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Dealing With Sin(S)

The work of Christ  was aimed toward humankinds universal brokenness…not simply toward some laundry list of “sinS” that usually includes everything we don’t do (or hide the fact that we do).

The cross aims toward our “SIN” (no ‘S’ at the end of the word). Those who make is a laundry list of “sinS” ARE (biblically) redefining “sin” for their own socio/political/theological/control issues.

Sins (with the S) are expressions of our universal brokenness. That you and I commit one or more of these “sins” is undeniably true.  Your personal list may be different from the next guy or gal. The problem begins (theologically and practically) the moment we begin quantifying or qualifying the other persons SINS as somehow worse than our own.  That may make you feel good, holy, righteous, justified, and more godly than the next person, but feeling that was does not make it so…it just makes you a Pharisee.

The fact is that the cross of Christ includes everyone (universally) under its grace. It is aimed toward SIN.  The Baptizer said of Jesus, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the SIN (no S) of the world.”

Responding to God’s gracious acts in dealing with our SIN problem is not a process of fixing ourselves morally.  If we could do that, we’d not need the cross.  A faith response toward God’s universal grace has to do with a biblical word:  metanoia.  This Greek word is often MISTANSLATED to mean “repentance.”  The actual word “repentance” (as we define it in western thought and theology) does not actually appear in the New Testament.

The biblical idea of metanoia involves us being changed by an awareness of God’s love and grace.  It involves us discovering that no matter who we are or what our LIST of “sinS” might be, we are still liked, loved, accepted, included and adopted by PAPA (Jesus word for his Father).  Not only by Papa, though, but by the entire Holy Trinity.  God’s grace, expressed by God the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, mediates the blessings of grace toward all.  When we “Metanoia” our lives are being change by the Triune God’s revelation of grace toward us.

Metanoia means that we are coming to understand that we are included by the Holy Trinity into “perichoresis” (the Divine dance). It means that we have come to understand that we have a place at the family table with all the other SINNERS because the problem of SIN has been forever and irrevocably dealt with by God, in Christ, at the cross.  “God was in Christ, reconciling the world, NOT COUNTING OUR SINS AGAINST US!”

Now, since this is the GOSPEL (and it is the “finished work of Christ”), the church’s message is not to judge, condemn, and exclude.  Rather (to complete the verse quoted above) “…He (God) has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”  That ministry of reconciliation (as with the work of Christ) will also not “count sins” against people.

The great hindrance of the church today is that is too often “counts sins” rather than declaring grace.

This  is ancient Biblical truth.  It is the “Apostle’s doctrine and teaching” that has been lost by misunderstandings of the scriptures, of grace, and by its adherence to views of God and  theories of atonement which  falsely understand God as a vindictive judge whose anger must be appeased, rather than a loving Papa, whose grace was reveal to us in the Eternal Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is not an EXCUSE for sinS.  Rather it is an honest realization that we all fall prey to “sins.”  It candidly acknowledges that we are all addicted to some expression of human “sins” because  we do not realize and believe the awesome truth that God’s grace really has healed us.

In any case, our  addiction to these “sins” cannot be overcome in us by self effort.  Nor can this addiction in others be overcome by  harsh judgment and exclusion by the church.  The process of overcoming these SINS is called “sanctification.”  It is a life-long process by the Holy Spirit who comes to us to reveal the truth that we have been made righteous, holy, and acceptable by God, in Christ.  As the Fourth Gospel declares, the Holy Spirit convicts us of “righteousness.”  The Spirit’s work is not to be some sort of sin litmus test to determine if we are “up to snuff.”  Rather the Spirit’s work is aimed toward helping us become fully aware of the loving nature of God and inclusive grace of the cross.  The Spirit does not tell us to live right so we can be right with God.  The Spirit teaches us we are right with God so that we can start living right.

We are not called to live FOR God by our efforts, by FROM God – from the resources of God’s grace, love, accepted, inclusion, and adoption.  This can ONLY happen as we realize the truth we really have a place at the table of the Holy Trinity.  With respect, to think otherwise discounts Christ and the work of God at the cross. The purpose of the church is to be an expression of God’s grace in Christ in the here and now.  We are an earthly witness of what the Kingdom of God (God’s table – God’s party) really looks like.

Unfortunately, there are many churches, denominations, and professing Christians whose reaction to the “sinS” of others is judgment, condemnation, and exclusion.  These actions and attitudes hinders the church from being fully able to declare good news.  It brings law into the mix.  It advances legalism over grace.  It causes our ministry and proclamation to paint a picture of God that is different that that revealed in Jesus Christ.

God does not demand that you live upright lives that are prim, proper, and predictable.  Rather, God invites you into the embrace of grace…its the Divine Dance of the Holy Trinity, so that you will more fully perceive the truth that you are liked, loved, accepted, included, and adopted.  Once we get that…living right will no longer seem like an obligation, but an opportunity to express LOVE to the world.  The Christian life is not about God dictating some thing(s) we HAVE to do, but rather it is about the Holy Spirit’s work of changing what we WANT to do.

 

Jesus and the Undoing of Adam
by: C. Baxter Kruger
publisher: Perichoresis, Inc., published: 2007-09-01
ASIN: 0964546558
EAN: 9780964546554
sales rank: 112575
price: $5.53 (new), $4.89 (used)

Jesus and the Undoing of Adam is straight from the heart of St. Athanasius and the early Church. In this short but powerful book, Dr. Baxter Kruger takes us back behind the back of Augustine to rethink the work of Jesus Christ in the light of the blessed doctrine of the Trinity. Dr. Kruger sets forward a stunning vision of the Triune God and articulates a view of Christ’s incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension that is rigorously consistent with the truth that the Triune God eternally purposed our adoption in Jesus Christ.

C. BAXTER KRUGER is the Director of Perichoresis, an international ministry sharing the good news of our adoption in Christ with the world. He and his wife Beth have been married for 25 years and have four children. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree under Professor James B. Torrance in Aberdeen, Scotland. Baxter is the author of seven books, including The Great Dance and Across All Worlds, and teaches across the United States, Canada and Australia. He is an avid outdoorsman and holds two United States patents for his fishing lure designs. He is the founder and President of Mediator Lures.

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