The practice of reading, studying and interpreting the Word of the Holy God out of it's original context has implemented the start of many denominations, false doctrines, teachings, followings and teachers. But those who do subscribe to sound doctrine and who proclaim the Word of God inerrant and consistent, also fall prey to this practice. Add to the fact that we live in a time where there are translations galore. Translations of every sort that promise "easy" Bible readings, catering to the understanding of the student as opposed to the student catering to the understanding of the Word. Proverbs 2:1-5
This practice has been devastating. It has devastated the integrity, the wholesomeness of the Word as we use stand alone scriptures to "rebuke" ,"reprove" and support a theology or position we strongly believe in. As a result, the Word of God has become "relative" to its reader. It has become contradictory to itself. It has become place where all can be wrong and right simultaneously. Is there any wonder why so many Christians today believe that all roads lead to Heaven? (Read for the full report - 3,000 Miles Wide...) Lastly and by far the worst result, when we separate pieces from the whole, we get a belief out of context of the Gospel, which is the ENTIRE point of the Holy Word and its manifestation, the Messiah, the Son of Man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth...His power and ability to save so those who DO believe (with Faith) will live together, forever with Him in a perfect world. So when we, as Believers/Christians get together to dialogue about the Word, we a choose horse of our preference and ride the not so merry-go-round of confusion where edification cannot be accomplished. I speak from very personal experience. As a former WWCG (World Wide Church of God)member, I picked and chose over the Word to my detriment...that is... until I was saved by the renewing of my mind by the POWER of the Cross.
Having said that, we need to ponder the thing that started it all, sin. It is one thing we wrestle with still, even after a confession of Belief in the Son of God, I fear to the detriment of many. We must understand WHAT sin truly is. When we speak of sins, we must recognize how we are talking about sin, be it in the plural or singular sense. If, grammatically speaking, sin is the ROOT word of sins, then there must be a single definition of sin. To understand exactly WHAT implemented the need for the salvation of mankind, that is to say salvation from hell, an eternal separation from God, we need to revisit the Garden of Eden.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin..."
"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.In the Garden, God gave one decree to Adam, obey or die. It is just that simple. As a matter of fact the Gospel is VERY simple. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented and was a departure or a leaving from God, in thought and knowledge. God stated a truth, don't eat from that tree or you will die. Doing it, that is living, on our own, by our own terms IS a death sentence in and of itself. When man became "knowledgeable" of good and evil, we were deceived by this knowledge into thinking that we CAN live apart from God and on our own. This deception continues to blind us as we grow more "intelligent" by the decade.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. " -- Genesis 2:15-17
So then what is the singular form of sin? Quite simply, it is unbelief, a departure from God.
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.A departure, which is unbelief, displays (manifests) itself in many ways, thereby becoming manifestations of sin. When one lives apart from God, they automatically are sinful, because they are lone souls, submitting to no one, they are a law unto themselves. Romans 2:14 God, not willing any should perish, 2 Peter 3:9 , established a plan to satisfy the desire of His heart, to be reconciled unto man. It is vital to understand that the consequences of sin (death) are two-fold. The penalty was/is a physical and spiritual death.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. " -- Hebrews 3:12-13
"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound..."Well what about the ten commandments? You may ask, as I have been asked. "The ten commandments tells us what sins are." Yes, the ten commandments tells us what sins are and what we should and should not do. However, the whole point of the implementation of the law was this:
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.The law makes us knowledgeable of sin, singular, and EVERY one of the ten commandments reveals and convicts us of the sin behind that specific sin...a HEART of departure from the Holy God. The law exposes one part of the two-fold consequence of sin. It exposes the physical... no matter what we DO, no matter how hard we TRY to keep all the laws we cannot make ourselves "good" outside of God, therefore NO FLESH is justified in His sight.
