Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What I Believe About Sin

Well, here it is. We knew we could not avoid sin forever, so now it is time to face the music. Sin is an important part (albeit a negative part) of Christianity.
  • Every human is born with Original Sin. Original Sin is the desire that each of us has to sin. We inherit this problem from Adam and Eve who blessed us with this gift. Our natural tendency is to be selfish, to take care of ourselves. And although self-preservation is not necessarily bad, the kernel of every sin ever committed is selfishness. We lie because we are ashamed of the truth, or we do not want to get caught. I cheat because I want more stuff. The Bible teaches that every person is a victim of Original Sin (Romans 3.10, 23). It is one thing that we all have in common.
  • Because our nature is to sin, we do sin. Without a strong commitment to avoid sin, some accountability from someone helping me out, and help from God I will continue to sin, often without remorse.
  • Sins of commission are the things that we are not supposed to do, but do anyway. In the Ten Commandments there are several “Thou shalt nots.” When we know that we are not to do something (kill, steal, covet…), and yet we do it, we are guilty of a sin of commission.
  • Sins of omission are those things that we should be doing, but do not. A simple way to think about this would be that when God wants me to do something and I fail to do it that is a sin of omission. Some examples include prayer, good deeds, church attendance, Bible reading.
  • All of our sins can be forgiven. The good news of the Bible, and all of the Christian faith, is that no matter what you or I have done, we can be forgiven by God. In fact, I believe that he wants to forgive us. The Bible teaches that God will forgive us no matter what (1 John 1.9).

Of course this is not all that can be said about sin. For example, I do not believe that God holds degrees of sin. One sin is not worse than another, at least in God’s eyes. The only unforgivable sin is dying before you have asked God to forgive your sins.

Some people have complained that I am too easy on sin. The message that I teach, preach and write about is all about love, grace and acceptance, the complaint goes. People do not realize the depth of their sin or the universality of their depravity. Let me conclude by saying that I emphasize the grace of God, because I believe that God emphasizes grace. The New Testament, especially the gospels, is all about reconciliation, forgiveness, new beginnings and grace. That is good news for all of us. I am excited about that.

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