Sin’s Repercussion

Most people in the west see sin as a bad mark. You sinned, you’re a bad boy, bad bad bad. It’s no wonder that many rebel against their Christian upbringing, given that this is the picture they’ve been given. If sin is merely God marking down another fault on a list, keeping score over all people, then there is nothing personally at stake in sin. The only thing sin amounts to is the judgment, when God looks at His list and decides if are pure enough to enter heaven. Judgment is issued, and you pass on.

There is much more here than the traditional picture. Part of the problem of the judicial metaphor in western Christianity is the attraction toward this way of thinking. Sin is a rule broken, a bad mark on your permanent record, nothing more. As if God is some kind of principle, the World a school, and we the students, all trying to get away with as much as possible, just as long as we don’t get in trouble. What kind of Christianity is this?

The early Fathers understood sin as deeply ontological. Sin is not just a rule broken, it is a breaking from Christ Himself. We move from being to nothingness, destroy what it is to be human in ourselves. As long as we cling to God, we have life, when we leave God, we approach non-being. Sin, therefore, is deeply existential in nature, it’s repercussions touch to the very heart of the human person. When I am infected with sin, my very being is corrupted, I lose what it is to be human. In Orthodoxy, what’s at stake is not just our judgment, but our humanity, our very selves. With this understanding of sin, its true effects become deeply personal, deeply real. It is why the Lord warns us so desperately to flee from sin, to run from it. These warnings become more relevant to us if we see sin in its proper context, its ontological ramifications. Without this in place, it becomes a kind of game to avoid sin, trying to find legal loopholes that we can jump through to get what we (think  we) want and yet ‘avoid’ sin. You can’t avoid self-destruction if that’s the path you take. Christianity is not a path of loopholes, it is a life lived. It is not a game to be played, nor is it something to do on Sunday. Christianity is life, the yearning of our hearts. Christ is what the human heart seeks, and we are restless until we rest in Him.

May God show us the true nature of sin, so we may flee from it and flee to Him.

~ by Barky on May 11, 2010.

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