What do you think about when you hear the word “sin”? Do you think about the sinful things you have done? Do you think about the sinful things other people have done? Maybe it’s the things they have done to you, or maybe it’s the sinful activities that are becoming more and more common in our society. Whatever it is, I’m guessing that when we hear the word “sin,” we think of bad actions, or “sins.”
We often overlook the reality that sin is first a state of being. The Augsburg Confession describes it this way: “Our churches teach that since the fall of Adam, all who are naturally born are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with the inclination to sin” (Augsburg Confession, “Article II: Original Sin”).
This is a very helpful definition. It helps us understand who we are, and it helps us understand why we commit sins. Before anything else, sin is a lack of fear and trust in God. It’s a lack of faith. Our lost condition, quite simply, is that we do not trust the one true God. If we trusted him perfectly, through and through, we would never sin. We would trust that the commands he has given are truly good for us. But we do sin, and it flows from a lack of faith. We do not trust God completely, we are inclined to follow our own wills, which have departed from God’s will, and so we experience the inclination to sin, and we do sin … a lot.
When we understand that a lack of faith is really the problem, we see that we cannot solve the sin problem simply by trying to be better, because that is still trusting in ourselves, instead of trusting in the one true God. But sin is atoned for by the righteous Son of God. We trust that he has made full satisfaction for all our sins. We begin to trust that he loves us, and, therefore, his commands are good for us.
We will never be perfect in this life. You’ve probably learned that by experience. We will not fear, love, and trust in the Lord with all our heart. And so we also will not cease to sin. So we continually depend on the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Even when we are faithless, he remains faithful. And his blood stands eternally as the payment for all our sin.
The peace of Christ be with you all,
Pastor Dan Antal