This month, we are covering a seemingly simple concept that has powerful, revelatory, and wide ranging applications: Right-Right vs Right-Wrong...Right WHAT-Right HOW/WHY vs. Right WHAT-Wrong (or NO) HOW/WHY.
The overview for the rest of this Series is that God wants our brain to have Profitable Thought Processes. The enemy and our flesh wants our brain to have Unprofitable Thought Processes.
This week, we looked at specifically how strongholds are formed. In the previous post, we covered how the flesh actually participates in Spiritual Warfare:
HOW does the flesh actually participate in Spiritual Warfare?
The flesh uses a stimulus...any stimulus...to activate SIN.
The problem is SIN. The key to understanding how the flesh is able to war against us requires us to understand SIN.
What is SIN?
Today, we will focus completely on answering this question...
WHAT IS SIN?
Today's post is long and important. While I would prefer to break up this post into smaller posts, I would be opening myself up to being misunderstood. I have spent the last three years dealing with people who INTENTIONALLY look to misinterpret what I've written in "Modeling God". While today's post will answer the question for the sake of the Series, it will also address HOW people whose objective is to be destructive have intentionally misinterpreted this important doctrine.
The overall objective of this post is to define sin...to present a definition. Definitions are made up of WORDS. As we have learned with this Series, we OUGHT to be masters of WORDS. We think and communicate with WORDS. Our Salvation involves WORDS. We (even believers) are accountable for all our idle WORDS. Jesus is known as The WORD. Spiritual Warfare is based on WORDS. Ultimately, we OUGHT to be able to define EVERY WORD we use...or we shouldn't use the WORD.
When people say, "Words don't have a definite meaning"...it is the most immoral Statement that can be made. It is completely self-contained.
If this is a fact, then why do they use words to convey their message? In order for them to be right, their method needs to be wrong. They shouldn't be using words to explain their point...they should use EVERYTHING OTHER than words, even if it is interpretative dancing or pantomime. The REAL danger is these people are very quick to hold OTHERS to their words!
If you truly believe that words can't be defined, then you should stop using words to prove your point AND stop holding others to their words...otherwise you are condemning YOURSELF as a hypocrite.
How does THAT work for these hypocrites? Here is what a lot of them say to me:
"You CAN'T define the words that I speak, BUT I can hold YOU to a definite definition for the words YOU speak...and publicly judge you!"
Yet, plenty of people have told me I'm wrong to say a specific word has a definite meaning...AND they are definitely sure that I'm wrong. This is an example of "post-modernism" and the person is PROVEN to be a "post-modern" because they are contradictory.
Definitions are critical...and tricky. One of the ways most people get frustrated by definitions is that they rely FIRST on a dictionary or concordance. Who created the dictionary? Who created the concordance? A man! I'm not saying to ignore these resources. I'm saying that to make these resources the PROOF of a definition is to state that you rely on a man for your definition. It's a subtle point, but people who FIRST rely on a dictionary or a concordance are stating they value man over God...
The ULTIMATE place to get a definition is God's Word! When the Bible gives a definition, then THAT is the definition of the word. It is a definition given to us by God. Regardless of what a dictionary or concordance state as the definition, if God states the definition of a word, you have a choice:
1. God's definition
2. Man's definition
Every time a person states man's definition over God's definition, they are rejecting God.
If the Bible does NOT give a definition, then the next step is to look to a concordance for the definition. However, the PROOF is still God's Word. If the stated definition results in a contradiction in God's Word, then the definition is WRONG...unless you want to say God's Word is contradictory...which means God is contradictory...which means God does NOT exist. Again, choosing to hold to a definition for a word that makes God's Word contradictory is the same as rejecting God.
Finally, the definition of the word needs to be adjusted until it does NOT contradict with God's Word. Again, this is making God's Word the ULTIMATE source of the definition of a word used in God's Word. In fact, all three steps that I have presented ALL rely on God's Word for the source of the definition.
I ALWAYS use God's Word to determine the definition of a word that is used in God's Word.
