Posted by: Heather | December 21, 2008

More on Sin

Recently I posted a question about the nature of sin. Essentially I asked if God sees all sin as the same, or if there are varying degrees of sin in His eyes.

Still not sure what the answer is, but here is what I have learned as I have studied, pondered, and prayed about the topic.

The main passage used to support the view that God sees all sin the same is James chapter 2 where we are told that the same who said don’t commit murder also said don’t commit adultery. If you don’t murder, but you commit adultery, you are convicted of the whole law as a transgressor. In essence you have disobeyed the law giver, which makes you a law breaker. We also see in Romans that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and that the wages of sin is death.

On the other hand, I see in Romans 1 that God’s wrath is revealed toward those who suppress the truth (which means they have it to suppress) in unrighteousness, and later it says that while they know God, they do not honor Him and are not thankful. This results in their hearts being darkened and God gives them over to a foolish mind and perverted desires.

In addition, I notice that a brief reading of the Old Testament law indicates a variation of consequences and punishments for various sins, which would indicate to me that there must be a variation of severity in sins. Add to this the various reactions Jesus had to sin he encountered while on earth, and I would say there is a strong argument to be made that God has a “severity scale” in His view of sin.

As I pondered this, I realized that of all things that Jesus encountered here on earth, the one thing he reacted violently to was not slavery, adultery, or murder. It was the corruption he saw in the temple. These people who had been given the scripture and were supposed to be guardians of the trust God had given them were instead leveraging God’s trust for their own personal gain. The one place (God’s temple) where people were supposed to be able to come and meet with God had been turned into a place where you could expect to be lied to and cheated. They had distorted God’s reflection beyond recognition. (suppressing the truth – not honoring God – not thankful)

Here is what I realized about me. My view of sin had been centered on how it affects me. In my own carnal self I had a view of sin that had varying severity. For example, if I read about a burglary in the paper, my reaction is different than it would be if I came home to a burglarized home. What is the difference? One affected me, the other does not. It is that simple. Then I came to a “realization” that any sin separates me from God and destines me to hell (notice the central theme is still me). So I came to the conclusion that all sin is the same. Why? Because of how they all affect MY eternal state.

Now I am coming to the realization that IF there is a severity scale, it would not be based on how it affects me, it would be based on how it affects God. What does that mean? The heinous crimes I could be guilty of are based on how I reflect God. As a husband, I am to reflect Christ’s love for the church in my love for Heather. As a father, I am to be an example to my children of the kind of father God is. (He calls Himself my Father in Heaven)

My view of sin needs to be based on how it affects God, and how it reflects upon God. That is when Godly sorrow for my sin begins.

Then the sin in the Garden begins to snap into focus. The reason eating the fruit was such a bad thing, was that Adam and Eve decided to be the determiners of good and bad on their own rather than accepts God’s view as their own. (God said don’t eat, but Eve saw that the fruit looked good) This simple act of disobedience to God was the act of putting themselves in God’s place, as the determiners of good and evil. (I can’t take credit for this thought, Heather brought this up – she read it on a blog somewhere . . . )

So to bring it down to affect every day life, when I come home from work after a hard day and growl at Heather and the kids, what makes that sin severe is not how the family takes it. (If they were to realize Dad had a hard day and decide to be gracious, my sin is no smaller, if I act out more or less doesn’t change the severity) What makes it awful is that I am supposed to reflect Christ’s love for the church, and our Father’s care for his children. This makes my attitude a form of blasphemy.



P.S. Still pondering the “severity scale” thing. . . .


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