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!