People who rely solely on concordances and dictionaries do NOT ALWAYS use God's Word to determine the definition of a word that is used in God's Word.
Now, here is an even subtler point: definitions OUGHT to be causes, NOT effects.
Again, I have received a lot of complaints about the definitions in "Modeling God" because people aren't used to a non-contradictory definition. They are used to a flowery definition: "Faith is what you need from God when you don't get what you want from God". Yes, it is poetic and sounds nice...but it is completely wrong. Also, keeping in line with the current Series, to have a flowery definition in your thought process slows down your feedback loops and increases the chances for contradictions and strongholds. (This is why people who understand "Modeling God" are able to outthink people who ought to be more intelligent than them...having definitions based on causes improves your ability to think!)
Some people look at a definition according to causes and say it is limiting. Actually, they haven't thought this through in the Long Term. A definition that is made up of causes is the MOST powerful definition because the effects are infinite. However, a definition that is made up of effects is infinite...which means the concept being defined is unknowable and its applications (effects) are contradictory! Worse, it is NOT possible to intentionally get the effects...yet pastors preach effects like we are able to just have them.
For example, when it comes to defining God, people say God being "Right and Just and NOT able to act apart from His Nature" is too limiting. In the short-term this can look very respectful of God. However, when examined in the Long Term, it becomes obvious these people WANT to believe God is unknowable and contradictory...it is an excuse for not being responsible towards God. THIS is the mentality that gave birth 40 years ago to The Godless Christianity Movement that most current churches still embrace today. It wasn't until 40 years ago that the church in America CHOSE to go "without an orthodox explanation for God"...without a knowable definition for God.
I realize SOME of these people who embrace The Godless Christianity Movement want to define God by His effects in hopes that it makes God something greater. However, it makes God unknowable (infinite causes because they are really effects) and contradictory (the effects of an infinite cause are ALWAYS contradictory). This belief that God is unknowable and contradictory is "post-modern" and it is ACTUALLY an attempt to prove the Bible is wrong AND God does NOT exist. Again, another example of people not taking the time to look Long Term...
Most people can't define the words they use. When they can define the words they use, almost all of the definitions are abstract and/or effects. However, these same people somehow feel justified to tell me the definitions I present are wrong. It tends to go like this...
They tell me the definition I'm presenting is wrong. I ask their definition. They don't have one, but they know for sure I am wrong. This is the hypocritical post-modern response. This is contradictory. They are holding me to a standard that they don't hold themselves to...
When they do have a definition, it is abstract and/or made up of effects. I tell them that we agree! The definition that I presented is a specific cause that does NOT contradict their abstract effect. Why would they say I am wrong? In order for THEM to prove that I am wrong, THEY have to give a definition that contradicts the definition I presented. They either need to become more specific or they need to state their definition in terms of causes. Usually, they can do neither...yet, this doesn't stop them from telling people that I'm wrong. Again, this is a hypocritical response.
One of the things I have learned since "Modeling God" was published is that it is more a philosophy book than a theology book. The problem for people is that "Modeling God" uses the Bible to prove the philosophy...like "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis (however, I actually have listed the Bible verses.) So, people who are expecting a philosophy book are turned off the second they read a Bible verse. Likewise, the people who are believers but don't want to think are turned off the minute "Modeling God" proves something logically...as if The Bible is incapable of giving a reason (WHY) and we are just supposed to believe it because The Bible states it.
That has always bothered me because believers want EVERYONE else to consider their religious book is wrong when the believer points out a contradiction in their religious book...yet the believer doesn't want to hold himself to having to explain The Bible in a non-contradictory manner. Again, this is pure hypocrisy.
Worse are the people who have stated that since "Modeling God" is a published work, they don't need to talk to the author to find the meaning of what he wrote. They believe they can come up with their interpretation of the author's words and run with it...even accusing the author of writing something heretical WITHOUT speaking to the author to confirm they have the intended meaning.
What is their objective?
