Be the Bee #38 | What is Sin?
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Be the Bee #38 | What is Sin?

August 19, 2019


Hey everybody this is Steve and sin isn’t exactly what you think it is. We usually think about sin as breaking a rule, “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” And lots of people talk about sin as if God gives us a really long list of Dos and Don’ts. And if we do the wrong thing, we get punished. But it’s a little more complicated than that. The word early Christians used for “Sin” is “Amartia.” That’s a Greek word, from the sport of archery, and it means, “missing the mark.” Sin, as the Church tends to talk about it, is a kind of falling short, missing our target. As Christians, what are we aiming for? The answer to that depends on how we approach God: whether it’s as slaves, servants, or children. Let’s see what Blessed Theophylact, an important bishop and commentator on the Bible, has to say about this, “There are three ranks of those who are being saved. The first kind are like slaves who do what is good because they fear the judgment. The second kind, who are like hired servants, are those who are eager to serve God because of their desire for the reward of good things, but if they are of the third kind, that is, if they are sons, they keep His commandments out of love for God.” We approach God like slaves when our main motivation is staying out of hell. We approach God like hired servants when our main motivation is getting into heaven. And we approach God like His children when our main motivation is love. So does this mean rules aren’t important? Not exactly. But it does mean that as we progress in
our spiritual lives we change the way we look at rules, and sin. That progress shifts our attention, so stop worrying about the darkness, and
instead start focusing on the light. It also changes the way we see things. So when we approach God like slaves, we obey Him in order to avoid getting punished. When we go from thinking like slaves to thinking like servants, that doesn’t mean we stop being afraid. But that fear shifts, we stop being afraid of hell, and instead are afraid of missing out on heaven, which is amazing. A negative kind of fear, which pushes us away from hell, becomes a positive kind of fear, that pulls us toward heaven, towards our reward. And when we progress even further, when we stop thinking like servants
start thinking like children, that doesn’t mean we stop wanting a reward. But the reward is different: we’re not so much interested in heaven, a prize, a thing, we’re interested in God. It’s God Himself we love. We want to be near Him, we want to get
closer to Him, He’s all that matter. We still worry about the consequences of our sins, but it’s not fear of punishment: It’s fear that the most important relationship in our lives will be damaged. We fear, not because we’re afraid of God, but because we’re afraid of being without Him. That’s how the saints live, and how we can live, too. And one saint in particular comes to mind as an incredible example of this: Saint Porphyrios. In “Wounded by Love,” St. Porphyrios is having a conversation towards the end of his life. And he’s talking about what he expects will happen after he dies. He confessed that he was worried about his sins. He feared that, when he encountered God, God would say he didn’t belong there. And the great saint had something very simple, and very powerful, to say to that, “I am not worthy, Lord, to be here, but do for me whatever your love wishes.” St. Porphyrios was humble enough to be aware of all the ways that he had sinned. But he wasn’t afraid of punishment. He just wanted to be close to God, to submit himself entirely to His will. He accepted God’s invitation, and
approached Him like a child. But that doesn’t mean that sin and rules were irrelevant to his life. You see, the Saints aren’t above the rules. They follow all the Dos and Don’ts we think of when we talk about sin. It’s just that they’re too busy being His children, too busy loving God to notice. So let’s Be the Bee, and draw closer to God our Father, as His children. Be the Bee, and Live Orthodoxy! Remember to Like and Subscribe. I’ll see you all next week!

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  1. thank you very much for this =) That was a very clear way of explaining something I probably really needed explained =) Btw, totally started reading "Wounded by Love" because I saw it here and it is amazing <3 thank you for introducing me to that as well =) This video was really helpful =)

  2. 1 John 3:4
    4  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

  3. What teachers of the law do not understand is that sin has always been the same but the point they are missing is that definitions of sin change with historical context and with the method used by God to deal with sin. They seem utterly oblivious to these changes revealed by the Bible narrative. They have not discerned that man has changed
    because his capacity to understand and reason has evolved exponentially over time in direct relation to his spiritual
    development. 

