Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Study Sins

The last time I went to the surgeon to have my dislocating shoulders examined, he called over a gaggle of interns to take turns sticking their finger into the strange, genetically-transferred gap at the top of my arm. This was a teaching hospital, don’t you know.  I didn’t mind as long as it helped these interns learn to spot the problem in somebody else.

To properly train a doctor, you have to show him the disease, not just the cure. That is why I think it is helpful to pay careful attention to what the Bible identifies as a sin. This avoids false-diagnoses. Our culture may think cutting a tree down is a sin, but that is only the case if you trespassed onto your neighbour’s property first. Studying sin also helps us to identify actions that we are tempted to accept as mere foibles or personality traits. Aunt Gernie is sinning when she gossips, not just “doing what old Aunt Gernie has always done.”

So, take time to study the sins of the Bible.  A great place to begin is the Prison Epistles like Colossians or Ephesians. Paul takes the time to tell those saints specific actions that are sins.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
(Colossians 3:5-9 ESV)

Do you know what each of these sins is? Can you define them and explain them to yourself? They are important enough that you will be held accountable for them.

So, take some time and study sins. It will help to focus your life and your relationships.