Today is Part One of a Double Dose. Here we go . . .
Our perception of rating sin in levels of severity has always been an intriguing aspect to me of Western-thought Christianity. If we, as an individual, or a certain church, deem certain sins as idolatry, while others as socially acceptable, we have begun to factor out God and “rated” our own sin. The issue here is that the concept is diametrically opposed to Scripture, and to be blunt, mimics Satan in telling God we now know what is best for us.
Being a teacher of Scripture, vocally and digitally, I pray for analogies to better understand and communicate these concepts. Here’s one to help us re-think, and hopefully re-shape, the “sin rating” idea. Tomorrow will be a slightly different spin.
Let’s say you’re married and you believe it is a happy, healthy, monogamous relationship. One day, the truth comes to light. Your wife is having, not one, but three affairs. You confront her with the evidence of all three men, their names, and the details. You ask her to please give an explanation before you look up the number for a lawyer. You desperately want to understand what has happened and what she’s thinking.
Applying the “sin rating” concept here, your wife says, “Well, baby, this is not at all as bad as it looks. Let me explain. Man #1 here—he’s a Christian, goes to church, loves his family, and is just an amazing guy. Everyone likes him. You would to. He’s really popular. So, honestly, can you blame me for falling for him? Many have. Many do. In fact, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. Just sayin’.”
She continues, “Now, Man #2, I’ll admit he looks a little shady and talks really nasty, but he’s really not as bad as he appears. A little rough, yes, but deep down, a good man. If I’m careful, this affair won’t get out of hand, because he’s not all bad, there is some good there for me.”
Her explanation goes on, “As for Man #3, alright, I’ll admit, he’s just a male stripper I picked up. I’m just one of hundreds of women. He’s nothing special. In fact, pure trash. He really doesn’t do anything for me, except for eye candy and momentary satisfaction.”
Finally, she concludes, “So, in light of what I’ve told you, here’s what I’ll do: I’ll repent and give up Man #3. I’ll only occasionally see Man #2, but I promise to be careful and not let it get out of hand. But, as for Man #1, please just allow me this relationship and look the other way, ignore it, because it’s really no big deal to keep it going. I just enjoy him too much, so how could it really be that bad? . . . You good with this, Sweetie? Give up #3, #2 in moderation, and #1 is all grace and, honestly, no big deal to anyone to have an affair with him these days anyway.”
How would you deal with this? You write the ending to this one. Then apply it to God viewing my sin—and yours.
Now what is our response to be? Shall we sin to our heart’s content and see how far we can exploit the grace of God? What a ghastly thought! We, who have died to sin—how could we live in sin a moment longer? Have you forgotten that all of us who were baptised into Jesus Christ were, by that very action, sharing in his death? We were dead and buried with him in baptism, so that just as he was raised from the dead by that splendid Revelation of the Father’s power so we too might rise to life on a new plane altogether. If we have, as it were, shared his death, let us rise and live our new lives with him! Let us never forget that our old selves died with him on the cross that the tyranny of sin over us might be broken—for a dead man can safely be said to be immune to the power of sin. And if we were dead men with him we can believe that we shall also be men newly alive with him. We can be sure that the risen Christ never dies again—death’s power to touch him is finished. He died, because of sin, once: he lives for God for ever. In the same way look upon yourselves as dead to the appeal and power of sin but alive and sensitive to the call of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. —Romans 6:1-11 (Phillips)