Letters To Tomi: On the subject of sin
My dearest Tomi,
I’m very delighted to hear that my last letter is beginning to help redefine your perspective on love. I trust that you’ve been good. I thought I should share some thoughts on what our evangelicals constantly harp about. Some preachers, it seems, over emphasise it, and others under emphasise it. How come we keep threatening people with fervent heat when Jesus kept telling us that ‘your sins are forgiven’?
Ever wondered what sin really is? Is it just not drinking? Or not fornicating? Or not stealing? Or not killing? Or not lying? Is it any of these? All of these? None of these? Could ‘morality’ be all there is to living rightly? The main words used in Hebrew that have been translated to mean sin are majorly ‘chata’, ‘pesha’ and ‘avon’. The Greek word translated to mean sin in the New Testament is ‘hamartia’. The Hebrew and Greek words ‘chata’ and ‘hamartia’ respectively, connote the same meaning, which is to ‘miss the mark’. It conveys the picture of an archer who shoots an arrow but doesn’t get the bullseye. While, the Hebrew words ‘pesha’ and ‘avon’ basically infer a trespassing. Doing what you’re not supposed to be doing or being where you’re not supposed to be.
From this understanding, here is how I often like to define sin, I see it on one level as fulfilling a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way. Eating isn’t wrong, it’s just that Adam and Eve weren’t permitted to eat the ‘forbidden’ fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Like I saw someone openly ask on twitter, about why is sex an issue when it’s the means to procreate and continue life on earth. Simple! Sex isn’t bad, it’s just wrong outside the confines of marriage.
On an advanced level, it’s not really about doing ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the moral sense of it, but about living to attain the mark (of the high calling) of God. I believe this was contained in Paul’s message when he mentioned that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It’s not that all have acted immorally per se, but all (not one exempted) have missed the mark with God. That’s why the only way we can appear righteously before God is to put on the righteousness of Jesus (for at best, ours are as filthy rags). (See Romans 13:11-14 and Isaiah 64:6.)
Although, this isn’t exhaustive, I trust that my little note on this subject would equip you to better understand this concept when next you’re talking about it. Would love to receive feedback on your thoughts about this matter. Until the next time, keep being that leading light as you live the God-life. I love you to smithereens and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Yours with a quill,
Image from www.idisciple.org