Sin as a Disease (Christian Worldview Part 2)

In other religions, such as Buddhism, the concept of sin is regarded merely as “bad habits” that are “unskillful or unwholesome,” but, in the Christian worldview, sin is the cause of everything that is imperfect in the world (Dhammananda 255). The Bible records in the first chapter of Genesis that God created the world and “saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). After Genesis 3, the world is not called good anymore by God and by Chapter 11 He completely destroys it except for 8 people. What caused God to view the world differently?  1healingsinkills1-300x270

Christians would point to Genesis 3 as the point where God’s view of the world changed. Christian theologian Dr. John MacArthur says,

If you don’t understand this chapter, you don’t understand the rest of the Bible.  You cannot understand the solution to the problem unless you understand the problem.  You can’t understand the cure unless you understand the diagnosis.  You will never be able to understand God’s remedy for this world if you don’t understand the malady under which this world lives and functions. (MacArthur, “What is Sin?”).

In this chapter, Adam and Eve simply disobeyed God after being tempted by a serpent “more cunning than any beast of the field” (Genesis 3:1).

The Bible explains that this first act of disobedience in the garden caused a disruption in the very nature of God’s universe.  According to Romans 8, “the creation was subjected to futility” and “the whole creation groans” because of this first act of sin in the world (Romans 8: 20, 22). God appears to the first couple and explains to them that their sin will now cause the world to suffer. Romans 5 later explains that “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). So, according to the Christian, the world and everyone in it are suffering under a “disease” that has spread to all people called sin. All humanity falls to this sin nature because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Christians say that this is clearly seen when one looks outside their windows:

 The universal moral depravity of human beings is abundantly clear. G. K. Chesterton wryly referred to the doctrine of original sin as “the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.” He goaded modernist theologians who “in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street. [Sic](MacArthur 195)

Even though it is seen in the streets, Christians do not all agree on what sin is. For example, Southern Baptists would find any connection with alcohol to be sin while some other denominations would use wine in their worship service (“On Alcohol Use in America”). The Baptists would point out that 1 Corinthians 6 says that “drunkards… will not inherit the kingdom of God” while other denominations would point out passages that say that “wine makes the heart of man glad” (1 Corinthians 6:10, Psalm 104:15). This is an important debate to every Christian, because the proper understanding of what can be defined as sin relates to their understanding of it as a curse and “disease” upon mankind. Who would desire to bring more of a curse or disease upon themselves? quote-sin-is-not-weakness-it-is-a-disease-it-is-red-handed-rebellion-against-god-and-the-magnitude-oswald-chambers-82-5-0514

The Greek word for sin, ἁμαρτία, is one of the most common found in the New Testament (Walvoord, “Thirty-Three Words for Sin”). It basically means to “miss the mark” in English. What is the mark? According to John the Apostle, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). The Law is considered to be the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5). “Through the law, the Israelites learned how they were to honor and imitate God’s holiness. The law is part of God’s revelation of himself” (Walton et al. 16-17).  So, sin is not reaching the moral perfection of God.

Throughout the history of the church, Christians have used the Law as a way to diagnose and recognize sin in an individual’s life. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).  Martin Luther (1483-1546) later echoed, “The true function of the Law is to accuse and to kill; but the function of the gospel is to make alive” (Comfort 119). Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) made it clear when he proclaimed, “The only way we can know whether we are sinning is by knowing His moral Law” (120). Looking back on this, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) explained:

The trouble with people, who are not seeking for a Savior, and for salvation, is that they do not understand the nature of sin. It is the peculiar function of the Law to bring such an understanding to a man’s mind and conscience. That is why great evangelical preachers 300 years ago in the time of the Puritans, and 200 years ago in the time of Whitfield and others, always engaged in what they called a preliminary Law work. (122)

It is through this “law work” that the diagnosis is given. The individual who measures him or herself next to the Law sees that there is no way to earn salvation as every other religion in the world basically teaches. Other religions say “You do this and this and the god or the universe will give you eternal life or you will become one with the universe or something of that nature.” Only Christianity recognizes the terrible state that mankind is in and points humanity to the solution: a God who loves them enough to live the perfect life that they cannot and then take the punishment that they deserved. This will become clear in the next few posts…

Works Cited

Comfort, Ray. The Evidence Bible: Irrefutable Evidence for the Thinking Mind, Notes. Ed. Kirk Cameron. Orlando, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2003. Print. The Way of the Master Evidence Bible.

Dhammananda, K. Sri. What Buddhists Believe. Malaysia: Buddhist Missionary Society, 2002. Print.

MacArthur, John. The Battle for the Beginning: The Bible on Creation and the Fall of Adam. Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group, 2001. Print. 

MacArthur, John. “What is Sin?” GTY.org. 13 Jan. 2000. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-233/what-is-sin>

“On Alcohol Use in America” 2006 Resolutions. Southern Baptist Convention, 2006 Web. 29 Apr. 2015. <http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1156>

Walvoord, John F. “Thirty-Three Words for Sin in the New Testament Part 1” Bible.org. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. < https://bible.org/article/thirty-three-words-sin-new-testament-part-1>   

The Cure (Christian Worldview part 1)

Imagine a disease so deadly that it is wiping out the entire human race. No cure can be found by the best and brightest doctors in the world. The only hope that can be found is in a rare blood type that may hold the key to an antidote. After several weeks and many deaths, a young boy is discovered as the only one in the world to have the required blood type. Sadly, his father is told that, to save the world, it will take ALL of his child’s blood. After the father chooses to let his son die, he expects those who accepted the cure to live their lives worthy of the death of his son. (Kelly, “Clean Blood”)blood donor

This is a modern parable told by a Catholic theologian to explain the Christian worldview. Many of the ideals that have come down through the centuries pertaining to Christianity are retold in that simple little parable. All of mankind has a sin problem that is killing them. God is the father who has to make a choice. Christ is the son with perfect blood that will willingly die for those who do not have perfection. Acceptance of the cure is free, but should produce a change. The Christian worldview can be understood by defining how Christians understand sin as a disease, blood sacrifice as the cure, and faith as the remedy.

