Christians are rapidly walking away from the concept of sin. The word ‘sin’ is a vanishing word.
We are not taking sin seriously. The trend is to substitute more innocuous terms for it. Yes, we will admit personal fault lines and imperfections, but we don’t like to be labeled sinners. We like to blame our failures on genetic, social, psychological, political or religious structures for making us act the way we do. Yet, it takes courage to say, “I take personal responsibility for my sin,” or “I have sinned against a Holy God!”
We need to understand sin is highly destructive. It leads to separation from God, destroys our relationships, and spews out the stain of death to all it touches.
I have been pondering the Adam and Eve story of Genesis 3. This couple was tempted to rebel against God’s command not to touch or eat from the fruit of the Tree of Life. This Tree pulsated with the Life of God. To eat of the Tree would be rebellion against God and a blatant rejection of his love. For the life of me, I can’t figure why persons living in a perfect environment would allow a sliver of doubt, a discontent gnaw at their hearts until they violated all that was true and right in their lives. Yes! The serpent created and exploited their discontent by temptation and persuasion until they did the unthinkable. Yes! They knew eating from this one tree would bring death, but the serpent’s lies became so believable, they acted.
The moment they ate of the Tree of Life, a radical and frightening thing happened. Guilt wracked their consciences because they were suddenly sensitive to right and wrong. Shame drove them to cover their nakedness and hide from God.
The beauty of this story is that while the serpent “said” lies to them, God “called” out in love to them. Sin had left them stained, defensive, and rationalizing their behavior, but God’s love sought restoration. God calling to them in the Garden was a rescue attempt, but they missed the point! Instead of responding to God’s grace, they evaded their responsibility and placed blame for their failure. The issue is not who caused whom to sin, but that they sinned. Period.
The proper understanding of sin is critical to the Christian faith. The Apostle Paul grounded his writings in this one concept, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor 15:3). The cross is all about our sin. The resurrection is all about our movement out of sin.
As disciples of Jesus, there is no need to hide from or neglect to talk about “sin.” We are not trying to become morbid. We bring sin into the limelight, because sin brings the cross of Christ near. It is because of sin that the gospel is relevant.
The moment I admit my sin failure and cry out for divine help, I am positioned to be forgiven and transformed into a new person. For Christians, the old sin-nature still clings, but in Christ, we are shedding what is destructive for what is life-giving. Thank God, He is still calling to us who are marred by Adam’s weakness. The rescue of Christ Jesus is stronger and the healing of Jesus is better than our greatest weakness in sin.
Here is a thought to ponder … Did Adam and Eve ever realize the destructiveness of their sin? Have you grasped the gravity of your sin? Lump the sin of billions of sinful people, and we can understand why our world is a mess. Ask yourself, “What havoc have my sin contributions wrought?”; “Whom have I slayed with my tongue?”; “Whom have I caused to stumble?” Be a disciple who allows Christ Jesus to break the power of sin in your life.