Summary: Second message in a Summer Sunday series drawn from the book "Christianish" by Mark Steele
Summer Sunday Series
Part 2- Sin & the Christianish
Last week we kicked off this Summer Sunday Series by asking, “Are you Christianish?” And by Christianish we mean having the appearance of Christianity (in certain areas of your life), but not necessarily the substance of Christianity in your heart. Being Christianish is when you do some of the things Christians are expected to do...especially in and around the church...but outside you’re something else entirely. It’s being Christian, sort of.
And we posed four big questions that you can ask yourself to help determine if you are Christianish:
• First, “Am I more concerned with being the kind of Christian others think I should be than I am with actually being like Jesus?”
• Next, “Have I compartmentalized my life to the extent that Who Jesus is affects part of my life, but leaves many areas essentially untouched?”
• Then, “Does my feeling of success as a Christian largely depend upon completing a checklist of rules and regulations?”
• And finally, “Do I think that by attending Sunday worship faithfully, paying tithe, and completing the checklist that I have fulfilled my Christian obligations?”
Then we looked at the story of some Christianish people in Acts 5...Annanias & Sapphira...and we learned that while they probably weren’t terrible people, being Christianish doesn’t end well. And we learned that it’s really important to measure our lives by the right standard, by the person of Jesus Christ.
Today we’re continuing this series by talking about something that I’m sure is going to prove to be equally popular and enjoyable; today we’re going to examine the subject of Sin & the Christianish.
I. Sin; What Is It?
When talking about something like sin, it’s always good to start out by making sure the audience is on the same page as you. After all, there are different ways of thinking about the concept of sin, and not all of them are spiritual or religious or Biblical. For instance, sin can be defined as “anything shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong.” (That’s according to thefreedictionary.com) So, certain actions or attitudes might be considered sins against society, or sins against the state, or sins against your culture...but since we’re addressing both Christians and the Christianish, we need to understand the concept of sin as it’s presented in the Bible.
Ok...from my understanding of the Scriptures...(and I freely admit I have a lot to learn)...the concept of “sin” as it’s presented in the Scripture has three different but related aspects.
First, the Bible presents sin as transgression of the Law of God. When the Bible says that you aren’t to do a certain thing, and you do it anyway, that’s sin. Conversely, not doing the good things the Law of God says to do is also presented as sin. So, sin is transgressing the Law of God, either by doing wrong or by failing to do good.
Second, the Bible presents sin as disobedience to God’s commands issued to our consciences. Now, you might think that this is the very same as the first, but it’s not. The Law of God was written and had limited parameters. But what about that little “spidey sense” that tells a person, “Don’t do this”? There may not be a specific written ordinance telling you not to do it, but violating that little inner voice that says, “Don’t!” is sin.
Third, the Bible presents sin as missing the mark, as in missing the target. It’s a term taken from the sport of archery; the archer aims at the target, but doesn’t hit what he’s aiming at. This aspect of sin has implications of effort; you’re trying to do the right thing, you’re trying not to disobey either the written Word or God’s command to your conscience, you’re aiming at the right mark. But, sometimes you miss. And the Scripture presents that as sin.
II. Sin & Culture
Alright…these are aspects of what the Bible presents as sin, but as I’ve already mentioned, every society and culture has its own mores and values, the violation of which is the cultural equivalent of sin. Each society and culture has certain taboos…things you shouldn’t say, things you shouldn’t do. And if you do them, well, things may not go well for you. Furthermore, these mores, values, and taboos may not be sin in the Biblical sense, or they may at times contradict Biblical injunctions.
For example; to certain Amazonian cultures ritual cannibalism is an accepted practice, which they think makes the victim’s strengths & abilities their own. This belief is part of their value system, yet, cannibalism is expressly forbidden in the Bible. Or, if you’d like an example from our own culture; our society has rejected the idea of absolute truth, and really looks down on those who insist on believing that some things are absolutely true. Yet, even though our culture rejects the idea of absolute truth, the Bible clearly teaches in terms of absolutes.