The concept of sin has fallen out of favor as a serious word in much of today’s world. Witness how sin is used as a marketing ploy: “Sinful Designer Clothing,” “Shop Sinful Apparel,” “Sinful Inflictions—Custom Tatoos.” Sin makes the occasional appearance on dessert menus: “Chocolate Decadence”, “Peanut Butter Binge,” “Velvet Cake Indulgence.” “Sin City” is a nickname that Las Vegas uses in a calculated way to lure in tourists from around the world, along with the corresponding motto, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Despite the fact that “sin” is not taken seriously by many, virtually everyone agrees that our world is a mess. Nearly all of us can agree that the world as it presently operates is not as it is supposed to be! Whenever we cry out “That’s not fair!” we implicitly admit that we expect the universe to adhere to a certain code of elusive justice.
Here is where the world imagined in Scripture can be a tremendous resource for better understanding why we do what we do. The Biblical story describes how the Creator God made the world and designated humans as stewards of creation. We mortals then decided we could do a better job of managing our lives by living independently of God and according to our own wisdom. The results, as we all can attest, have been disastrous. Scripture describes this willful rebellion against God as Sin. What exactly is sin? Cornelius Plantinga describes it this way:
The Bible presents sin by way of major concepts, principally lawlessness and faithlessness, expressed in an array of images: sin is the missing of a target, a wandering from the path, a straying from the fold. Sin is a hard heart and a stiff neck. Sin is blindness and deafness. It is both the overstepping of a line and the failure to reach it — both transgression and shortcoming. Sin is a beast crouching at the door…. Sin is disruption of created harmony and then resistance to divine restoration of that harmony. Above all, sin disrupts and resists the vital human relation with God…
But sin doesn’t have to have the last word. The story of Scripture outlines God’s tenacious and enduring efforts to reclaim us for his own, heal us of our spiritual maladies, redeem us from our addictions, and empower us to live the abundant life he designed us for. During our 40-Day Spiritual adventure, our sermons will explore “The Faces of Sin,” taking seriously what Scripture has to say about the dynamics of sin as well as God’s response to sin. By giving our sustained attention to the ever-present and multi-dimensional reality of sin in the world and in our lives, I pray that two things may grow in our hearts: a keen sense of our deep need for God’s merciful grace and overflowing gratitude for God’s enduring love toward us through Jesus Christ.