I ordinarily begin speaking about sin to a young, urban, non-Christian like this:
Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.
Why is this a good path to take?
First, this definition of sin includes a group of people that postmodern people are acutely aware of. Postmodern people rightly believe that much harm has been done by self-righteous religious people. If we say “sin is breaking God’s law” without a great deal of further explanation, it appears that the Pharisaical people they have known are ‘in’ and most other people are ‘out.’ Pharisees, of course, are quite fastidious in their keeping of the moral law, and therefore (to the hearer) they seem to be the very essence of what a Christian should be. An emphasis on idolatry avoids this problem. As Luther points out, Pharisees, while not bowing to literal idols, were looking to themselves and their moral goodness for their justification, and therefore they were actually breaking the first commandment. Their morality was self-justifying motivation and therefore spiritually pathological. At the bottom of all their law-keeping they were actually breaking the most fundamental law of all. When we give definitions and descriptions of sin to postmodern people, we must do so in a way that not only challenges prostitutes to change but also Pharisees. Read the rest of this entry »
I was listening to way of the master last week and was very taken by a section sent in by a listener to WOTMR, sent in this quote from “Hope Lutheran church – C F W Walter”
“There is a difference between the Law and the Gospel. All religions contain PART of the Law. Some of the heathen have advanced so far that they have even perceived the necessity to have a inner cleansing of the sole. Purification of thoughts and desires, but of the Gospel not a particle is found except in the Christian religion. The Law is written in their hearts, Their consciences bearing witness to them, but not the Gospel, this is why we need to go to the ends of the world. Had the Law not been written in men’s hearts, no one would listen to the preaching of the law. Everyone would turn away and say “That is too cruel, no body can keep the commandments, such as these!” But my friends do not hesitate to preach the Law, people may revile it but they only do so with there mouths, but what you say to them is the things that there conscience is preaching to them everyday! [Unless God has let them go, and that is a terrifying thought…] Nor could we convert any person by preaching to him unless we preach the law to him first. It would be imposable to convert any one if the Law had not been written in men’s hearts.”Read the rest of this entry »