    For instance, you don't deal with sin the same way with a child as with an adult  It would be absurd to treat a child the same way as an adult. Likewise, it would be absurd to treat an adult the same way as a child. Yet this is exactly what Adventists are advocating. No you change the method according to capacity. A child has to be told what to do because it does not have the capacity to reason from cause to effect. An adult, however, does have the capacity and can reason from cause
    to effect and does not have to be told what to do. 

    The Israelites when they came out of Egypt were at an elementary level of development and God had to relate to them at their level of development. Under the old covenant God ordained that the Law against sin, minister to the law of sin working in the flesh and punish its outworking — like children who had to be told what to do and like children they had to be punished if they did it. That's one reason why Paul called the Law a schoolmaster. By contrast, under the new covenant, God ordained that His Spirit minister to the law working in our spirit, as those who have "come of age" (and can reason and can apply faith). The Spirit of God relates to the law of the spirit in our mind and empowers us to
    rule over the flesh.

    The law "bore fruit for death" whereas the spirit always "bears fruit for God" (Rom 74,5) Whilst it is true that the nature of
    sin has not changed but the method of dealing with sin has changed.

    Under law we learn that God is concerned with unrighteous and criminal outward behaviour. Hence, we find sin is defined by law against unlawful (unrighteous and criminal) behaviour. By contrast, under grace (or the spirit) we learn that God is concerned with the inner intents and purposes of the heart — the spirit of the mind. We learn that this is the source of sin and that unless the source is changed the fruit will remain the same, law or no law. The ministry of the Spirit is not about dealing with wrong behaviour; it is about dealing with wrong thinking. And it is life-changing. That's why we are commanded not to serve God by the old way of the written code of ten commandments but by the new way of the spirit empowered by Christ's Spirit of Grace. It is the difference between spiritual death in Adam and spiritual life in Christ (Rom 7:6). It is the difference between failure and success in overcoming
    sin.

    The Spirit operates by the unwritten (obviously, spiritual) law of love. When you are Love you cannot sin and you cannot go around taking God's name in vain, dishonouring parents, murdering your neighbour, stealing his wife and possessions and telling lies about him, etc. etc Why? Because Love fulfils the requirement of the old law (which was in essence "Don't do wrong") not just by not doing wrong but by DOING RIGHT (Gal 5:14). Law is about not doing wrong. Love is about much more than not doing wrong, it is about doing  the very opposite — doing right.

    Think about a serial killer. If we whip this guy, put him in jail, cut off his  hands, or punish him in any number of harsh ways, can he stop killing? No. The law is incapable of changing someone's heart. Putting such a person behind bars for life may be the right thing to  do for a just punishment and even corporal punishment (and not least  to protect society), but it can't change this man's heart. Even if the only thing I've ever done that was wrong was lie, I still cannot stop lying or be clear in my conscience if you beat me a thousand times or tell me to stop lying because lying is against the law.

    Men who are given to lust will not stop lusting no matter how many times you tell them it's wrong or tell them that they are hurting another person. The law is incapable of doing  that and has actually has the opposite effect. See Romans 6, 7, and 8.

    What Jesus came to do was to give us grace through His Holy Spirit through faith. By repenting of our sins, we are cleared in our conscience by the blood of Jesus and set free from both sin and the law by His Holy Spirit to serve God in the freedom of the spirit. We can walk out the righteousness of the law without having a rigorous set of rules that was, in any case, unable to save us or set us free.  That is the message of the Gospel. 

    The  OT law was harsh and NT states this. These ordinances were nailed to the cross. We are set free from that into the law  of liberty so that we are no longer flesh-driven but spirit-led.

  4. America watch out " This Young Man has been Touched by God " to bring the word and the Oxthodox Church to America" so glad for our kids, finally a Godly Mentor. Thank you.

  5. Understanding sin now but what is punishment? Is it simply that we will go to hell. I've always struggled with this thought.

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