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What is Sin?

I have found that there are more glaring differences in cultures in America than we like to recognize. Therefore, Christians become angry or irritated that a fellow follower of Jesus is doing something that is not a sin, but something that in their personal worldview, with little to no biblical evidence they believe is a sin. Therefore, Christians become judgemental and it is not even based on the Bible, it is simply their personal belief.

People believe things like listening to secular music, shopping at Target or Amazon, or even dancing is a sin. People begin to think the church is irrelevant for these reasons, because the Holy Spirit is not moving them to repent of shopping at Target, rather the Holy Spirit wants to point out the pride, and greed, of American society which stores like Amazon and Target exploit. The Holy Spirit wants to point out that life is not all about making money and doing whatever it takes to get to the top. Even though secular music glorifies these things we are focusing on the music rather than the heart behind the music.

If we would focus on the heart behind the music, then the church would find that people see that they are in sin, but when we focus on the symptoms rather than the sickness it turns people away. The lack of guilt for sin most of the time is not because people do not feel guilt, the Church is simply trying to deal with symptoms of a sinful culture rather than getting to its heart. If we would understand what is a cultural preference and what is an actual sin, numerous churches would grow much faster and see more salvations. However, it first takes doing everything you can to elevate the message of Jesus and not the message of your cultural preferences.

Why there is so much division in the church is not because there are groups that are deeply in sin more so than the other, it is because these groups are debating cultural differences not scripture. Even though they have scripture, pulled out of context, to back up some of their points. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention recently officially kicked out Saddleback church led by Rick Warren. The reason was that Rick believed that women should be able to be pastors, and he had women pastors in his church. Rick’s argument was not that the Southern Baptist Convention were misogynist. Rather his argument was that when they let the Calvinist stay within the convention, it was because they agreed on the major things and the disagreements were minor. Rick said letting women be pastors is not questioning any of the major doctrines of faith, therefore why make it a huge deal?

We can learn a lot from this statement from Rick Warren. The church needs to focus on the majors which is the message that Jesus came to restore humanity’s relationship with God and reconnect Heaven and Earth. What would happen if we kept this the main thing rather than getting caught up in the little arguments which fill social media pages and pulpits which are not focused on the gospel.

However, sin is a real thing. This cannot be ignored. How do we lead others out of their sinful lives? Spend more time preaching the core of the gospel and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. The core of the gospel is not, being a homosexual is wrong, it is Jesus loves you so much and He wants the best for you so He died on your behalf in order to open the gate between heaven and earth so you could experience God right here right now. Then point to the life God wants for them. Pointing to the promised future that God desires for them will force people to reflect on what in their life might be blocking themselves from God’s ideal life for them. The Holy Spirit is a better counselor than you are, I promise. Do not take it upon yourself to tell people how to live the life God has for them. If they open the door and ask for your advice, tell them where you believe they are missing it, but do not assume everyone wants to know your opinion.

A great example of this is in 1 Corinthians 8 where the man who believes that idols are truly other gods and they are alive sins if he eats the meat sacrificed to these idols. Whoever believes as Paul does, that these idols are nothing does not sin if he eats the same meat. It is all about where you are. In this statement, Paul shows it is not the actions itself that is inherently sinful, but the underlying heart behind the action. Therefore, if the action you do is to indulge in a certain craving to satisfy yourself, you may want to see if that comes from a heart of greed or pride.

Because many times if we are doing something to satisfy a craving and we indulge in this act it is filling a hole temporarily, which is hiding a bigger hole in our lives. Whether that be indulging in weed because it helps you drown out the pain of depression, or indulging in junk food for the same reason. Rather than indulging in these things why not feel these things and allow God to truly heal it rather than cover it up? Trusting in anything to get you through life other than God is a sin. While this is the case there are many pastors who possibly outweigh Goliath, and none of these pastors are nine feet tall.

To wrap up all this, sin is not as black and white as many like to make it seem. Ultimately, it is not any of our jobs to identify sin in the lives of others. How we identify sin in our own lives is the heart of why we do everything we do? Is anything that you do in your life filling a hole that only God can fill, and if anything you do in any way disrespectful and unkind to others? These questions can help us identify sin in our own life and what is great about these questions is only we have the answers to them, no one else can answer these for us.

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