I thought about this title and wondered if it was too provocative. Maybe it is but there is a point. We have turned the concept of “sin” or hamartia into something it isn’t. In the last post I talked about how this ancient Greek word for sin, hamartia is actually a literary concept used by the great tragedy writers to illicit an emotional response from their readers. The hero’s “tragic flaw” is manifest in the story and the hero’s expected outcome is radically altered by the circumstances (usually lack of information). This word was also used in archery when the arrow didn’t hit the bullseye. The self-righteous, religious spirit empowered, pious persimmons of moral improvement progressors have distorted the idea of sin to pound their “flock” with hammers of guilt and condemnation. None of that is from God. Making mistakes is part of our human nature. Not getting it right all the time is normal. Our reaction to mistakes says everything about how we see God. If our reaction is like Cain, we murder. When our reaction is like Abel, God accepts our offering.
If you look closely at what happened in the Garden you can see this truth. Let me ask you a simple question. Did Adam and Eve suddenly have an “evil nature” one second after they ate the poisoned fruit? Did Adam instantly begin lusting for all the women that weren’t born yet? Did Eve have a cussing fit? Did Adam suddenly have an urge to drink copious amounts of booze? Maybe Eve had an urge to be promiscuous but couldn’t find a suitable man? That sounds ludicrous, right? What happened when they ate the fruit? They were ashamed. It wasn’t their morality or behavior that changed in an instant, it was their thinking. They became aware of every flaw, every mistake, every hamartia, every tragic flaw. They were bathed in shame and guilt and condemnation. They (in an instant) believed that God must be angry at them. “Adam just look at us. How could God love this? Look at me.” They ran and hid from God. Did you know that God’s feelings for them were unchanged. He sought them out. He came to them. He asked them why they were hiding. He asked them what had changed. They didn’t answer the question. They pointed fingers. We are still doing that today. We are conflicted in our innermost person regarding our self-assessment and our love for a God that we think is judging us, condemning us, keeping a record of our mistakes and just waiting to bring down the hammer. That is not our God! What did He do for Adam and Eve? He gave them clothes. He covered them so they wouldn’t keep looking at themselves. He removed any excuse for shame. This is what Jesus has done for all of us. This is why God becomes a man and lets mankind beat Him, whip Him and crucify Him. We did all that to Him and still see a loving God looking back from the cross.
Then Jesus overcomes our tragic flaws of unbelief by being raised from the dead. Could you submit yourself to such and event and have the faith to know that you would be alive in three days? He took any excuse for unbelief to the cross, into the tomb and crushed the last “fate” that the enemy has been holding against us…death itself. How could we not believe? How could we hide in the bushes? How could we miss that God Himself is giving us clothes to wear? I know why. The devil is clever. He is still seeding the same lies. He is still asking us “did God really say?” He is still emphasizing our issues to distract us from the truth, JESUS! It really is that simple. Jesus paid it all. We are clothed again. We need to stop living in unbelief.
So want to have more fun with “sin?” Check out these verses:
John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (ESV)
In the last post we talked about how our tragic flaws are born out of and empowered by unbelief. The “fun with sin” is to replace the sin word with unbelief. Check it out in this passage:
John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices UNBELIEF is a slave to UNBELIEF. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (ESV)
Can you see now how believing in Jesus and all His promises actually sets you free from the very thing that sets into action the tragic flaw or hamartia?
How about another (UNBELIEF inserted)?
Jn 15:21-24 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of UNBELIEF, but now they have no excuse for their UNBELIEF. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of UNBELIEF, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.(ESVST)
This one is fun :
Rom 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of UNBELIEF might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to UNBELIEF. (ESVST)
We are dead and raised again just like Jesus. How could live in unbelief?
OK, last one:
Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, “ Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your UNBELIEF, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (ESVST)
Now that should be liberating. For years the religious have used that verse as a big hammer. Now you can see how it makes sense. Repentance is changing your mind. Peter just gave a short sermon on how Jesus was the one they had been waiting for. The people are moved by the truth and convicted of their UNBELIEF (what the Holy Spirit does) and they asked Peter “what shall we do?” Peter’s response is for them is to change their thinking. He isn’t saying “go clean up your lives and live better ones and stop living in immorality” or anything like that. He says “change your thinking, believe in this Jesus and receive Him in your lives.” Come on. That is a good word. They get baptized to know they are dead and raised again (verse above) and now they “know that they know” God is for them.
Try this “unbelief” for “sin” substitution for yourself. It will open your eyes to see how we have “missed the mark” in our assessment of “missing the mark.” It has always been about our unbelief. It started in the Garden and has persisted until now. Jesus set us free from that unbelief but religion steps in and shifts the focus back on us just like what happened in the Garden. It is time to stop the lies and step into truth, JESUS. So go and have some more fun with “sin.” It will set you free!