Questions & Answers
Definition of sin?
I really appreciate your thoughts and your questions. Please read this as something to stimulate your sincere, new mind in Christ; for there is no true good outside of God. How we as believers view this reality will affect everything that takes place in us, and, therefore, how we view what is going on inside our brothers. Believe me, I know how easy it is to judge another by my perspectives.
Yes, sin has permeated this world. It is whatever that is not of God. It is used both for the condition (source) and the acts that come from that. That is why to be in sin is, not just bad, but hopeless! Jesus did not come to save the kinda-bad, but He came to save the sinner. And that is exactly what He did when He took our sin on Himself. We have been delivered from the very source of sin, for He condemned it and killed it on the cross! The question here is: what is it that tells you and me that it just ain't true? What is it that makes us want to create distinctions between Theology vs. Reality (i.e. positional vs. practical)? I'll bet you've asked yourself this before, huh? :) But -- DID HE REALLY DO WHAT HE REALLY DID? It's that simple.
Now, the fact is that only those who have been freed from sin (every aspect of it) can truly see it for what it is. It is from the domain of darkness of which we are no longer a part. We see the sin, but we are no longer sinners but instead holy ones of God. Touchy situation considering what our logic tells us, don't you think? For if you focus on the sin you will become convinced that you are still a sinner; you will see sin in everything you do all day long. I see two concepts here: sin-consciousness vs. awareness of sin.
Sin-consciousness does NOT describe the one who has been given sight and now sees sin for what it, but it describes the consciousness of one who is still in his sin. A sin-conscious person sees sin everywhere he looks, but doesn't really know what it is because he has a list that designates particular actions as being bad. The list is not really what misleads him, but it is his perspective. The only way he can feel good about himself is to be able to fit within an acceptable level on the scale created by the list he holds to. Do you remember how it looks when the lights go out and everything is pitch black? Once your eyes adjust to your surroundings you can actually see distinctions in the darkness: varying shades of darkness. If you are in familiar surroundings then you can tell where you are (such as finding doorways by going to the darker black holes). But if you are somewhere unfamiliar it is a different story. I remember going camping a few times and arriving there at night. If there is a place of relative light such as a campfire, then your whole perspective of your surroundings is based upon that place as the center. Everything is mapped in your mind from that central location: the outhouse, your tent location, your neighbor's location, etc. When the sun came up I was always amazed how NOTHING seemed as it was, especially when the center of my surroundings was found to be an out of the way location.
Awareness of sin, on the other hand, more accurately describes our new perspective in Christ. We have been given eyes to see -- we are brought into the daylight! We see the former mindset for what it was. We are aware of it but not in it. It is no longer our reality, our bondage, for we have been set free from it by the miraculous reality of sight and light!
This is what I think you are describing with your example of buying a Cadillac or wasting money instead of feeding the poor. Tell me, where does this lead you? Do you see Christ as being your righteousness while you are in this mindset? Or isn't it more so that you are condemning yourself for not doing the right thing; or feeling pretty good about yourself when you do? And then, how are you perceiving your brothers and sisters? How are you dividing them in your mindset? Do you see them as sinners or as righteous? Are Christians divided into two categories: those who do it vs. those who don't; those who sin vs. those who don't; those who take sin seriously vs. those who don't?
Question: What if your desire to love another really does come from the REAL you (you know, that justified, righteous, freed, new person you are in Christ), but how it is to be legislated comes from the old, sin-conscious mindset? What if those whose lives revolve around a list of sins have persuaded us to judge by their perspective?