Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

there is no sin

8/15/15

 

As we ask why the message of unconditional love does not draw people into our fellowship, we have to consider the idea that there is no sin. To the average hearer that means behavior does not matter. Act however you like and there will be no consequences. The world is going to unravel if foolishness like that ever takes over.

 

Of course, behavior matters. Behavior has always mattered, especially so in the words of Jesus. Behavior is an outgrowth of thinking and perception and that is what really matters. Each person's concept of what is real, true, and proper defines their entire worldview and creates their own personal world. The old idea of mind over matter is right on. I see only what I am prepared to see. I interpret everything through a lens of attitude and pre-conceptions. Nothing is real for me unless I observe it first, and my mind filters and controls all that my senses transmit. As a man thinketh so is he.

 

The new eyes tell me that behavior matters yet but just not in the way we have been taught in the past. The old way said there are rules which cause divine punishment if you break them. Some of the rules were man made, but in either case violating the rules caused some authority to be upset and mete out punishment. The old term sin applied to violations of God's rules. Thus the idea that if Jesus could eliminate the rules, then mankind could then live sin free and be unconditionally acceptable to God. No rules, no bad behavior, no need to worry.

 

Those who hear this no law/no sin idea wonder right off the bat- what does this mean to our ordered society. We have rules which people break everyday. If we then tell them there are no rules, how will they behave. Chaos. Anarchy. Self destruction. If God doesn't make sure the bad guys get theirs, they escape scot free. There is no justice. My good behavior is a meaningless joke. I went to church for no reason. I have been a fool, if this is true.

 

Like much that confuses us, the problem lies in the words we use. Sin has come to mean exclusively the violation of a judicial decree laid down by an authority figure, what we commonly refer to as law. Our secular laws are very much on outgrowth of what we see a divine law. If Jesus died, at least partially, to eliminate law and thus sin, what law was that? All laws then and now. Only the Law of Moses? What about before Moses? The laws of physics? Which of these rules defined sin.

 

As I stated before bad behavior has always mattered. The label you use to identify harmful behavior is of no real importance. Jesus did not change the consequences of our bad decisions based on our flawed thinking. Pain and suffering are still the result. No judicial decree has been changed to allow false perceptions to be harmless.

 

So what has changed? Each person must answer that for themselves. The answer lies between the ears and no one knows that but me and you individually. What is different in my mind and heart because of Jesus. Am I the same person mentally now that I was 25 or 30 years ago. Do I think and react to bad behavior the same way? Do I continually remind myself that what I see or perceive is not what's real or what God sees.

 

A new thought for me is closely connected to the notion of true identity, one which we have come to know through Doug King and others. We have come to understand at least partially that our identity before God is not a dependent on us and how we perform. It is all of God. God gives us an unchangeable identity, beloved of the Lord. For me this suggests that as a man I am led to extend the same identity to my fellowmen regardless of their behavior. That does not mean that their behavior does not matter, because it certainly will matter to them and others they impact. What a fixed identity does is simply say bad behavior does not affect my identity. Good people still often perform badly, but it does not make them a bad person, just misguided. There is none righteous, no not one- all behave badly sometimes. The Bible's incessant call to obedience declared loud and long that behavior matters. Luckily our misconceptions and false conclusions have no impact on God. He sees all the way it really is. His view defines what is really real. Our view is just a guess.