Let God be true and every man a liar - Sin
Now that that has been established, we can also frame sin as essentially anything that displeases or goes against God. From the time of Genesis 3 when sin entered the world to our modern times sin, all men have sinned. The lineage of Eve is as the psalmist David says in Psalm 51:5 born into sin. A good explanation of this I once heard is that you never have to teach children how to do the wrong thing, and yet every good parent works hard to teach their children to do the right thing. How else do you explain this except by acknowledging man’s inherently sinful nature?
Don’t get me wrong, we were not created sinful. No, we and the rest of creation were very much “good” (Genesis 1:31) when created but when the serpent whispered to Eve in the garden and asked if God really told Adam that they would die if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and she listened to him…that sinless nature was no more. Many people think this could not possibly apply to them because they believe they are good people and do not do the “really wrong” things like violent crime or partying and drunkenness but in reality when you enquire, you tend to find they are applying a self-righteous gloss to themselves and ignoring sin (or a fall from God’s standards) in their lives. Remember, just because you sin differently from another person, you’re not off the hook.
When the scriptures says all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory it does quite literally mean that EVERY HUMAN BEING since Adam and Eve has at some point failed to meet God’s divine standard of holiness and righteousness. And if you have sinned, you deserve death. It may sound harsh, but the wages (or penalty) for all sin is in fact still death (Romans 6:23). Many think their good works and law abiding, peaceful nature etc. is enough to free them from the penalty of their sins. They think they can do enough right so that it outweighs whatever sins they might commit. This is also a self-righteous gloss as humanity has been there, done that and failed. Which brings us to the next aspect of our discussion, the Law of Moses.
The Bandaid aka the Law of Moses
Before I get into this one, allow me to be clear once again. I’m not saying that the Law of Moses are irrelevant to Christians, as Romans 1-3 make plain, the law is our clue as to what God’s standard of holiness and righteousness is. However; it cannot save you. I’m not Jesus but I will die on this hill. The Law of Moses is not and was never intended to be or grant man kind salvation and a slavish adherence to it as if it can save you is a misunderstanding of its role and what Jesus did on the cross amongst much else. You can fight me if you want to, but that’s straight Bible, tek it up with Jesus (translation: take it up with Jesus.)
As I have already said, the Law serves as an indication of what God’s standards for holiness and righteousness look like. But this was not the only purpose for the Law. It was also key to the Hebrew identity as the chosen people of God, abiding by it kept them (or was intended to) separate and distinct from the world’s ungodly people who did not yet have the opportunity to relate with the one true God in the same way. Another major role of the Law as I have understood it, was to act as a kind of bandaid. It was a way to treat with the sins of the people (via the various sacraments and sacrifices) while God rolled out the various events of time and history that would facilitate the entry of Jesus to do the final work of defeating sin, death and the grave so that we could be saved.
It was only ever temporary and the stories of ancient Israel make that plain. They (especially the Priests) had to constantly perform various rituals to deal with their sins. This aspect of the Law included everything from physical cleanliness and circumcision in the Temple complex to a whole host of fasts and sacrifices of the most choice animals they had access to. They could not keep up, time after time Israel failed to keep God’s law and much blood was shed, from amongst the people and even that of enemies due to their disobedience. Time after time we see God come within a hair of wiping them out and starting again, but in His grace and mercy He holds back and accepts the established means of atonement for their many failures.
If the first chosen people of God couldn’t do enough right to blot out their sin what makes you think you can? Clearly, our Father God knew that this system was not sustainable. He had every intention of bringing to pass the word He had sent to the people through many prophets – a messiah was coming to conquer sin, hell, death and the grave on the behalf of all of mankind. He would be the propitiation of our sins, a final sacrifice that would never need be repeated. The Lamb of God without sin or blemish.
Christ Enters (C.E.)