Both Sin and Law are terms with no religious connotation. These terms are more legal than religious. The law of combustion makes it impossible for anyone to touch a hot stove, without burning fingers. This has got nothing to do with whether the person would be religious or not. This is just as the law of gravity needs to be considered, if injury is to be avoided.
The above title, recorded in 1 John 3:4, is too general, more than most people assume. In His creation, God instituted laws to govern everything He created. The pro-genitive laws make it impossible for a dog to produce a human being, or vice versa. A mango tree cannot produce a pawpaw fruit. Confusion is a result of lacking order or lawlessness, which can be interchanged for sin.
All troubles are caused by violation of God’s laws. Even human laws can cause serious troubles. For instance, disregarding a red traffic light can cause a fatal accident. What is agreed and adopted institutionally is law, violation of which produces negative consequences.
The incident at the Garden of Eden caused challenges that humanity faces today. God’s Word is law, the violation of which is sin. The couple had been given specific instruction, not to eat a particular tree. However, they went against that instruction and ate, violating God’s word, which was law.
The law governing the forbidden tree was that when eaten, it would bring spiritual death for all humanity. The man’s relationship with God was terminated at the point of violating that law. Adam, representing all humanity, died at the point of eating what they had been instructed not to eat (Genesis 2:17).
We are dead, as long as God’s Spirit is not with us. Even a baby is born dead, because of Adam’s sin. Anything that is alive is controlled by God, but subject to decomposition, as soon as it loses life, whose chief regulator is God.
When a tree is dead, unable to germinate, it either decomposes or is burnt to nothing. Anything that is alive would be connected to God, the only author of all life. After having lost its life, that species vanishes, either by fertilizing the soil, or feeding other surviving species.
For instance, a live animal displays its characteristics according to how it was created. The meat in butchery, no longer behaves like a live animal. The death of an animal is not a result of sin. God’s law requires that some animals be there for human consumption. Yet, human death confirms separating humanity from God, in whose image they were created.
Many laws govern human existence, whose safety is attached to God’s laws, validating humanity’s Godly image. For our survival, God’s laws are necessary. Many laws can be discovered scientifically, like laws of gravity, inertia, etc. But the Holy Bible has various other laws, regulating human survival.
When Jesus declared being the way the truth and the life, He meant that everything He said ought to be taken as law. Jesus is authority on issues of human survival. When Jesus stated that He did not come to abolish the law, He meant that God’s laws could not be violated randomly (Matthew 5:17-20. This is where some of the proponents of grace miss it.
They take the teachings of Paul out of context and assume that it is possible to violate God’s laws and still receive salvation through grace. The most important thing in this life is to avoid deviation from the truth. Jesus said, only the truth sets people free (John 8:32).
Of course, we cannot invalidate the grace of Jesus, who died for our sins, past present and future. But, grace leads us to freedom from sin. Having received grace, means that the person has accepted deliverance from sin. That person becomes new creation and is free from the supervision of the law. That person thinks like God, so as not to continue indulging in sin. John agrees (1 John 2:4-6).
The person may occasionally fall into sinful habits, but he/she is a new creation, repenting time and again, towards perfection. If truly convicted in God’s word, the person gets preoccupied with the things of God, so that, eventually he/she becomes free from all sinful activities. Grace is not a license to remain in sin. I suppose Paul sufficiently stressed this point in Romans 7.
The difference between Moses’ law and Jesus’ law is that in Moses we have the letter of the law, while in Jesus we have the intent, which is spiritual. The letter is technical and needs supervision, while the spirit is natural and operates under freedom.
For instance, if the law given to Moses is that you shall not kill. In Jesus you have conviction not to kill, not because the Law says you should not kill. The supervisor is your conscience, not necessarily what is written in the law. Jesus provides what an ideal person, without sin is like, as created in God’s image. That person is operating under freedom, which is of the mind [see here].
There are only three reasons why converted people engage in sin. The first is ignorance. Such people do not know what they do. They may declare that they love Jesus, but said out of ignorance, not out of sincerity. Accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior implies surrendering everything. All other interests are forgone, in favor of Jesus’ word.
The second reason is deception, inevitable among most Christians. Jesus, actually, predicted that in the last days, there would be such deceptions (Matthew 24:5, 24). The only difference, as compared with the first, is that the deceived are sincere in supposing they would be right. Such falsehoods include the prosperity gospel (1Timothy 6:3-10).
The third and last reason is in being used as agents of the devil, deceiving others, for personal gains. Those people may use sorcery to perform miracles, but pretending to represent Christ, and being identified as ‘men of God’ (Matthew 24:24).
Their fruits of unrighteousness fulfills what Christ described as weeds (Matthew 13:24-30). However, ignorance is chief, among what leads to such sinful deceptions. While deceiving others, the deceivers would also be under the deception of the devil.
The easiest way of avoiding sin, is to understand and obey God’s Laws. Sin is facilitated by sensual desires of the flesh, chief among which is pride, the seed of all evil. But pride is hidden and extremely difficult to discover. Most people preach about pride, but unable to effectively eliminate pride in their own lives?
Without appreciating fully, what humility implies, it is impossible for anyone to attend to the problem of pride. The works of Jesus display what humility implies. This is why it is necessary to carefully analyze the works of Jesus, leading to the cross.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard” (Hebrews 2:1-3) (ESV).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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