mary, David, etc…, but none were perfect. David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was a murderer and an adulterer. He wasn’t perfect, and we wouldn’t define him as good in that state, but he changed and grew by the power of God. But there are people out in this world who will claim to be good, and say “well I have never ‘killed’ anyone or ‘slept around’ with women. I’m a good “Christian” person and would never…” Sorry dude or dudette, you have and chances are you will be guilty of this and other sins until you die. Take a look.
(I have included Strong’s numbers so you can look it up for yourself.)
Matthew 5:27-28 (NASB)
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks(991) at a woman with lust(1937) for her has already committed(3431) adultery with her in his heart.
- 991- blepo: primary verb, to look at (literally or figuratively) – behold, beware, lie, look (on, to), perceive, regard, see, sight, take heed.
- 1937- epithymeo: to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise):-covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).
- 3431- moicheuo: to commit adultery:- commit adultery
1 John 3:15 (NASB)
“Everyone whohates(3404) his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
- 3404 – miseo from primary misos: (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension to love less:- hate, hateful.
So guys and girls… ever looked on a woman or man with a little ‘longing’ in your heart? I’ll be the first to confess, I have. Ever gotten so mad you felt you could kill someone? Not even kill, but to just detest that person, to love them less… then you are guilty of murder. See, that’s what Paul came to the realization about, in my humble opinion. He saw that our fleshly bodies and our minds are so corrupt that only Jesus Christ can save us. We are not ‘good’.
That’s why you can’t make it in on your own merits. There are things that you do that you would never think of as sin, but God does. For instance, what are your eating habits? You like your McDonalds? What’s the best for you? Home grown or organic foods, right? So right here, your food choices, could be sin. Your body is the temple for the Holy Spirit, says so in the Bible. So how are you taking care of that temple? Exercise much?
“Now wait a cotton pickin’ minute! Are you saying that murder and adultery are as bad as what I choose to dine on all the time or if I take a walk.”
“YES I AM!”
Kind of makes you take a step back and look at Jesus Christ. He was tempted like we would be, but He never had those thoughts. He never once ‘looked on a woman with lust’ or ‘hated in His heart’. When he was upset with the money changers and cleaned out the temple… however He thought about them and the situation did not violate God’s laws. Amazing, if you ask me.
Getting back to our discussion, there are no hierarchies of sin. That’s something some church made up some time in the past, and something that we like to think in order to make ourselves feel better. A miss is as good as a mile. There are no big and little sins. So quit justifying your behavior to yourself. You think of the most heinous crime imaginable and it’s still on par with you munching on a Twinkie between meals. You don’t like it; you go take it up with God! So we can all get off of our moral high horses and quit sitting in judgment on people and their lifestyles.
So, we think we are good fruit inspectors?
My old pastor used to talk about how people thought it was their right to judge, or that they could judge fairly. He used to laugh and call them ‘fruit inspectors.’ They would come and judge you. Now, do we have to make judgement calls? YES. But if we are honest, and have been to church for a number of years, you know who I am talking about. The ones that think they can divine the ‘holy’ from the ‘unholy.’ Doc called them “Sister Sals.” Ray Stevens called her, “Sister Bertha – Better Than You.” If you have never heard that song by Ray Stevens; you need to. What am I thinking? Here it is… Thank God for YouTube!
AMEN! So can we get past the condemnation of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus already? Do I need to quote Abe Lincoln? A house divided against itself will not stand! He obtained that quote from this…
Mark 3:24 (NASB)
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
People, quit dividing our kingdom. If you want to know where real evil is coming from look to the heart. It’s not a surface comment, or even the way someone necessarily acts, that offends your sense of right or wrong; it’s what is against the word of God.
Matthew 15:1-20 (NASB)
Tradition and Commandment
1 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 “For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.’ 5 “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother. And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'” 10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
The Heart of Man
15 Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17 “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 “These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
As I stated above towards the top of this article, the adultery doesn’t have to physically happen, it comes out of the heart. That makes you guilty as if you had carried out the deed.
I’ll admit it again and agree that we sometimes do have to make judgment calls, but do you see how hard it is to simply make a blanket condemnation of someone? Let’s start looking at what comes out of people’s hearts and their mouths, not just their mouth. Christ said however you mete out judgment, you shall be judged in the same manner. BE CAREFUL SAINTS!
We tend to judge people by our own rules of what is right or wrong, or acceptable and unacceptable. God calls these things traditions. Those are the things that we are not supposed to use to judge people. If I kick a person out of the church for how they are dressed, am I following Jesus or the Code of Sister Sal who says that everyone must be dressed thus and so. If I condemn someone for drinking, am I doing that out of some personal code or life experience that I feel makes it wrong, or is it a Biblical tenant. And yes, folks, Jesus turned that water into wine, and not grape juice! So if we want to get into that, then let me know, as that’s another article for another time; or for a discussion in a forum.
My point here is that we do have to make judgment calls, but we have to do it for the right reasons, the right way and have to follow the Bible. We can’t judge arbitrarily and from our own personal biases. And remember, we are not judging whether that person is going to hell or not… that is not our prerogative. Again, we can’t see the heart, only God can.
But I say this, people can and will change. We are a ‘perfecting’ work and not ‘perfected’. I am a work in progress, so I am still going to mess up. We all, I included, need to remember that a Christian is covered by God’s grace whenever we slip up and stumble and fall. And I am not getting into this here, but I am not going to listen to the argument of ‘doesn’t that give a license to sin?’ No, as the Holy Spirit will keep you in check. And those that don’t believe that might as well be spitting on God himself, as that is His spirit. Let me say that if God isn’t powerful enough to minister to my spirit to tell me what is right or wrong and fix me, then I might as well go shopping for a new god. Because he promised to set up camp in me and temper my spirit. He will lead and guide you, but you have to submit to Him. He will fully let you go out, make a bad decision and fall on your face.
I believe this quote is applicable here, but you’ll have to ask my sister who first said it, “God is not a divine rapist.” He will not ‘force’ you to do something. That’s one reason why not everyone will be saved. He’s looking for those that have read and heard His words and will willingly submit to Him. That’s why Paul refers to himself as a prisoner and slave to Christ. It’s a voluntary servitude. But, getting back to topic, if you really want to know what makes God mad, as far as sins go, check out Proverbs. No I am not telling you the verse and chapter, you can wait for a few weeks for the answer, or I will say happy hunting. I plan on going through that topic verse by verse with Hebrew definitions and discus what is found there and what is not.
Guys and gals, we are all sinners saved by God’s miraculous gift of grace. He will not leave us nor forsake us.
Let’s all take time to remember that.
Grace and Peace to you.
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