Tuesday, June 12, 2007

All This Talk of "Sin"

I guess all this talk of sin, when I read back over it, sounds a little harsh in light of the topic I started talking about: refreshing our relationship with God or recapturing our spiritual passion. You - like me - may have sat through year after year of harsh sermons, demanding people repent from their "hidden sin" (whatever that is), as if the preacher knows exactly goes on in the minds and bedrooms of all his parishioners, as if his church is so full of sinners, there's no one who can hold their head up high.

I feel like I've started to sound like this is the series I'm posting. The difficulty is (& of course I'm interested in your thoughts): how do we talk about our lack of ability to do what's right or even what's healthy without using it, especially when we want to maintain a biblical worldview?


Bob said...

Pete, it seems to me that's where the problem may lie - no one wants to use the word "sin" because it is harsh. But there it is.

If a sinner isn't made uncomfortable with the harshness of sin, they won't be motivated to come to repentance, will they? That's the job of the Holy Spirit - to bring us to repentance. And believe me, He has no qualms about making us uncomfortable, if that's what it takes!

But there are ways to present the Gospel without brow beating people with it. And, you have to take into consideration that everyone is different, and will respond differently, too.

I mean, my own path to repentance was relatively benign compared to, say, the Apostle Paul's Road to Damascus experience. Your own was no doubt different, too.

But different strokes, and all that, you know; He uses just enough for each of us. I'm just glad He doesn't use the same sized hammer for all of us!

themolk said...

You're such a sin-nazi, Pete! ;)

I get what you are saying - it's the dichotomy of grace. You gotta recognise your distance from God to recognise your need for his love, grace and forgiveness...

Pete Aldin said...

Nicely put, gentlemen.

Bob, great to have you visit! I'm reading your comment and Steve Taylor's Whatever Happened to Sin? is playing in my head. (Remember that ol' late 80s quirky Christian punk-ska-rockabilly non-classic??). Maybe it's a matter of finding other words without filtering out the truth.

Molkomatic, you better believe I am a sin-nazi: "No sin for you!" ;) Really like your comment: "You gotta recognise your distance from God to recognise your need for his love, grace and forgiveness..." - that might et a post of its own.

Appreciate the contribtion fellas.

Warren said...

Hi Pete,

I resonate with your aversion to the word "sin." There is a lot of baggage attached to it, especially when the audience is "over" church...

Sin refers to both transgression and missing the mark... so perhaps there's a way to re-translate those ideas. Perhaps "depravity," "crossing the line," are all good ways to talk about sin without the actual word.

But I think as much as the Bible mentions sin, God seems to be more interested in how we are redeemed and saved from it. In that way, I would say that any talk of sin without a message of acceptance, hope, or reconciliation.

Pete Aldin said...

Thanks Warren. Hopefully get to hear your voice on the call tomorrow (Australian time).

I think in contemplating the concept of coming back to closeness with God, there is complicity in us for drfting away from him, but maybe I should be using the biblical imagery of "losing first love" - not as in "You @#$%@& sinner, you're now godless" but as in "God the preeminent one, the true love of our life needs to be continually pushed back up to the top of the priority list from where we seem to dislodge him." I see that as a form of sin, as I wrote in an earlier post, but I think it's about wokring on the relationship (like we do with a friend or a spouse) rather than going forward on another altar call to "repent".

Your perspective has been helpful, bro.

themolk said...

"Whatever happened to sin"... another Steve Taylor classic!

Pete Aldin said...

Gotta love the guy's music AND backbone.