Monday, March 21, 2005

gospel of sin management

I would never argue with anyone who suggests that sinning less is a good idea. Sin is... well... sin. But following Jesus is not simply about cleaning ourselves up, and remediating sin... it is about experiencing the incredible effect of the living Jesus in our lives... and freedom from sin is part of this, but the freedom comes from Jesus, not from us.

A fundamental issue with even discussing sin is that there are many definitions of what sin truly is. While I agree that intentionally doing something we KNOW is wrong IS irrefutable sin, I think that this definition is way too specific and narrow. I believe that sin is "missing perfection by any amount".

We live in a fallen broken world. Much of what we do is imperfect.

Doing what is right with the wrong motives involves sin by this definition.

If we focus on sin, we're focusing in the wrong direction. None of us can fix ourselves... the best we can manage with sin is to stop, but we cannot change the desires of our hearts. Stopping is not nearly enough.

The gospel of sin management breaks down most spectacularly in that it is human based, and as such only deals with sin that is easily measurable by humans. This leads to the "sin ranking system" that many evangelical churches adopt... the system in which those who practice idolatry with the bass boat in their driveway are accepted, and the ones who struggle with same sex attraction and homosexuality are banned. Those who struggle with pride and arrogance are promoted to leadership, and those who kick heroin but still struggle with tobacco are kicked around as "less than".

I am amazed at how often arrogance is confused as a spiritual gift. I am amazed at how un-grace doubles as a negative incentive for some. I am amazed at how few people kow how to be truly vulnerable.

The gospel of sin management is not the Gospel of Jesus... it is not the Gospel of Amazing Grace, it is the gospel of humanist self help disguised as Godly spirituality.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How often I have heard from the pulpit "I'm just a prideful dog", how would we feel if the preacher said "I'm just a murdering dog". We excuse some sins like pride yet condemn other things that may be no more than poor habits, like smoking or overeating. Jesus didn't condemn the woman caught in adultery, he forgave, loved and accepted her, how many of our churches berate and condemn people like that while holding up the pharisee as a great christian man. Something definitely is not right.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sin management does not work, at all, because we cannot clean ourselves up. It is just an exercise in what we think is holiness. It takes a complete baptism, that is submersion (and no this isn't about sprinkling or dunking) into Jesus and submission to His will to do the clean up process, because, He, the God man and the Holy Spirit are doing it.
Cleaning ourselves up is like allowing a blind man to wash and detail our car. It will probably be cleaner when he's done, but there will be all sorts dirty spots and crud because the man is blind. We too are blind, unless he opens our eyes. Kyle Lassiter

10:20 AM  

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