Here are four images for “sin”. I hope they will help us to stop thinking about shame, or sex, or (name your favourite sin here). If we think about it thus, it will help to free us.
Sin is like diagnosis of disease
To talk about sin is not to condemn people ,but through a good diagnosis of the problem, to bring hope for a cure. Sin is the most critical problem facing humanity today. It far outweighs global warming, population pressure, globalisation, interest rates, wars and reconciliation. All social evils are carried forward by somebody and ignored by some others – this is sin at work,. All tempations of the devil are only temptations not possession – we choose to respond like Jesus or like Judas. All acts of war can be met with courage and compassion, all natural disasters can be relieved by kindness and generosity and a helping hand. Only if we prefer to act out of selfishness and fear – in short sin – will these things get the upper hand. We are not suffering from lack of the right information , but for lack of formation in righteousness. The critical task, the most critically necessary task today that faces a man or woman who wants to make a difference in this world …. is to work effectively to spread Jesus invitation to enter God’s love, through repentance from sin.
The diagnosis of sin is not a condemnation. The condemnation is coming from God’s hand. There is a day of judgement the outcome of which is the right hand or the left, the sheep or the goats, the darkness or the light, condemned or declared innocent. If you think that talk about sin is condemnation, wait till that reveals all that we have hidden. Unless of course the slate is wiped clean by the blood of Jesus.
The disease of sin is not benign, but cancerous. It is infectious, dangerous, deadly and treatable.
Sin is like the weather
To talk about sin, is not negative, but realistic – it is a simple observation of the facts of human behaviour. We can expect there to be a steady weather pattern in our life is sin – so that we might be hurt and betrayed, misunderstood and treated badly by acts of selfishness, even to be victimised by criminals or abusers. To ignore the reality of sin is to be gullible about how far we can trust people, but also careless because we will not take adequate steps to protect and train our young.
Sin is like gravity
Sin is as omnipresent as gravity upon our bodies. One slip and you’re down with a thump, and something is broken. Sin is an invisible form of gravity acting even on our minds on the way we think. Some of us have a greek assumption that thinking is pure, but you only have to sit in a class room to see the self justification and rationalisation, false assumptions and second hand logic that can frequently masquerade as knowledge. Spellbound, undiscerning, half right and half wrong, the fallen mind projects on to others the very things we do ourselves.
Sin is a grasping form of gravity that acts upon pur souls, our psychology, the pattern of our feelings and moods. We can get stuck in shame or self pity, we can like the sens eof being alive that comes from defiance and guilt, regret and recrimination, revenge, loathing and passing judgements.
Sin is a slow and steady form of gravity that acts upon our bodies, making us sick, lazy, greedy, one minute punishing ourselves then suddenly over the top with lust.
By indulging the bodies appetites, rather than controlling them, we become spiritually flabby, and full of excuses for ourselves and for others. Ros 2.14-16 We didn’t start like that, we began with a cocky sort of thanksgiving, then thanksgiving became self congratulation, and self congratulation became pride, as though God should be thanking us for obeying him – and we have fallen.
Sin is like a prison doorway
To talk about sin is not a guilt trip, but it is to identify the prison doorway through which all must go to get to the wide horizons of God’s love.
Wait – The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgement, scripture says in John. So where is the guilt? Surely lots of christians go around saying we should do this or should say that, should be this, or should think this way. Should should should like dog droppings along the road. Still pulled by guilt, motivated by guilt.
Some of you only feel spiritual when you feel ‘challenged’ – when you are made to feel guilty. But what is forgiveness for? The Law brings death, but the spirit gives life. First Adam brought death, Jesus brings life. What would the church look like if we went around naming our sins in order to forget them? You know, like God does. We have made a habit of remembering what God says it is better to forget. Give ourselves and give your neighbour, your family member a break – a new start. Whatever rotten things we have done, name them as wrong, and they become a door to walk free into the open plains of God’s love. The world would rather recriminate, and condemn. The Satan would rather recriminate and condemn and tell you again what an unworthy person you are. Go tot hell. I’ve been forgiven. I know what Sin is – I don’t have to deny it, because I know there is a cure – Jesus Christ has died for me and his surrendered life comes to give me life.