If it is to determine the meaning and get understanding, they would question the author by meeting with him. If it is to justify THEIR interpretation, they would not talk to the author at all. Well, everytime they reject talking with me, they are PROVING their objective is NOT to get understanding. Besides, if they EVER ask God the meaning behind His published work, and encourage others to ask God for understanding on His published work, they are the ULTIMATE hypocrites.
When these people project their wrong meaning onto a published work and then state it was the author's intention, they are liable for EVERY word they speak if they are wrong...both in this life and the life to come.
CLEARLY, these people are NOT looking Long Term...
DEFINITION OF SIN
From Strong's Concordance we find:
#2398 chata - "to miss"
#2399 chet - "from 2398; a crime or its penalty"
#2403 chattaah - "from 2398; an offence"
#264 hamartano - "to miss the mark"
#265 hamartema - "from 264; a sin"
#266 hamartia - "from 264; sin"
This is why most HUMANS refer to sin as "missing the mark". However, this definition is an effect. This definition causes people to define sin in real life as EVERYTHING that doesn't bring glory to God. People will state that things either hit the mark (and bring glory to God) or they miss the mark (and are sin). However, we know there are MANY things we do everyday that don't bring glory to God AND are not sinful. For example, doing a math problem...is that bringing glory to God? Is that sin? This is the problem with defining words in terms of effects...in terms of results.
"Missing the mark" is a man-made definition of sin.
EVERYONE who defines sin as "missing the mark" is rejecting God's definition.
Some people realize this and BLATANTLY state the definition of sin as "not bringing glory to God" or "something against the Being of God". Again, these are effects. They are also abstract. In order for a person to use either of these definitions, they would have to define "not bringing glory" or "the Being of God" with causes in a specific fashion...otherwise, they are stating a man-made definition.
EVERYONE who defines sin as something other than God's definition is rejecting God...they are definitely not bringing glory to God and they are coming against the Being of God...
God gave us the definition of sin in His Word!
"23 But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)
ACCORDING TO GOD'S WORD: Sin is "whatsoever is not of faith".
Again, EVERYTIME a person defines sin as ANYTHING different than "whatsoever is not of faith", they are rejecting God's Word.
The IMMEDIATE question is "What is the definition of faith?" Afterall, how can we know the definition of sin ACCORDING TO GOD'S WORD if we don't know the definition of faith?
According to Strong's Concordance:
#529 emuwn - "from 539; established"
#530 emuwnah - "fem. of 529"
#539 aman - "a prim. root; prop. to build up or support"
#4102 pistis - "from 3982; persuasion"
#3982 peitho - "a prim. verb; to convince"
If we were to rely on man's definitions, how would we explain that "whatsoever is not of (supported) persuasion is missing the mark"? We would have to say that sin is somehow dependent on the persuasive support of the action...not just an effect...not just missing the mark.
Isn't it funny that people love to quote the definition of sin as "missing the mark", but they don't like to quote the definition of faith as "supported persuasion"?
Notice, the definition of faith in the concordance is a cause: supported persuasion. The definition of sin in the concordance is an effect: missing the mark.
What is God's definition of faith?
"1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is belief in something that we can't see...either because it is invisible or hasn't happened yet.
We have seen that faith is built (supported) by Understanding and Experience. We have seen that faith is proven in the actions of the individual.
So, faith is being persuaded about something that we can't see BECAUSE we have Understanding and/or Experience to support it.
Faith DEFINITELY looks Long Term. People who don't believe in something unless they can see it have a short-term mentality and do NOT have faith.
Therefore, sin is ANYTHING (whatsoever) that is done AGAINST what the individual believes (is persuasively supported) by their Understanding and Experience.
Sin appears to be anything that does not look Long Term. However, we would need to prove this by looking at God's Word.
Let's look at practical applications of sin according to God's Word. However, before we do, let's get the Big Picture perspective on what we are about to study...
We are going to look at sin in three very distinct dispensations in the Bible. Realize, it is at this point that the individual must decide if they think a SPECIFIC ACT is ALWAYS sin or sin is subjective.
