Friday, 19 December 2014

The prohibition of sin

Contrary to what I've listened to preached for years I still don’t think that the blood of the lost is on my hands if I fail in some way to bring them to Christ. It’s at least very much an oversimplification to say that I should take the blame in any way. God has set up a very complex series of events that leads up to an opportunity to even get to share the gospel with someone. It’s not all on you, no matter what you’re taught. And in many ways, the Calvinists are correct. In terms of the perspective of God, He already knows who is going to be saved and who isn't. When you’re dealing with the Big absolute O’s – omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence, it’s a matter of perspective. But to say that we can determine our behaviour based on God’s predestined and predetermined chosen saved is just as bad. From our perspective we have free will because we don’t know! We have no idea who has been chosen because we’re just us. Even with an active and living holy spirit living within us we’re still for the most part in the dark on the future.

This prohibition of sin, the duty of the Great Commission and studying at theological man made institutions is just as much religion as a jihadi faith that leads to so much death, and it leads to the same death. It’s all about us, not about Him, even if it claims to be the opposite. And in many ways church ends up being absolutely nothing to do with faith. It’s just a club for those that are acting like Pharisees. This nonsense about obedience and duty really is just that: nonsense. If you don’t rely on your relationship with Christ it doesn't matter how hard you try you won’t get the peace and joy and rest that will lead to that security.

Ah, but your interpretation of the Bible trumps my interpretation of the Bible.

Of course I’m wrong. I’m not you.

Everyone’s theology and relationship with God is different. We’re all individuals and I thank God that we’re all unique like that.

But I’m not employing the full counsel of God if I don’t follow this rule or that rule.

Oh well! You know what? It doesn't matter. God has it covered no matter how much I fret or panic or even how indifferent I am.

God is in control, I’m just along for the ride.  And until I reached that conclusion I never really felt rested. I’m not up at 4am reading my Bible. I’m not praying the Lord’s prayer 5 times a day, in fact my prayers don’t even conform right most the time. I talk to God like I talk to everybody else. That’s the only way I can, and that’s okay. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate His omnipotence, His omniscience or His omnipresence. But one of the reasons that He gave us His son is so that we can understand that we can talk to Him on our level. I've found that the performance of corporate prayer can itself be religious, and it’s just such hard work, saying the right things at the right time on key. It’s not easy, and that makes the yoke difficult and the burden heavy. That’s not the gospel I know.

The getting myself right with God at every communion is nonsense too. I’m always right with God. Once I accepted Christ as my saviour He was there. All the time. Not just when I eat the tiniest bit of potato chip or grape juice. Not when I dress up in cheap suit and sing out of key to some song that may nor may not be related to the gospel. Every single moment of every single day He is with me.

Yes, even when I defy Him, even when I disobey Him, He’s still here.

Of course if I’m saying that I don’t have to make the effort in the war on sin, that automatically means I’m saying it’s okay to go around sinning. That’s just as ridiculous too, for two reasons. God is with me all the time, and therefore the attraction to sin is interrupted by Him. And sin really can mess you and other people up.

But when they talk about sin prohibition they’re usually only talking about specific sins. The ones that are highlighted are usually the ones that are being inflicted with themselves. In psychology it’s something called “attention bias”. Most of the sins outside of sexual sins are in line with our legal systems. The sin of murder is taken a lot more seriously than the sin of coveting your neighbour’s iPhone for instance. Of course that is subjective and that’s the issue. Sin is sin no matter what it is, and in my mind this duty of obedience and the effort of looking to combat your ‘sinful nature’ is itself a sin. Because it’s looking at yourself. And that is all sin is really. It’s trusting yourself and not trusting God’s will. It is being selfish, not selfless. Your effort should be on faith and trust, not on obedience and submission. Of course in many ways these could be thought of as the same thing but they’re not. God does the former, you do the latter. Trusting yourself to change yourself is a faithless endeavour. Fretting over whether or not you’re living up to the Christian life is just as fruitless.

So where does this leave me? Does this mean I don’t think church its worth going to? No, of course not! I love going to church, I love the worship, I love the praise, I love hearing God’s word and I love most of all the fellowship and edification that comes from that. No matter what, it’s still God’s house even if there are people with different interpretations and rituals from mine. The point I think I’m trying to make is that it doesn't matter that much if we have slightly different theologies and slightly different opinions. The arguments and fighting that it leads to are not worth it. Church should be, and for the most part is, in my experience, a place to come together to worship Jesus Christ and edify each other as a body of believers. That’s it.