For most of my life, I have (somewhat erroneously) understood sin to be doing things that are fun but that make me feel guilty.  Many times, I wanted to do something that I considered fun, assuming that it was probably a sin, but I figured I was a huge sinner anyway, so who cared?  My point is that I saw sin solely as an action or behavior.  For instance, lying is a sin.  Cheating is a sin.  Murder is a sin.  And so on.

 However, I am beginning to view sin very differently.  For Christians, we have two “natures”: our human nature (which is sinful), and our Godly nature, also known as the Holy Spirit working inside of us, which accounts for any and all non-sinful things we do.  For further explanation of the Holy Spirit, please check out this recent post.  In almost every decision we make, we can choose to follow our human nature (thus, sin) or we can follow the Spirit (the Godly thing, the good thing).

 I am now starting to see that sin is not so much an action, but it is the blindness we have.  The thing about sin is that it blinds us to our sin (called the noetic effect of sin).  Our sin is much more our blindness than our actions, per se.  Our blindness makes us believe that following our human nature will get us better results than following the Spirit. 

 The weird thing is, when we do follow the Spirit, even when we think it will lead to discomfort or less pleasant results, something mysterious happens and we feel more peace and joy (also known as “fruits” of the Spirit, cf. Galatians 5:22-23).  Much of Christianity and living the Christian life is counter-intuitive.  Our intellect (our human nature, our sin) tells us one thing, but in reality, the opposite is true.

 Here is an example of how my intellect/sin convinced me to do something “my way” that led to worse consequences than if I had followed the Spirit.  Several months ago, I got very angry with a woman who works in our leasing office.  It was a Friday and I was exhausted.  What should have taken five minutes ended up taking an hour and a half, and I still did not have what I came in for.  I was already late to the next place I needed to be.  I was frustrated and grumpy, and I essentially yelled at the woman for her incompetence.  Later, I felt that the Spirit was prompting me to go back to the leasing office and apologize to her, and I had good intentions, but I put it off and never made the apology.  I had a hundred “logical” excuses: it would be awkward, I’m too busy to stop by the leasing office, maybe there will be other people there, etc.  I was blinded by my defensiveness and by relying only on myself, rather than on God.  Choosing “my way” has led to a lot of discomfort and conviction.  When I pass her in the apartment complex, I feel regretful and uncomfortable.  “My way” has not given me any level of satisfaction or peace.  Conversely, in other situations where I have felt prompted to apologize and I actually do so, it is a bit awkward when first approaching the person, but I end up feeling an enormous sense of peace and healing.  It has always been worth it to do it God’s way.

 What I want to convey is that sin is not so much about “doing bad things,” rather, sin is spiritual blindness.  Sin is the way we fail to see ourselves clearly.  Sin is the way our human natures cover up our sin by getting defensive, angry, or hurt.  Sin is the argument of justification we have built up in our minds in case anyone questions us.  Sin is the way we blame others or our circumstances for the frustration and disappointment we experience.  Sin is the way our intellect clouds the truth so that we believe that doing it “my way” will really turn out better.

 Further, and this is the most important part, none of us can just buckle down and choose not to sin in our own efforts.  It is impossible, and God never intended that for us.  The only way we can not sin is by surrendering to God.  He wants us to rest in Him, to trust Him, and to call on Him to help us.  We cannot cure our own blindness; by its very nature we do not even see it.  Only God can give us vision and sight.  Only God can give us strength.

 One of my favorite quotes on this topic is by Charles Spurgeon:

The rewards of grace are of grace.  They are not legal rewards given to us because we deserve them.  Christ first gives His servants grace to serve Him and then rewards them as if they had served Him in their own strength, though their service is His work in them rather than their work for Him.  There is not a soul in heaven that came there by merit.  There is not a note of self-righteousness to mar the song of free grace before the throne.  It is all love, underserved love, love without limit, love to be extolled throughout eternity.

C.H. Spurgeon – “Grace & Glory”

    • Di Wang
    • October 8th, 2013

    When you break a law you sin.

  1. May 19th, 2012

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