Thoughts on Sin and Sin Nature
11/30/99

The following paragraphs are a discussion of some ideas about sin, sin nature, the sinfulness of man, God's view of a Christian who sins, etc.

We begin with a snippet of an article written by a professor from Indiana Wesleyan University. The article deals with homosexuality, but the main point (at least my main point) is more general. Also note that the professor's comments are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, as in he is actually disagreeing with what he appears to be saying, and for the most part would agree with my comments in the second section.


1. Sinners-in-recovery.

All sin is of equal seriousness -- if you break one part of the law you are guilty of breaking the entire law. You have your sins, I have mine....

...cheaters and practicing homosexuals -- we do not recognize more serious or less serious sinners. So join the rest of us sinners -- we are a hospital of sin-sick people trying to get well with varied success. Join our church of recovering sinners.

2. Sinners-already-forgiven.

Christ died on the cross to forgive all your sins. If you are a saved homosexual then God has already forgiven your sins -- even thouse you'll commit tomorrow -- just keep confessing them. Face it, we all sin every day in thought word and deed, but for the Christian sinner God cannot see these sins, for they were removed as far as the East is from the West, more than 2000 years ago on a cross. Your homosexual sins along with all other sins are already forgiven. When you sin (for you will, even St. Paul called himself the chaffiest of sinners) your sin merely shows you the true state of your sinful nature and the absolute purity of Christ. Keep your eyes on Him, for you are clothes with His righteousness God can't see your homosexual acts. Rejoice that there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Jesus. God can't see your sin, rejoice that all your sins -- past, present, and future were long ago wiped away.

...


And now, here are my comments in response to the professor's satire above. (Note that at this point I did not realize the above was satirical.)

Hello there. About two years ago now, through the grapevine of email I saw a column your wrote about sin and homosexuality. I thought it was worth a comment, since similar issues have been on my mind recently. I left enough of the original text to remind you what I'm responding to.

First of all, I always hear about the equalness of sins. And I'm willing to concede that I'm wrong in my thinking, but it's hard for me to understand that. I used to have a pet peeve of speeding (or maybe it was just an example to use). If speeding is wrong, then it's a sin. If it's a sin, we shouldn't do it. But most or all of us do. And by this thinking, that's just as bad as if we all were murderers...right? Or, more tamely, it's just as bad to go 56 in a 55 as it is to 150 in a 55, by this line of thinking. I know, it's a difference between God's perspective and our own. I realize the origin of this idea is the fact that just one sin, no matter the "severity", separates us from God. But to say this "equal seriousness of sin" around most people, I think, gives them the idea of "Well, if it's wrong to speed a little or a lot or to lie a little or a lot or to shoot someone with a water gun or a machine gun, I may as well do as I please and not worry about the sinfulness of it, since no one can escape sinning anyway, and it's all the same, so it would seem."

About saved from sin, once for all: This sounds a lot like a Calvinist/Arminian debate. Seeing that you were from Indiana Wesleyan, I was surprised at your comments on the subject (yes, I'm making assumptions, but my assumption is that you hold to the Arminian view that "once saved always saved" isn't true). I have a mental problem with the statement that "...we all sin everyday...but for the Christian sinner God cannot see these sins..." If God does not see our sins, literally, then what's to stop us from sinning all the more? Sounds like that one verse of Paul's...I don't remember his defense, but you'll probably repeat it for me. But if even God doesn't see (and supposedly doesn't care, then), why should we? That's rhetorical or something, but I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking it.

About our attitude toward sinning: I've noticed lately how my attitude about sinning differs from that of a lot of people. I have to preface this by saying that I'm a hypocrite, because I do sin a lot, I suppose, in specific areas and just in general when I "mess up." But I don't think wallowing around in "I'm just a wretched sinner saved by grace" and saying "Lord, I fail you so often" are such great activities. I am at the point now where I'm waiting for God to show me that my thinking is wrong here, but it seems like we should be "living above" the sin-ridden life. On the other hand, seeing that I do still sin, maybe I'm just trying to mask the effects of sin...trying to deceive myself with talk of "living above" sin. I just don't see much hope in wallowing in the sinful nature, though, and I don't think people like David or Paul are role models when they fall, but instead when they remain standing. Some people might look at David's problems (for example) and find comfort that even the great Bible leaders were human, but it only shows me that no matter how strong my faith may be, it only takes a little spark of sin to bring it all to ruin. That's depressing, not hopeful, if you ask me. And, to relate this finally to what you said, I don't see how my sinning shows me the purity of Christ. Well, maybe in a way, but it certainly doesn't show that to anyone else. It shows them the ineffectiveness of the transforming nature of Christ in my life...or my unwillingness to allow the transformation, I mean.

Finally, I'll reiterate. If God can't see my sin, sure that's good news for past sins, that forgiveness is a done deal, but what is there to keep me from sinning all the more, if God really truly doesn't see my sin?

Okay, those are my thoughts on the subject. I'd be interested to hear your feedback. Thanks for listening. :-)

- Joe Clark, student, Iowa State University