As a child, I was taught the catechism’s definition of sin: “Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.” Depending upon what is meant by “the law of God,” this is not a bad definition, as it addresses wrong doing and failing to do right. Of course, by “the law of God,” the catechism meant the ten commandments. But what if took “the law of God” to mean “the truth of God in Jesus”? Sin would then be defined, not legally, but Christologically, as “any want of conformity unto or transgression of the truth of God in Jesus.” And who is Jesus? He is the Father’s Son, the One anointed in the Holy Spirit, and the One in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are sustained, and have been reconciled. In the very existence of Jesus himself, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the human race, and creation are not separated, but bound together in relationship. Jesus is the relationship. Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the truth that we are included in Jesus Christ, and in his relationship with his Father, and in his anointing in the Holy Spirit, and in his relationship with the human race, and in his relationship with all creation.
In my last blog I told the story of my son and his buddy in our den, and how my son’s buddy got to experience the relationship my son has with me. That is both a picture of the gospel itself (we are included in Jesus’ relationship with his Father) and a way of helping us see what sin is all about. Suppose that in the midst of our playing, my son’s buddy suddenly stopped, got up and backed away. He was included in our relationship. My son’s freedom and at-homeness with me, our laughter and fellowship were all being shared with his buddy. He felt and tasted and experienced our life together. But then he suddenly backed away, believing that it was not the truth, that he did not belong, that he was not included. And suppose he then began to think through how to have his own relationship with me. Perhaps he could imitate my son and his relationship with me. Perhaps he could make up some new rules, and impose them on me and my relationship with my son. I think this is what sin is all about. We ignore and refuse to believe that we are included in Jesus’ own relationship with his Father. Then in our darkness we invent our own way of relationship, and then impose them on Jesus and his Father, the Holy Spirit and everyone else in the universe. Essentially sin is insisting that Jesus is wrong and that he needs to repent and believe in us. Sin is insisting that Jesus change his view of his Father, change his view of his relationship with us and with all creation, and come believe in us, and join us in our terrible confusion.