What is sin?

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Is perhaps, for me, now the most irrelevant question to debate.

We have The Law and the Old Covenant.  We have The Cross and the New Covenant.  We have this Book and that Book.  We have the Scales of This and by the Grace of That.  We have prayers of intercession and repentance.  We have The Garden and our unworthy impregnated genes ever since.  We had the ability to NOT sin taken from us (allegedly) … and if that isn’t enough – we make  the ability to Love (without condition) part of the sin package – so make the ability to Love (without condition) also beyond our wherewithal.

In fact – if I was to believe all the religious teachings I have been taught – I would think myself stripped and neutered of our Creator’s intended template and very much faulty-goods.

I used to think that.

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But then I got to thinking.

Why do we excuse ourselves … ?  Why is it that Love (without condition) is the remit only of God and not me … ?  Why must I wait until I die before I experience/become Love Without Condition … ?  And it’s all because of what I was taught.

So either I was unlucky and had a load of false teachers – or The Teaching I got has the seal of approval from God.

It can’t be both.

But more than that – I got to thinking that Sin is the fuel on which religions and faiths (of all creeds and colours) run …
* All require me to be indebted to a God.
* All require me to seek forgiveness (on a regular basis).
* All demand my obedience and sacrifice.
* All promise – in return – that I will live for ever.
* And all because of Sin.

Take away Sin and there is no reason for all the embedded/correct transactions and conditions.  But keep Sin embedded/accepted … and Love (without condition) becomes unattainable because of Sin.  Because “Love (without condition)” I was taught requires no Sin.  And as we are all “sinners” (I was taught) I cannot Love (without condition).  Catch-22 (or biblically correct).

Now call me unqualified in God, but the God I know hasn’t a bad bone in his vaporous body …

I haven’t been baptised … I don’t pray (in the taught way) a great deal … I am known to use the odd swear word or three … I am not perfect but neither am I imperfect BECAUSE of sin … I am “imperfect” because there are a load of different ways of seeing/doing the same stuff – a load of different conclusions/actions depending on who you ask.

So whatever I do (or don’t do) someone else would do it differently.  And when I am deemed to have been “wrong” or “bad” … ?  It’s a hop-skip-and-jump to “I have sinned”.  Because I always will.

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And then we are straight back to “what is sin?”

“When I was bad doing that – was it sin” … “When I was wrong to think that – is it sin … ?”  And then what level of involvement do I need from God … ?  One hundred Hail Mary’s or a spiritual slap on the wrist and don’t do it again?

And so I walk this earth confused AND convinced both at the same time.

Confused as to will I ever get out of this “sin-quicksand” I am taught that I am in – Convinced I never can get out because God says (allegedly) that I must live in this sin-quicksand my whole life.  Is it any wonder I consider myself incapable of Love (without condition)?  Is it any wonder that “I” cannot stop reaching for “my” selective proof-verses that prove(!) why “I” cannot Love (without condition) – and that “I” must sin?

It’s because God says – that’s why.

I am unqualified in God.  I have no pieces of paper from any earthly seminary or theological college.  I cannot speak Greek, Arabic or any other “biblical language”.  I don’t read the bible much, I don’t pray much, and I don’t go to church much.  I tick many boxes of a sinner of the Lost World – perhaps worse than that – perhaps a false teacher.

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But the God Soft Hands Jesus I know never sees me that way.  Never judges me that way.

GSHJ seems content to walk my wayward walk.  To be with me on Sundays when we both should be in church.  To talk with me about the bible without ever opening a page.  To celebrate the good in me and comfort the bad I can and am from time to time.  God Soft Hands Jesus has all the time in the world for Love without condition.

But has little or none for sin.

Isn’t that The Way?  Isn’t that being a disciple? 

Isn’t that what he spent three years teaching and living?  Isn’t that why he took the established “church” to task so often?  Didn’t he find being “biblically correct” something incorrect?  Didn’t he question “privileges of service”?  Didn’t he focus on Love (without condition) with ne’er a “how many times have your prayed” …read the bible … attended church … volunteered for this that and also the other … how much have you tithed … are you dressed appropriately … are you a man (you are welcome) or a woman (cant lead I’m afraid) … ?

