When asking people to define sin, here are some common responses.
- It is breaking the 10 Commandments. If that’s the case, most Christians are not keeping the Sabbath holy when they do any work on Saturdays. Yet, that happens all the time. You see, we are not under the authority of the 10 Commandments since we died to this on the cross with Jesus. So, this doesn’t define sin for us. Your “husband,” your master, used to be the Jewish law; but you “died,” as it were, with Christ on the cross; and since you are “dead,” you are no longer “married to the law,” and it has no more control over you. Then you came back to life again when Christ did and are a new person. And now you are “married,” so to speak, to the one who rose from the dead, so that you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God (Romans 7:4 TLB).
- Doing bad things such as lying, stealing, adultery, etc. Those are descriptions of “negative” sins, but did you know there are “positive sins” also? More on that in a moment.
We could list many more of these, but let’s look at how the Bible defines sin. The only Biblical definition is found in Romans 14:23b. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Anytime we are not relying on Christ in us, we are sinning. Pause and let that sink in for a moment.
This definition is easy to understand when we commit a “negative” sin but much more difficult when we commit a “positive” sin. For example, if we serve God but do not rely on Christ in us, that is a sin. If we try to live for Jesus but do not depend on Christ in us, that is a sin. If we give away $10,000 to the poor but do not rely on Christ in us, that is a sin. People may still be ministered to and blessed by any of these, but in our Father’s opinion, they amount to nothing.
The New Covenant is always about faith. We are saved by grace through faith, and we are to live by grace through faith according to Colossians 2:6. And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him TLB. Does this mean obedience, good work, and service don’t matter? Of course, not. They all count and are essential. We want to do these by faith, relying on Christ in us.
When my oldest son, Andrew, was in the seventh grade, we were walking around the block, and I said, “Andrew when you take your tests in school, you need to rely on Christ in you to take your test through you.” I could tell that Andrew was thinking about this for a moment, then he smiled and asked, “Does that mean I don’t have to study?” I laughed and responded by saying, “Yes, you still need to study, but even then, you need to rely on Jesus to do the studying through you.”
This week, rely on Christ to do everything through you. That will please your Heavenly Father, though it will not cause Him to love you any more than He already does.
If you do this, does it mean everything you do will turn out positive or great? Also, does it mean we will feel Him living through us? Not necessarily for any of those but trust Him in you anyway. What if things get worse when I do this? Persevere! You might be experiencing spiritual resistance. If so, don’t start retreating; instead, keep repeating that you still rely on Christ in you.
The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 11:6a, Without faith it is impossible to please God. So choose to rely on Christ in you this week in all you do, whether it’s trivial, troublesome, or terrific!
© Mark Maulding (But feel free to share this.)