Therefore by the deeds (practicing) of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." -- Romans 3:19-20
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh..." -- Romans 8:3
"...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:"I simply cannot stress the importance of reading/interpreting scripture within its context. Moreover, in the context of the ENTIRE Word. God is a consistent God and does not contradict Himself. ALL roads in the Word lead to Jesus, the Salvation and reconciliation of man. If departure from the living God is sin and unrighteousness, then returning unto Him is life from the dead! If unbelief is sin, then faith is the clothing of righteousness! What Christ does is expose the TRUTH of sin, and the deceitfulness of sin. Sin ordinates from the heart of mankind, and only by the TRUTH of our heart can we confess an acceptable FAITH of God. Many of us desire the visible salvation, many of us persist and insist that works (keeping of the law and other actionable works) can save us. I cannot tell you how many times people have praised my interpretation of church (spiritual) yet insist I need something tangible to be saved. Christ is our only intangible source of salvation. He is victorious over ALL, but more specifically, the 2nd part of the two-fold consequence of sin, spiritual death, that is...eternal separation. And THIS is how HE does it...
"God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness UNTO sin: but yield yourselves UNTO GOD, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." -- Romans 6:2-14
HENCE, THE GOLDEN CALFHaving defined sin as a departure and the manifestation of departing, sins, we can understand with more accuracy exactly what Faith means and how vital it is to the soul of a Believer. However, many have built a "golden calf" of the manifestations of sin, whereby we continue to beat our chests in agony and pain. We wrestle with the physical, visual sins in our lives not fully understanding and/or accepting the POWER of blood of Christ Jesus. Under estimating the TRANSFORMING POWER of the Holy Spirit. At the calf we stand in our own power trying, wrestling, practicing the ten commandments in the flesh, and condemning others for not doing the same.
People, don't you understand that when you reconcile unto the Holy, living God, through Jesus Christ, the Son, that His Laws are written on your heart (Holy Spirit) just as He promises Israel?
"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.We as adopted sons and daughters of Faith, have the power of the Holy Spirit, by which, daily we are renewed, as we continue to walk in Spirit, by Faith.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." -- Jeremiah 31:33-34
While we live in these natural bodies prone to the lusts of departure in knowledge, thought and therefore action, our fight is NOT with sin, it is with protecting our Belief, Faith and Trust in the Messiah for ALL things, in an unbelieving society. Sin has been overcome by Christ, but the Devil, the serpent of old, is clever. Deceiving those who profess themselves Believers into worshiping at the calf of sins. Planting seedlings of belief that Christ didn't do it all, that we must by our own power, cleanse the sins in our lives. We forget, or do not believe, that He will FINISH the work that He started in us. It our job, yes, our race and burden to remain faithful in a society that worships at the alter of the intelligence of man.
On every side I am buffeted by unbelief, especially by those who claim to be Christians. "Go to church" they proclaim to me. "You're on a path to shipwreck" they declare. All the while, they speak in terms of "luck" and "coincidences". They wring their hands and worry all the while, " Am I truly saved?", "How will I eat?", "How will I survive?" The lack of faith I have witnessed among Christians is astounding. Even more so, under the guise of "bible studies" and "church" these types of proclamations are accepted, pacified as O.K., yet these same people, who speak from the abundance of their hearts, verbally slay others and unbelievers for "immoral" sins. They are completely blind to their own utterings of doubt, which is the very essence of sin!
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." -- Matthew 12:33-34
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good...The manifestations of sin are a reality, a natural part of our mortal bodies. We are inclined towards departure from God in many ways, therefore being Faithful is at odds with the flesh and is something we need to work at daily, prayerfully. Have Faith! Believe that the Lord Jesus sufficiently overcame sin!
Watch the way you speak. Watch the way you think. Watch the beliefs you adopt from those around you and analyze it in the light of the Gospel. And make your fight to walk in the Spirit a daily thing!
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Ephesians 5:16-23
And Finally...The Word (of God) isn't saying anything different today than it did to Adam, Abraham, Moses, David and Paul. God always has and always will look upon the heart of a soul for the truth of whether it desires to dwell with Him or apart. The Creator of man knows very well that its not about seeing Him or witnessing miracles on His behalf. Its not even about not seeing Him. Its about whether you LOVE Him with all your heart. The theme of the Word since the beginning was FAITH, and the thread can be found throughout the entire Word. Put together, it creates a Majestic quilt, by which we are covered and can rest peacefully with it around us.
Author's Note: All formatting in scripture and in parentheses are mine :)