Friday, August 9, 2019

Treason Against God

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

The history of David’s fall provides an ideal place for us to stop and take a longer look at the biblical doctrine of sin. Beginning today and through next week we shall examine man’s sinfulness in several dimensions.

One of the best definitions of sin comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Answer 14: “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” (The word "want" means “lack.”) . The beauty of this description of sin is threefold. 

First it refers us to the law of God, which describes His own personal character. Thus, it measures sin by a standard and provides us with a very practical way to understand any deviation from it.

Second, it identifies sin as a lack of something. Sin is a negative. It involves a rejection of God’s holy character. The words we use for sin clearly bring this out. Notice how each of the following words is formed by negating another word: unlawful, lawless, unrighteousness, irreverence, unholiness, disobedience, ungodliness, uncleanness, antichrist. In Greek, the root meaning of the word for sin means “missing the mark.” Romans 3:23 speaks of falling short of God’s glory.

In Genesis 1, God announced that everything He created was, like Himself, good. Thus, it takes a good creature to commit a sin. Sin has no independent existence; it is a perversion of something good. But, if we go too far with the idea that sin is a lack of goodness, we might wind up saying that sin does not exist at all, and there is nothing to worry about. The Christian Science cult, for instance, maintains that sin is merely an illusion. In contrast, Christians confess that sin is an active transgression of God’s law. Sin is cosmic treason.

People are real, and the sins committed by people are also real. Because man is the very image of God Himself, human sin is a powerful thing. Sin in the abstract does not have an existence as some kind of substance, but sinful people definitely have an existence. Sin is real in the sense that sinful people are real, and sin is disastrous because it is nothing less than the image of God that is committing cosmic treason.

Look up Psalm 8. Read it carefully, reflecting on the greatness of man as the vice-regent of all creation. Then consider what it means for this greatness to be perverted by man’s willful rebellion against God. Strive to see your own sins in this light. Determine not to be so ready to make excuses for yourself.