Essentials in a Confusing World 1.02 Sin What So Original About iT?
Sin, What’s so Original About it?
In the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s the prevailing attitude was the humanity had reached the end of war and was no longer sinful or evil. Everything was hunky dory. An event happened that totally changed that attitude: WWI. The brutality of that war shocked modern Europe and America and we realized that man hadn’t yet attained that lofty notion. There is still something wrong.
When we talk about original sin, we are talking about what happened to the human race after the sin of Adam and Eve. Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism and most Protestants) believe that everyone since Adam was born a sinner. Even before we had a chance to do something ourselves we were sinners. That is the doctrine of original sin. The Eastern Orthodox Church says that we are NOT born sinners, but born into a sinful world with a weakened will and thus are prone to sin. My personal opinion is more in line with Eastern Orthodox.
Whether you believe that we are born sinners or inherit the guilt of sin, either way we all have admit that there is something wrong with the human race. And that something that is wrong with us is of our own making. Whether you view the story in Genesis 3 as a historical event just like it is written or as a parable, the meaning is the same. It is an issue of trust. Who am I going to trust? Am I going to trust a ‘talking snake’ or am I going to trust God? Am I going to trust myself, someone else, or am I going to trust God? That is the question that each of us have to answer.
Notice that their failure to trust, not only disrupted their relationship with God, but disrupted their relationship with each other. Not only did their sin lead to loss of God’s presence, it led to the battle to gain mastery over each other. When we break relationship with God, we break all relationships. (see verse 16).
Because sin is a relational and trust issue, there is no such thing as a sin where no one gets hurt. Notice the Ten Commandments for example. The first four deals with God relationships and the last six deal with our relations with other people. If I don’t have God as my God, and I go off after those things which are not God; then I am free to lie, to kill and to covet. If I profane God name, not merely by my words, then I am free to profane my name and the names of others. If I don’t honor a day of rest and Sabbath, then I free to make my employees work 80 hours a week in poor conditions and with no insurance. Sin then because not merely a personal issue but a systemic issue as well. When systems-governments, corporations, church hierarchies become sinful, and they do, then societies throw off all restraints and anything goes.
When we look around to find who is to blame for the problems we face, both individually and socially, we need only to look in the mirror. Our own failure to trust God, our own failure to restore relationships, our failure to say enough in how systems treat people contribute to the problems.
Sin starts out as a theological issue. When we decide that God is not needed any more, that we are sufficient for ourselves, then the door is opened and once that door is open, it cannot be closed by us. Sin is a power that we cannot deal with on our own. But thank God, God has a way of dealing with it. The cross is the power of God, Paul wrote, for salvation. The cross not only restores us to right relationship with it begins the process of dealing with our need to restore relationships across the spectrum of all humanity. Salvation not only heals our relationship with God, it heals all relationships.
Each day, each of us faces the issue of trust. Do we trust God, a talking snake, or that seductive voice in our head? Sin, there is nothing original about it; it has been a problem from the beginning. The answer is found only in the cross and resurrection.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2007. When we read Exodus 20:1-17, the Ten Commandments, we read verse 5 that seems to say that God punishes the children for the sin of the parents, up to 5 generations. God does not condemn the children for the sins of the parents, but children do suffer the consequences of their parent’s choices. Like ripples spreading across a lake, our actions have consequences for years to come. How have my actions affected not only my children, but the society in which I live? We create waves of difficulty or blessing according to our choices. What choices have we made?
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2008. People used to believe that sin was passed down from parent to child just as other physical traits were: blue eyes, black hair, etc. Sin is not passed down biologically, but the consequences of sin are in world and we all are affected. In Romans 5:21-21, Paul talks about how one man’s sin brought trouble to the world; and in that same passage, however, he says that one man’s righteousness (Jesus) brought grace to the world. We tend to focus on the sin part of those verses but the emphasis is on the grace. One man’s gift of grace has brought justification to many. The answer to sin is found in grace. How important is grace to you?
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2008. Flip Wilson made a fortune by saying, ‘The devil made me do it.’ We have believed him. Satan is portrayed in the Bible as the great tempter; and that he is. However, not every time we are tempted is it his fault. James 1:13-15 reminds us that we are tempters ourselves. We don’t need a lot of help in getting into trouble. We need help getting out of trouble. It is human nature to try and find someone else to blame. She made me do it! It was his idea! I think James is telling that we need to fess up and admit that we are the source of many of our own problems. Who did you blame for your last mistake?
THURDSAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2008. How do we overcome temptation and sin? 1 John 5:1-5 tells us that we are able to overcome because of faith (verse 4). We are able to overcome because we believe that Jesus is the son of God. The way out of temptation and trouble in found in the action of God. God sent the son, the son was obedient to the Father, the Son defeated evil in the cross and vindicated in his resurrection. We too are able to over come when we place our faith in the Son who won victory for us. Our faith in the work of Jesus is the basis of our victory over temptation. What are you depending on?
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2008. The doxology at the end of Jude 24,25 is one of the most beautiful in all of Scripture. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…Keep us from stumbling? We think that it is only our responsibility not to stumble. We have a part to play in that for sure, but God also plays a role. His Holy Spirit was given to us to enable to follow him. The next time temptation or sin knock at the door, remember He can keep you.