2c Missing the Mark of God

Christianity is not a crutch for weak people, no it is far more than that. While some Christians might object to this, the truth is far more than that. Christianity isn’t a crutch for weak people because it asserts that people are dead because they have chosen to rebel against a just and omnipotent God [1]. So no Christianity is more than just a crutch, it is a full fledged restoration to life and delivrance from darkness in people that are unable to do anything on their own [2]. What is this rebellion against God, however? This rebellion, in the scope of Christian theology is called sin. Sin is the central concept behind why Christians believe Jesus Christ, who was both God and man, came into the world.

The conception of sin is rooted in the original word in greek, ἁμαρτία (hamartia), which is rooted in missing the mark. Indeed this is the same word mentioned in Aristotle’s Poetics as what has been described as a character’s fatal flaw [3]. In the scope of Christianity, this word has come to include a person’s moral and intellectual failures. This can be seen in Matthew 5.27-30. Sin is, essentially, what kills a person, it is what brings death into the world and depravity into human life. It is what we, as people, would do when left to our natural inclinations apart from the grace of God bestowed to all people [4].

What then constitutes sin? Sin, quite simply, is not an offence against humanity, but an offence against an almighty and just God. It is a violation of the moral law of God, quite often indicated by our conscience and in so violating, we place ourselves over God, placing us in rebellion against him. By this I mean to say that we as people tend to believe that the best for us is what we want and what we think is right, but Christianity asserts that no, this isn’t so. Indeed, with this in mind it becomes the highest sort of hubris to tell each other that we can do anything we set our minds to, when it is our natural inclination to fall short of the glory of God. Sin is anything that places us over God in thought and action.

Rebellion is an offence against government in human life, and with respect to God it is also an offence against him. That is to say, when we sin, we make ourselves guilty, guilt as is defined in a court of law. That is to say that guilt in human courts arises out of a right impartation of just punishment [5]. Similarly, when we break God’s moral law we are guilty, and a belief in a good but just God demands that we look at the effects of our guilt when actions proscribed by moral law are committed. The Bible tells us that when we have broken any part of the law we have broken it in full [6],[7]. We are guilty, and God tells us that the punishment is death [8]. So having been punished under the moral law of God, we are thus dead in, by, and through our offences against God.

This is the state of humanity, dead in sin. But that is not to say that there is no hope. For while God is just, he is also merciful and has found it fitting and right to also offer us humans a way out of perpetual rebellion and back into the arms of a good and loving God. This way is Jesus Christ who is the one way, truth, and life that allows us to return to the fold of God. And it is this return to peace with God that is obtained when we believe upon him and it is this act of calling and believing upon the work of Jesus Christ that I hope all people do, and an act that will be expanded upon in the next section.

Part 6 in a series on basic Christian Theology

[1] Ephesians 2.5
[2] Colossians 1.13
[3] I recognize that the translation of hamartia in Greek in the context of Aristotle’s poetics is debated.
[4] The nature of common or prevenient grace is debated within Protestant circles; but I don’t believe my statement here to be objectionable to either side.
[5] (a) I am also aware that the judicial systems in many western countries is moving away from punishment and more towards rehabilitation, but guilt is a term that I think is still relevant to any sort of restitution imparted by an individual to society.
(b) I also note that I am approaching this from a western, reformed standpoint that approaches the necessity of Jesus Christ in legal terms. An eastern interpretation is more organic in nature and is in terms of disease and the necessity for a return to a healthy state in communion with God, also only obtained through Jesus Christ.
[6] James 2.10
[7]That is not to say that there aren’t degrees of sin. The bible also has in many parts a recognition that not all sin is the same, and some scholars say that there is a difference in severity of eternal punishment, but the Bible doesn’t explicitly say. What it does say is that all sin merits death and a just punishment for our guilt.
[8] Romans 6.23


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