Self- Inflicted-Nonsense, that is how the world views sin. Sin is an oppressive concept that stifles human freedom and flourishing. I am my own master. I will do what I desire. No one or government or religion can tell me what I can or cannot do. Why would you constrain your own freedom by nonsensical rules and traditions? The idea of sin is repulsive to the world today because it limits what I can do. It is a remnant of past authoritarian structures and legalistic religiosity. Cast them off has been the mantra of recent decades! Be free!
- That one day in seven is different and special—sacred to the Lord, na- I’ll do what I want with my time!
- Respect due to parents, no way—we are equals!
- Sex before marriage, get with the times!
- Marriage, what is that anyway…simply what I want it to be…cohabitation, heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, polyamorous, etc, etc.
- Gender constructs, completely socially fabricated!!!
- That the government has the right to “bear the sword” of justice, how absolutely medieval that I might be held accountable for my actions.
The list goes on…self-inflicted nonsense! All a complete and utter load of nonsense!!!!!
Well let’s pause and look at an alternative. Recognising that many of today’s trends are an overreaction caused by past abuses of authority and nominal religion, might the idea of sin not be self-inflicted-nonsense but truth and a reality meant to spare us countless and needless dangers and harm? We’ve taken a huge leap from the notion of having some personal freedoms designed to ensure there was some civic freedom within parameters, to a culture of near total permissiveness.
Listen to this counter challenge from 1 John 1:8:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
WOW! What a different way of looking at things. Sin is as real as this computer screen you are reading this blog on. If we deny its reality, then we are actually self-deceived, the ones believing the nonsensical idea that there are no moral absolutes. As this verse was initially addressed to Christians who denied they kept sinning, if that was the case the Truth (Holy Spirit) was not in them. Similarly, if you are a non-believer who denies the reality of sin, the truth is similarly not in you and you are a liar.
Sin leads to harm and destruction and death, but walking in God’s Law leads to life. In fact, the Bible says God’s ways were designed for our good (Deut 10:13). It is when we follow them we flourish! It is when we walk in them that we find perfect freedom (Ps 119:45).
But more than speak of sin, the Bible makes clear that bad fruit is not the ultimate issue but the root. It is not merely the symptom we need to address but the underlying disease. The Bible also uses sin to speak of a disease of the heart (Prov 4:23; Mt 15:18–20).
The Law of God is good and true, yes, but it cannot save us because we cannot obey it perfectly, because we are actually not free but our hearts are enslaved to sin (Ro 6:16). We may even come to believe in the truth of 1 John 1:8 but that is still not good enough because we’d still be enslaved to sin even if we acknowledge it is real. We need God to open our eyes to believe the Gospel, the good news of freedom from sin available through faith and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who will help us live lives pleasing to God. Then the Law no longer is a threat of judgement but a promise, with God saying ‘I will get you there!’
As much as the world thinks it is free and sin does not exist, the reverse is true, sin does exist and the world is enslaved to it, which is why it loves it so much and will fight under any convenient banner or excuse to self-justify its own sinful actions (Ro 1:32). True freedom can only come in recognising sin is not self-inflicted-nonsense, but something that is real and that we need saving from. Only then will we be free and flourish as the Lord intended.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,