We see Pharisees only in the bible.  We see The Law only in others.  We think we are correct in our bible understanding.  We buy-into being a mature or immature Christian.  We love our Christian celebs and writers.  We praise ourselves for our ecumenical broad-mindedness.  We think the pews in church should be full to overflowing.  We think our church better than their church.

Even when we read the bible we don’t “read the bible” it seems.

But we do worry about sin.

We don’t think we can ever escape it.  Nor do we think we can Love without condition.  Which means this wonderful planet will always be a sin-riddled-cess-pit to us.  All because we obsess over sin.

All because we need sin more than Love.

Thank you.

Paul

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15 thoughts on “What is sin?

  1. I believe sin is a condition of being separate from God, meaning, we are not truly seeking God (in the sin state) but are passing judgements (resentments), but also seeking to be gods in our own eyes. That’s what Adam and Eve did. The serpent lied, but they bought into the lie. Thinking they could be gods in their own eyes, have their own worlds (perhaps), create their own creatures (perhaps), and make their own happiness. As I understand, God created us, and our life, awareness, understanding all come from Him. All that we have is from Him. Our very life is because He gives us life. Anything we understand is because he’s given us the understanding. But we’re born into a condition of sin, due to Adam and Eve, but we can learn through life that this isn’t it. This isn’t the life. So, we start seeking, reading, pondering, and if we’re seeking in truth, we find. What we do with what we find remains to be seen for each person.

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    • Hi DW and thank you for such a thoughtful response.

      Having had a quick look at your blog and seen you are a teacher my thought is this. That we teach Genesis as an inescapable “fact” – as you accept in your comment. And so all that follows is also inescapable – the “being separate” by default rather than choice. Which means I begin my journey loaded with sin rather than love. And that is a burden not of my making, nor with a “cure” necessarily of my beliefs – but requires a belief (also inescapable) when Genesis is taught as “fact”.

      Except my understanding is that “that” is The Old Covenant – and that The New Covenant replaced the Old.. Sin was the old, Love is the new – hence my confusion with our continued preference for the Old (and the teaching of multiple definitions of Sin and their consequences).

      I wonder what the consequence if we taught Love rather than Sin.

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      • I don’t think I can quite put it that way. Yes, we are living under the new covenant. I believe, until one has truly accepted our Lord and Savior, we still live under sin. I believe we are saved through Jesus Christ.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you DW – for me the key word in all of this is “belief”. I have no idea if I am right or wrong in what I write. Other than Love seems to be a uniting word where religion is not. And this word “belief” …

          Unbelievers may believe believers to be nuts and believers may believe unbelievers to be lost. Yet we are all “believers”. Yet we choose to wrap that (invisible) difference in different “beliefs” in words like Christian-Atheist-sin-saved-lost-hell … and then create a massive defining belief structure which is defended-attacked.

          And I wonder more and more whether we are all defending-attacking our fear of our chosen belief structure being wrong rather than much else.

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  2. I think your answer, really, is rather simple:

    Matthew 22:37-39 (RSV) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Anything other than love is sin.

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    • And my thought is – “we” all roll that off off our tongues with ease. So why do we go chasing sin rather than love? Why is sin either everywhere as an all-encompassing disease to be purged each Sunday – or an ever-growing tick-list of “my bad” to be audited (and purged) each Sunday?

      I wonder the consequence if “we” taught “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” and dropped the rest – purged the rest. Perhaps “we” might lose control.

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      • I think it’s fear. We’re afraid to open ourselves up, to bare ourselves to the possibility of rejection, ridicule. People want to be part of the crowd, the majority, it takes a lot of effort to break with the norm. We stand with the bully out of fear that we will become a target, we look for reasons why the current target deserves the attacks.

        It’s also because love invades our personal space, and we are afraid of that. Hate does not require us to get close (metaphorically) to the other person. We can hate Hitler even decades later for what he was, but we just give a passing thought to Gandhi, “Oh, yeah, the peace guy.”, we aren’t automatically filled with love when we think of him.

        Love is tough, it requires opening up and letting the other in. Hate is easy, it is keeping the other person away. We just need to find one thing about the other person that we don’t like and hate can grow. To love we have to ignore that flaw, day in and day out. It is why two people so much in love marry, then divorce over something others think of a petty; it’s hard to ignore that “flaw” over and over again.

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