Talk to anybody about Christianity these days, and chances are you’ll get a version of God that is very loving, easy-going, laid back, and basically portrays the “old grandfather on the porch” stereotype. Not surprising, as this is the version of God that most people would want to have. Nobody would want to have the type of God that is portrayed through the prophets (Nahum 1:2-3; Jeremiah 7:20, etc). That’s a “hateful God,” and Someone who “doesn’t like me.” The problem with this type of thinking is, it drastically minimizes the scope of who God is. Sure, He is a loving and long-suffering God, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), but He’s also a vengeful and just God, taking vengeance on those who turn away from Him. But where does His mercy end and my responsibility begin? A lot of people are willing to acknowledge that there is some God who exists, in some form, as long as He doesn’t interfere with my life. But start putting regulations on my life, start telling me that I’m doing wrong, and there’s a problem. What I do with my life, in other words, is independent from the authority of the One who created me.
So then, what is sin? Sin is defined by Isaiah 59:1-2 as something that separates you from God, an action that is in rebellion to the life that God desires His people to lead, and results in death (James 1:15). But so many people today who claim to have a relationship with God discredit it’s importance, implying that sin is nothing more than a deviation off of a happy life that God has prepared for you, diminishing it’s importance and relegating it to “not a good idea” status. Why is that? Because in the world of “once-saved, always-saved,” and “faith-only” salvation, there exists no responsibility on the part of the individual to justify himself through his life. Since there is no justification of yourself through works then, there is no un-justification of yourself through works. What you do, in essence, is up to you. As long as you have faith, that’s all you need!
But then why does the religious world insist on keeping yourself free from sin? If God doesn’t care about your sin, and only cares about your “mental assent,” than why try to avoid sin at all? Obviously it was important to the Biblical writers (James 1:27; Numbers 32:15; Joshua 22:16-18, etc), and so it should be to us. I don’t believe that the “condemnation” that existed in the scriptures when people turned away from God was just simply a slap on the wrist and bad day, do you (Amos 1-2)? Probably not. It was more like a complete and total destruction, complete with burning cities, death tolls in the thousands (if not higher), and entire cities taken into exile for years at a time. Sin was enough to destroy the lives of countless people who committed them (1 Corinthians 10:1-10), and I would imagine if they could speak to us now, that would be one of the main things they would want us to understand (Luke 16:27-31). Sin was a big deal to those who experienced the consequences of them firsthand.
Sin isn’t an option. It’s not a “do this or your life will be not as fantastic as it could be with God,” itt’s a “do this or your life is separated from God and you have no hope of salvation” (Matthew 16:27, 23:33; Isaiah 28:18-22). Let’s not confuse sin as a “momentary lapse” or an “aw shucks” moment, and certainly not as something to cast off, but rather as a rebellion against the One who sent His very Son to die for you, which no father would take too kindly towards.Last modified: February 16, 2019