Honesty is something that I try for in my life. I don't know about you, but I hate being lied to. I'll take the ugly truth over a comforting lie 98 percent of the time. If the ugly truth is something I should change, not telling me isn't going to help. I see things in black in white in that regard.
I see something as either true or false. I believe in an absolute in that regard.
I was at a bible study the other day and I got into a discussion with a guy and the topic trailed into the subject of sin ( imagine that at a bible study). The discussion got a little spirited. to the point where It was two notches below arguing, and that was the last place I wanted to be.
The point of contention was the absoluteness of sin. I believe that something is either a sin, or it is not. The person I was discussing the subject with stated that he believed that sin is relative to the individual. Now I fully admit that I may not have been fully understanding the gentleman, as he would speak, and as I tried, I would get three words in before he would reject my opinion without allowing me to clarify the complexity of my point, interjecting with more emphasis on his belief.
Don't get me wrong, though I barely know this guy I can very much see the love and generosity of God flowing through him, but I strongly disagreed with him on that point ( if that was his point, I really might not have understood)
I was talking with another guy about that encounter and I was asking him to relay a message of my respect and love for the individual to him, so he knew that even though we disagree, I value our new friendship. I explained the situation and the points I am about to make, and as I did I wondered if I perhaps, My communication was failing. He asked what does it matter if sin is subjective?
I was about to fully explain my point on why I think it does matter when the guy said its all irrelevant, and then was distracted by another guy in the church. I didn't press the matter any further because I could kinda tell that he didn't really want to talk about it, and I am learning when to speak and when not to ( a post that is coming soon enough on its own)
How do we define sin?
How is sin defined?
I wrote the first question and realized that the second is more important. If you look closely you will see that they are not the same question. One is about what I think something is, and the other is what is the truth regardless of my perceptions.
The first question is How do we define sin?
My interpretation is simple. There is really only one sin. Just one. That is it.IT isn't 613, or 10 or even just 2.... There is really only one sin, by what I see. It is the same sin that was in the garden. It is the same sin we struggle together with today and yesterday and every day of our lives.
That sin, is disobedience to What God has said.
How is sin defined?
*Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness;
and sin is lawlessness. -1john 3:4
All unrighteousness is sin - 1john:5:17Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does
not do it, to him it is sin - James 4:17
and so on and so on.
Now, this may seem pointless. This may seem like it doesn't matter and I might be splitting hairs when it comes to definition. Yet, I feel the need to explore it with context so I can better grasp the truth.
Let's take drinking for an example. A lot of believers would say that drinking is a sin. They would read the passages on not being drunk and the cautions of over indulgence of wine or strong drink and state that it is a sin to drink.
But, there are passages in the bible that say that there is nothing wrong with drinking in of itself, and a few places where it recommends drinking. So, is drinking a sin or isn't it?
IF we were to say that it is a sin, then long story short, we are saying that the Messiah is a sinner because he admits that he drank ( luke 7:34)... and if we are saying that he is a sinner, then that means by definition that he isn't the messiah.
Now what about people in recovery? People who know the practice of drunkeness and God has told them that they shouldn't drink... Then doesn't that make drinking a sin?
I kinda still have to say no. It isn't the drinking that is the problem, the sin is the disobedience of what God has said. God tells you not to drink, don't drink. If you did, you would be defying what God has told you. The sin. The one sin.
Let's take a more ambiguous approach. Cheese cake. There is nothing in the bible either for or against cheesecake ( I don't think... I honestly haven't done the exploratory research on that one ... I have biblical support for cake, but cheesecake is really specific. Also it's more of a pie... what am I talking about, this is completely detracting from my point... Man I want some cheesecake.) So There isn't (for arguments sake) anything in the bible that says don't eat cheese cake. You going about your life eating away and then God tells you specifically not to do this.
Lets say you do it anyway. Was it the food in your face that is the sin? No. It was the defiance that came out of your heart, that defied what God says. That is the sin.
I think the Master backs me up on this.
**After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into
him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the
He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality,envy, slander,pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” -Mark 7
Why did he say those things were wrong?
Because God said not to do them.
That passage in Mark where he said this stuff... He was rebuking people. Why?
For rejecting what God had said.
the original temptation, and the original sin is this :
"...Did God really say...?"
SO you may still be asking what the point is. Who cares about the relativity of sin.
The answer is, we should.
Because we are sinners, we need a Savior.
IF sin was some relative thing that could be shrugged off by a simple definition change..
that kinda really nullifies the Sacrifice on the cross.
...because who among us wouldn't just stand up and say " yeah, none of that stuff I did, is a sin to me.So... that being said... I'm kinda perfect."
Truth is truth if we know it or not.
Thank GOD that he gives us grace as we learn it.
Thank God he gives us grace and gives us time to learn and grow, he gives us time to clean our hearts out so we can hear what he is saying. He gives us grace, and mercy, waiting for us to pick up his word and read what he has said.
* If sin is the transgression of the law of God, we may want to know what that is. Something to think about
** I deleted the part in parenthesis from that text that states "and thus Jesus declares all foods clean" because the reason that is in parenthesis is because that isn't scripture. It was added to the text. It can be misleading, because leaving it in there would look like Jesus was saying that everything is food, and that would be contradictory to what God said in Leviticus 11. So, all food is clean but not all things are food. that is a Whole other post though.