Thursday, September 11, 2008

This or That Side of the Line

I John 3:4 Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
That was simple. It would also follow that the "sin" done was done against the purveyor of the law. Sins exist in a hierarchy parallel to the governments which issue the laws. Whatever the case, sin is evidently law dependent. It can't even exist without a law. A line has to exist before I might cross it.
Romans 4:15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
Romans 5:13 .... sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

So sin is not a force. Sin is rebellion. And law is not the answer but the necessary cause. But the law is good. What sort of good? It is (in whatever realm of law) the measure of that realm's authority as to what is the wise extent of its citizens' freedom. This very rarely would align with the citizen's desires for his freedom. It is why the lawgiver has to say something and attach punishments to any violation. The law is only a measure of wisdom not a method.
Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose.

Christians the world over and through many centuries have had a dim view of sin. They naturally, when seeing sin, see the law that made it such and also see "this side of the line drawn" as holiness and the other as transgression. Correct thus far. We have erred in our definition of the problem and consequently we err in our attempts to stave off evil. We see ourselves traveling across the line into sin and so we attempt make the line a speed bump, then a fence, and then a wall and the a DMZ complete with concertina wire and land mines. The problem is not that the law and its punishments are not loud or vigorous enough but is the disconnect between our desires and the lawgiver's which brought the law into being.

We, in Christ, are being changed into His likeness. As the Holy Spirit works in us we are remade into His desires. The Christian is one who has found, like Christ, that God's design of His world is our new desire and His wisdom is becoming our wisdom.
Galatians 5:16 -18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

The Oracle is, to quote a prophet, one of your own (Outback Steakhouse commercials), "No rules, just right."

5 comments:

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Quoting Augustine again?

"Love God and do as you please."

Evan B. Wilson said...

Great minds...
I can't hep myself.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Two firsts in one day!

First you quoted Augustine, then you said he was a great mind.

Evan B. Wilson said...

Good morning Matt! It's a new day!
Many people are scary brilliant but live out their lives arranging their positional folly and error to look presentable.
My recommendation to Augustine is that he use his brilliance to reexamine his own view. Being called smart enough to arrange error into a cohesive whole is, at best, a backhanded compliment. It takes quite a mind to make the pieces fit but not resemble the picture on the box.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Well, your picture looks like his.