In this series we have looked at the “root” of sin. The Greek word translated as “sin” is hamartia and has a rich history in the literary community. The poets used the hamartia or “tragic flaw” to illicit an emotional response. It is when the great hero like Oedipus kills his father and doesn’t know he is his father. Luke discovers Darth Vader is his dad. The passion of Romeo and Juliet results in their death. We all have tragic flaws. When we are exposed to the perfect nature of God as filtered through a forbidden-fruit-understanding, we run and hide. We see our tragic flaws as the very thing that keeps God away when the truth is He is running towards us. We have no reason to hide. Jesus proves God’s love. We need to step out of the shadows of the fig tree and into the light of His Grace. The cosmic tragic flaw is the devil has chased us into hiding, religion has kept us there and we see no way out. Even Jesus on the cross isn’t enough to alter our minds to believe that we can come out of the bushes. Only the POWER of God can alter our thinking. Only the Gospel of Grace (which is the power of God) can change our perspective. Only the presence of Jesus (which is the power of God) can alter our understanding. Only the union with the Holy Spirit (which is the power of God) will make a pickle out of us (baptism is best understood as pickling). So I want to come around this big mountain and show you how to deal with this “root” problem. Are you ready? The short answer is BELIEVE.
Rapid fire of verses…ready, aim, Fire! What do we need to “do?”
Jn 6:28 Then they said to him, “ What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “ This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (ESVST)
What does it look like? Remember we are His children so this applies to us as well.
Jn 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “ Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will (ESVST)
What is His commission for us?
Jn 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 12 “ Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.(ESVST)
And these “works” are the same ones that James is referring to here:
Jam 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (ESVST)
So in the context of James and all that Jesus has said about what we should “do,” check out this verse:
Jam 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (ESVST)
Now “have some fun with sin” and substitute the root problem unbelief for the word sin. (if this is the first post you are reading in the series check out the last three to see what I’m talking about)
Jam 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is UNBELIEF. (ESVST)
Are you seeing it yet? Our “works” are His works and to do His works we have to believe that He is working. Listen, our tragic flaws will manifest in tragedy whenever we are working from our effort and unbelief. He is working the miraculous in us. He is the power unto salvation. He is the good news. OK, maybe this will seal it for you. Here are a couple of verses where I have already substituted “unbelief” for “sin.”
Jam 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed UNBELIEF, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your UNBELIEF to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (ESVST)
Does this passage make more sense now? See the righteous guy? He is the one who is “believing.” Our righteousness is through faith. Our faith is knowing how awesome God is and how He keeps His promises. Our faith is the certainty that God is good and going to do good stuff. Yay!
OK, let me leave you with one more passage as we wrap up this “sin” thing. I’ve again put in the word unbelief for sin.
1Jo 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of UNBELIEVING also practices lawlessness; UNBELIEVING is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away UNBELIEF, and in him there is no UNBELIEF. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on UNBELIEVING; no one who keeps on UNBELIEVING has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of UNBELIEVING is of the devil, for the devil has been SPREADING UNBELIEF from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of UNBELIEVING, for God ‘s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on UNBELIEVING because he has been born of God. (ESVST)
Does that seal it for you? I hope so (believing with certainty of a good outcome). Let God transform your thinking. Stop trying to please an angry God but instead embrace a loving Father. He is that good. We have to stop hiding in the bushes. We have to let His power WORK in us. We have to let His power work through us. Our believing is the key to all that. When we believe rightly and live in a right relationship (righteousness) all those tragic flaws are uprooted and instead the power of God through us changes everything.