Before I get too far from yesterday's topic of us, I'd like to touch a little more on sin. Sin is the four letter word in a three letter word's body for most culture today. It's not talked about, and when it is people tend to soften it by using words like mistake, or indiscretion, or quirk. Sin is "too judgmental" a term to be used in hyper-tolerant America.
But sin is too important a concept to abandon in the hopes that we won't hurt too many feelings. If sin be real (and I believe it be - and scripture agrees) and has real consequences of the eternal sort, we'd best pay attention to it a bit more than we do. At the very least intellectual honesty demands we at least consider the concept; and mere self-preservation in the matter of Heaven v. Hell seems another motivation to contemplate the matter before dismissing it out of hand.
But what is sin, exactly? I talked yesterday about what it does, in brief terms, but not what it is. (Probably a flaw in my argument strategy, but hey, this is informatl theology. I hope flow of thought flaws can be overlooked.)
Sin is more than just violating God's rules, though it is that. It is also failing to meet God's standard of holiness. Sin is not excused on the basis of ignorance, nor is it merely something you commit: sins of omission are just as bad.
Sin, in God's eyes, is also always evil, with one sin being equivalent to violation of all God's laws. It is for this reason that we must not try to excuse our minor sins before God. Yes, we put sins into hierarchical relationships in society because, well, some sins are worse for society than others; maintaining peace and justice are important. And God recognizes this, and even says some sins lead to worse punishment in the hereafter. But the smallest of sins to us is still the biggest of deals to God.
Why? Because at the root of sin is selfishness, which we use to put us above God. And God cannot abide idolatry - even the tiniest little bit of it.
Sin is serious business, and as I noted yesterday, leads to death and separation from God.
But there is hope. We are not doomed, necessarily, by our sin. More on that next time.