In the next few weeks, I want to flesh this out by looking at each of these three points. My faith is really very simple. Someone once said “It is easy enough for a child to understand, but also rich enough for theologians to study it all of their lives.” Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). A true Christian faith can only be understood through the sacrifice of Jesus and I hope you will see what that sacrifice truly meant in the coming weeks. Check back here often as I seek to piece together this incredible way of seeing our world through the sacrifice of the Son of God.

Works Cited

Kelly, Matthew. “Clean Blood: The Pain of Losing Your Son.” Inspire21.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. < http://www.inspire21.com/stories/christianstories/cleanblood&gt;

Children of Babylon

I often think, when I open the book of Daniel, what it must have been like to be Daniel. He was a young man who had a wonderful, godly life in Jerusalem and then one day all of that was taken away by King Nebuchadnezzar and his armies. It must have been a true horror story to be taken from the land of your birth, forced to take a new name that mocked your God and to have your manhood taken away too. (He was made a eunuch.) Imagine your entire heritage being taken away in a matter of days.1- Dare to be a Daniel

Then I begin to think about how we, today, are being drug farther and farther from Jerusalem to Babylon. Our nation once taught about the Bible faithfully in schools. In my lifetime I can even remember praying in school (probably even then against the law!). Our nation is under siege by a different kind of Nebuchadnezzar.  The angry atheist and the confused so-called Christian dot the landscape today and our people are starving because of their lack of knowledge of the Word of God. Satan really hasn’t changed his tactics from Babylon to America. He still infiltrates our lives in the same ways.  We see 4 things in how he decided to pull Daniel away from his god and his faith.

  1. Isolation. Satan is no fool. Like any good General, he knows that if he can separate a group, he will win.  Like a wise predator, he will pull people away from others who believe the truth. If he can separate us from our worship with others, isolate us from the teaching of the Bible and from the example of seeing godly men and women in our daily lives, he can make us weak. My friends, we cannot let Satan pull us apart! We must stand together and, even when we do not feel like being at Church, that is the time we most need to be with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t be the foolish sheep led away from the rest of the flock! The wolf is all too happy to find you there.
  2. Indoctrination. The Bible says Daniel and his friends were “taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans”. Now there is nothing wrong with learning other things, but when those things don’t have any reference to God, you have truly learned nothing. There was a time in our nation when all the children were taught from the Bible. We learn from the proverbs that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” How can someone understand this world without the Bible. We clearly see evidences of a worldwide flood. We see that all people came from one gene pool. We see that world has not always been the same as it is now. These things become clear when we start with God and the Bible. All of science is based on the fact that we have a creator who has done things in a logical way, one that can be observed and explained, yet, when we begin without God, we add millions of years and crazy ideas based on the speculations of men who were not there in the beginning. Indoctrination comes in easily and quietly. They will not say there is no god, but they will not mention Him in any of our children’s education or that He had anything to do with our past. That, my friend, is indoctrination into atheism and it is what we see in all of our schools today. Sadly, even those who claim a Christian banner!
  3. Compromise. Daniel was told he would have to eat the king’s meat. At first this does not seem to be a big deal. Just a little different food. God had told the Jewish people to keep a certain diet at this time though. They were not allowed to eat these types of things. There are many things that seem like just giving in just a little but the Devil is the master of drawing you in with the idea that it is” not that bad”. This is much the same way a drug dealer works. He convinces you to take the first hit and then he has you hooked. We have allowed too much compromise in our lives here in America. We allow filth to parade before our eyes and the only reason we do not recognize it is because we have grown used to the stink of it. We must learn to abstain from things that are unholy. We are called to be a peculiar people a people set apart unto God. When will we begin to fulfill what God has started in us, if He has begun something in us? Compromise will destroy us!
  4. Confusion. Nebuchadnezzar chose to change the Hebrew children’s names to names that gave a kind of worship to his gods. Daniel (“God Is My Judge”) was changed to Belteshazzar (“Bel Will Protect”), Hananiah (“God Is Gracious”) to Shadrach (“Inspiration of the Sun”), Mishael (“God Is Without Equal”) to Meshach (“Belonging to Aku”), and Azariah (“The Lord Is My Helper”) to Abednego (“Servant of Nego”). Their new names were intended to give them a Babylonian, rather than a Hebrew, identification. Satan has our churches so confused today about what the clear Word of God says that our children have forgotten their names. They do not know what a real Christian looks like! Brothers and sisters we must get back to teaching the clear perfect Word of God. Not just everything that seems to be easy and will not stir a fuss, but the deep things and the needed things our people must understand in order to live in the Babylonian age we are living in today.

We must not let Satan continue to lead us into Babylon and, even if we must spend our exile there, we must live like Daniel and his friends did in that land of the past that is reemerging in our future. With a little word that has been forgotten, a word called conviction.