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If the Son of God came to earth as a human being to die as a substitute for us paying for our own sins (and He did!), then sin should be an important issue for those who profess to follow Jesus Christ. It isn’t a popular message, but it’s a very important subject to understand for those who want to draw closer to God.
Many people are moving away from traditional Christianity. Adherents to Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are on the rise. Even the number of people claiming to be self-proclaimed witches, jumped from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001 and is even more numerous now. Barry Kosmin, one of the researchers involved in the survey, concludes, “More people see religious identity as a recreational option.”
In response to this religious pluralism, mainstream Christianity is experiencing profound changes. Considerations of political correctness and the wish to accommodate personal lifestyles are leading to picking and choosing which biblical teachings to emphasise. Some religious teachers even preach that the gospel of Christ negates any need for laws—especially those contained in the Old Testament.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus plainly stated His position on the law: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled...Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17,19).
Jesus Christ taught He didn’t come to abrogate divine law. Rather, He came to expound and exemplify the spiritual intent of God’s law. Notice His words in Matthew 5:21-22: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Christ continued the theme in verses 27- 28 adding: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The apostle Paul, whose writings emphasize God’s grace, also clearly shows God defines sin by means of His law. “Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’” (Romans 7:7)
When we understand the spirit of the Ten Commandments, we realize that when someone commits murder, the sin had already taken root in the person’s mind before the act. The spirit of the law exposes hatred and malice, covetousness and lust, which are aspects of the heart and mind. The spirit of the law isn’t a list of wrong actions, but reveals the motivating thoughts and emotions that cause the actions.
Sin is a selfish state of mind seated in our natural desires. That’s why Paul writes in Romans 8:7 that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
For us to find real solutions to our problems and genuine healing of our heartaches, we all have to face what God says about sin in our lives.
The Good News Magazine