Why Do People Suck?

Posted: November 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Okay, sorry for the delay but I’ve been swamped with work.  Now, on to the doctrine of sin.

Dr. Wayne Grudem defines sin as follows: “Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature.”  Frankly, I’m not crazy about Dr. Grudem tying sin so closely “in relation to God and his moral law.”  I’m in favor of the former but not the latter.  Why?

For too long the church has implied that sin is nothing but the breaking of rules that, abstracted from God Himself (and a clear understanding of the message and life of Jesus), appear to be arbitrary and oppressive. I like the way Don Carson puts it when he states that sin is first and foremost always a direct offense against God Himself.  Carson points to 2 Samuel 12:1-15.  The story behind this section of Scripture goes something like this: David is king of the nation of Israel and spots a hot married chick one night. He takes her and she becomes pregnant.  This is a problem because the chick is married to a foreign solder who has possibly betrayed his own country to pledge allegiance to the one true God, His nation and His King.  Looks bad, huh? So David tries to trick the foreign solder into sleeping with his wife and passing off the pregnancy to him.  No such luck.  The foreign soldier refuses to sleep with his wife because his fellow soldiers are in the field fighting and he doesn’t want to do anything they cannot do.  So David has the soldier killed and then takes the hot chick as one of his wives.  So, God sends one of his commissioned spokespersons to confront David.  The spokesperson, what the Bible calls a “prophet”, tells David the story of a rich man with many sheep who steals the sheep of a poor man.  David states that the rich man in the story deserves to die for his crime and then the spokesperson spills it–David is the rich man.  David then states, “I have sinned against the Lord.” 

Carson points out that one level this is ridiculous.  David has not just sinned against God but against the foreign soldier, the hot chick, the baby in her womb, his own family, his army, his nation, on an on and on.  Yet, at a deeper level, David has sinned first and foremost against God for sin is direct rebellion against God; it is a crime or an evil or a direct offense against God Himself. 

I use this example even though it is a poor one.  If you have ever dated someone and he or she cheated on you, how do you react? Do you say, “that person broke the rules of dating!”  No, you say, “he or she cheated ON ME.”  We are all in relationship to God and to sin is “cheat” on God because we have elevated something above God like our own judgment, our own desires or whatever and made it our God.  In fact, via our selfish judgment we have made ourselves God by sinning.  So, while “the law” is a good sign of who God is and who we are to be in relation to Him, the breaking of these rules are secondary to the direct offense against God Himself.   Make sense?

The Bible uses much stronger terms than these.  For example, Ezekiel describes sin as “whoring.”  Not a pretty picture.  When one reflects on the fact that God is absolutely perfect then we can see that this offense against God is actually the greatest evil imaginable.  These crimes we commit against God are worse than rape, murder or even an assault against a child.  Sin is the ultimate evil because it is an offense against the ultimate good and, therefore, calls for the ultimate punishment.

On that bright note, we will begin to unpack this tomorrow.

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