Our sin is so fundamental that we must be taught to recognize it; we cannot perceive its radical nature so long as we remain formed by it. Sin is not some universal tendency of humankind to be inhumane or immoral, though sin may involve inhumanity and immorality. We are not sinful because we participate in some general human condition, but because we deceive ourselves about the nature of reality and so would crucify the very one who calls us to God’s kingdom.We only learn what our sin is as we discover our true identity through locating the self in God’s life as revealed to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ… The story Christians tell of God exposes the unwelcome fact that I am a sinner… to the extent I refuse to be faithful to God’s way, to live as part of God’s life, my life assumes the character of rebellion. Our sin is not merely an error in overestimating our capacities. Rather it is the active and wilful attempt to overreach our powers. It is the attempt to live sui generis, to live as if we are or can be the authors of our own stories. Our sin is, thus, a challenge to God’s authorship and a denial that we are characters in the drame of the kingdom.Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics, 31
How does this definition of sin sit with you? Would you add or subtract? Do you agree, disagree? Why or why not?
I like this quote I think it touches on the depth of the issue while holding on to a realistic picture of the human person. Our autonomy and responsibility are the contributing factors which have us create and fashion our lives and world the way we want them and in so doing this sees us fall desperately short of the life and story God has for us – we need to capitulate to that story, we need to be transformed to see things that way.
This is remarkably appropriate as we remember today Jesus bringing the God’s kingdom movement to Jerusalem and as it rubbed up against the system the Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians and Chief Priests had constructed a plot would form around Jesus which aimed to stop him. So possessed by their way and agenda they don’t notice when the way of their God comes to town; this is how sin works.
We are… sinful… because we deceive ourselves about the nature of reality and so would crucify the very one who calls us to God’s kingdom.
Sin is not a condition; it is the paradigm we move within, a paradigm that is not the one in which God’s moves, and this marks our interaction with all aspects of the world around us, here we conceive of our own values and ethic and these fall to pieces and fail as they suffer from our contingency and our discontinuity from a paradigm that has now drawn near – ‘God’s kingdom has come near, turn away from your paradigm and believe’.