Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What is sin and what is Not?

As I was browsing the Book of Concord on repentance, I came across this excellent paragraph that addressed a question I'd been thinking on recently. I often wonder in certain circumstances what is sin, and what is not, especially, for example, in regard to the 8th Commandment. So here popped out this quote and set me straight about that ;)

"And in Acts 17:30: 'Now God commands all people everywhere to repent.' He says, 'all people'--no single human being is excluded....This repentance is not fragmentary or paltry--like the kind that does penance for actual sins--nor is it uncertain like that kind. It does not debate over what is a sin or what is not a sin. Instead, it simply lumps everything together and says, "Everything is pure sin with us. What would we want to spend so much time investigating, dissecting, or distinguishing?' Therefore, here as well contrition is not uncertain, because there remains nothing that we might consider a 'good' with which to pay for sin. Rather, there is plain, certain despair concerning all that we are, think, say, or do, etc."

I know I've read that a couple of times before, but how easy to forget!? Truly repentance shouldn't be trying to sort out what is sin and what is not, which is a waste of time! Our repentance should be whole and entire, confessing EVERYTHING, not trying to hold out on some idea that this or that 'may not have been sinful.' Plain and simple, we realize that our whole life is sin, and that sins aren't just little disconnected actions, but in fact flow out of our very nature, as everything is pure sin with us. As Paul says in Romans 14:23b (ESV), "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." So much easier to confess all we are, think, say, or do is sin than to agonize over trying to separate sin from 'non-sin' in our lives--as if we could even do a pure and wholesome act with no sin. For God is faithful and just to forgive our sins! Thanks be to God!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love being that kind of confessional.

Joe Fremer said...

"For God is faithful and just to forgive our sins!" Aaahh, 1 John.

Ch. 3 states that "for this reason the Son of God appeared, that He might take up the sins, and in Him sin is not" (my translation). Sins (particular, with the definite article) were taken up by Him. But when he is examined, Sin (no article)is HTTP 404 - NOT FOUND.

What a wonderful Savior we have! What a privilege by the Gospel to be in-Him!