Mar 17th, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 17 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill, and today we’re going to talk about sin.
In Genesis 4:7 it’s recorded that God said, “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Let’s start out by asking, “What is sin?” I once heard a man say that sin was religions way of controlling people. Apart from the fact that there is some truth there, religions have used sin as a way to control people, this view of sin as the defining rule of what sin is made me sick to my stomach. I had to ask myself how many people are living their lives with no idea what sin actually is, how it affects their lives, and if responded to correctly can help make their lives better. (Not the sin, but the response to it.)
We have a giant problem in the modern definition of the word “sin.” The dictionary defines sin as ‘transgression of divine law. Any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.” While this isn’t technically wrong, the transgression of divine law would be a sin, as would a violation of moral principles: this doesn’t really tell us what sin is. Simply put, sin is failing to be perfect. Anything in your life, actions, or character that isn’t perfect is sin. When the Bible talks about sin: anywhere, Old Testament, New Testament, this is the bar. The bar of sin or not is perfection. If you’re not perfect then you’re in sin.
We need to reset our thinking when we see or hear the word sin. Because, right now, in modern culture, we see the word sin, or we encounter someone saying we’re sinning and we automatically attribute that to being a judgment of condemnation. A negative judgment on the person. But that’s not the way that scripture approaches sin at all. Scripture approaches sin in saying that sin is, simply put, not being perfect.
I’m not perfect: I was born this way and left to my own devices, I never will be. You’re not perfect: you were born this way and left to your own devices, you never will be. We have all fallen short of the bar of perfection. Sin in the Hebrew is the word khat-aw-aw'. The word translated as sin in Genesis 4:7, though, is not the word “khat-aw-aw'“ but the phrase “khat-taw-aw', khat-tawth'“. The base of the word in Genesis 4:7 that's translated as sin is, “sin,” there in its base, what’s it’s built of. But, there's more there. You can hear that right? It’s not just “khat-aw-aw'“, it’s not just sin in Genesis 4:7. It’s “khat-taw-aw', khat-tawth'“, what this phrase means is:
H2403 חַטָּאת חַטָּאָה chaṭṭâ'âh chaṭṭâ'th khat-taw-aw', khat-tawth' From H2398; an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender: - punishment (of sin), purifying (-fication for sin), sin (-ner, offering).
Expiation being the making of amends for wrongdoing. In Genesis 4:7, God is talking to Cain, let’s read it. Starting in verse 2,“ ...Now Abel became a shepherd of flocks, but Cain worked the ground.  In the course of time Cain presented some of the land's produce as an offering to the LORD.  And Abel also presented an offering - some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The LORD had regard for Abel and his offering,  but he did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.  Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent?  If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Cain’s sin here is not in bringing the offering that God didn’t approve of. The sin is in how Cain reacted to God not approving his offering. He became downtrodden, he became depressed and angry. God talks to him and says, “When you don’t do well, you have two opposing realities of sin and punishment, or making it right and being redeemed. And these two realities will pursue you, and you have to choose which one you will seize and live out.”
God tried to sit Cain down and give him a good lesson here. If you don’t do well then sin lies at the door. You will be its desire, and you have to rule over him. You have to choose in that moment sin and punishment, or making it right and being redeemed. We all know that Cain did not take this lesson to heart. He goes on to kill his brother, he chooses more sin and punishment.
How many times in our lives do we do the same thing? We slip up, we do something that shows our imperfection, sometimes on a massive scale, and instead of making it right. Instead of going, “Oh my gosh God you’re so right, I won’t let this infect my view of life anymore. I’m just going to redo that offering and bring something that you will approve of.” Instead of that, we go, “Well, I don’t have to listen to this. I’m above this.” And we choose sin and punishment. I’ve done it. I’ve done it more times than I’d like to admit. And I’m sure you have too.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”