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All about sin. What is it, how does it work, what does it do—whatever your questions are

The Scope of Sin

Postby gmw803 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:06 pm

Is it possible to sin by obeying God's commandment?

My wife goes away for a week to care for her sick mother. On the way home, she sends me a text that she will be home in an hour. The question occurs to me, Would it please her, if when she arrives home, I greet her with a welcome-home kiss? So I get out all my books on how to keep my wife happy. I pray about it. I ask my children's advice, and I become convinced that it would please my wife if I so celebrated her arrival. At the moment she arrives, I am upstairs hiding the books, and the children greet her alone. They alert her with excitement, "Daddy's going to give you a kiss when he comes down. He looked it up and found that it was the right thing to do."

I suspect that when I offer it, I will become advised not to bother. But that will not discourage me. For now I have the ammunition to present at the next counselling session. "I looked it up, I tried to do the right thing, and she pushed me away." If I don't soon change my heart, the next favor she wants from me will not be a kiss, but her maiden name back.

And so God had to deal with Israel. Israel fasted according to the command. God said don't bother. Israel sacrificed according to the command. God said don't bother. Today, we pay tithe according to the command - every dime, net of withholdings of course. And then when we file our taxes, we will request 25% of what we paid returned to us. Tithe-free of course.

Does pleasing God have to be so complicated?

Re: The Scope of Sin

Postby jimwalton » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:11 am

Many things in the Bible are both simple and complex. We denigrate the Bible and Christianity when we insist on simplicity, but we also too easily make our faith a system of works when we make it too complex.

We all know what sin is. That's easy. But there are entire chapters in systematic theologies devoted to the subject, trying to sort it all out.

We know that our salvation in Christ is simply to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, repenting from sins, confessing Jesus as Lord, and following Him. But we also know that it will take us our whole lives to plumb the depths of what all that means.

We know that all we need is the faith of a child—a mustard-seed's worth—to enter the kingdom. The kingdom of God is near us. But we also know from the other parables of Jesus that the kingdom of God is a large kingdom to be explored, and there are many truths that will be brought to bear regarding it.

Christianity can be very easy: Receive Jesus into your heart, and live by the Spirit he puts there. That's all that needs to be said. We also know that Christianity can be very difficult: To deny myself, take up my cross, and follow him requires all of me—all of my energies, my passions, my values, my goals, and my entire being.

Does pleasing God have to be so complicated? No, not at all. Yes, of course. Am I speaking out of both sides of my mouth? Nes. Yo.

Is it possible to sin while obeying God's commandment? It depends what you mean by that. In the OT, people were rebuked by the prophets because even in their obedience to the actions their hearts were not in it. We are not to think that all God wants are our works. Mt. 7.21-23.

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