For the people who state that sin is ALWAYS objective...that there is an objective list of actions...effects...behaviors...and this list never changes, they would have to believe that list is the same for each of the three cases that I am presenting from God's Word. It would be contradictory and hypocritical for these people to say sin is an objective list of actions that never changes BUT when God used the word "sin" in His Word, it meant different things in different parts of God's Word.
For those who state that an effect's sinfulness can change during God's dispensation, they can ALSO say there are SOME actions that are ALWAYS considered a sin regardless of dispensation...BECAUSE there is NO reason (cause) that can make the action (result) be a benefit in the Long Term. For instance, hypocrisy is ALWAYS sinful. It is judging people for something that you do...something with which you yourself have understanding and experience. Notice, people who believe an effect's sinfulness can change are able to point to a list of sinful behaviors in the Bible and agree that the list is ALWAYS sinful BECAUSE these people also believe the list is NOT exhaustive. Said another way, the fact that God can provide a list of SOME behaviors that are ALWAYS sinful does NOT PROVE that ALL sin is the same for everyone at every occurrence throughout God's Word.
Let's start with the first case that actually covers four dispensations...
Basically, the Book of Genesis covers the first four dispensations: Garden of Eden, Pre-Flood, Post-Flood, and Abraham. When did sin first appear in the Bible?
"21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:21-22)
Paul says that death came through Adam (NOT Eve).
"12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:--
13 for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come." (Romans 5:12-14)
Paul is saying that sin entered the world through Adam...and death is the result of sin. However, Paul says that sin is NOT imputed when there is no law! Then he goes on to say that death (and sin) reigned from Adam until Moses. What is so special about Moses? He brings in the next dispensation...the Dispensation of The Law!
So, we see that Paul states there is DEFINITELY a difference between sin before the Law and sin during the Law!
These verses are enough to disprove those who believe that sin is an objective standard by God and NEVER changes! People who state that sin is a violation of God's objective standard that has always been the same throughout the Bible are REJECTING GOD'S WORD!
What is this difference between sin before the Law and during the Law? Let's look at HOW sin came into the world...
"1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?"
We have gone over this passage numerous times, so I will hit the highlights and provide links...
The serpent asks a Question in order to deceive...to present a Right WHAT with a Wrong HOW/WHY.
"2 And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat:
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
Eve knows the contrastive point: You will DIE...which is an effect of sin.
"4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil."
Here is the deception: Right WHAT with a Wrong HOW/WHY.
"6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat."
Eve identifies three Right WHAT's (good for food, delight to the eyes, and makes one wise), then she thinks comparatively on herself and eats the fruit. She does NOT look contrastively on herself and remember she will die.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to sin if you think contrastively on yourself!
Sin occurs when the individual looks comparatively on themselves...which is a short-term mentality. Sin cannot occur when a person tries to prove themselves wrong...which requires them to look Long Term and be uncomfortable (pursue growth).
Notice, the implication at the end of verse six is that Adam was WITH HER when this happened...
"7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
They knew they did something wrong AFTER they ate...
"8 And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden."
Notice, the stimulus is hearing God's voice. The response was to hide...
"9 And Jehovah God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Their actions were a result of FEAR.
"11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
With everything we have learned about thought processes, here is how Adam and Eve's thought process functioned:
1. Stimulus - three Right WHAT's
2. Action - they ate of the fruit
3. Guilt - they felt guilt
4. Choice - they made a willful decision between right and wrong
They didn't know the difference between good and evil, so their initial decision to eat the fruit was an attempt to do good...to do three Right WHAT's. The whole point of this dispensation was for people NOT to have the knowledge of good and evil. So they had little to no understanding and experience.
Eating the fruit was NOT the sin.
Once they ate the fruit, they had the knowledge of good and evil. When God confronts Adam, his choice of responses is with the knowledge of good and evil. Adam's response is to justify himself and blame Eve! This is the sin. Adam does something that goes AGAINST the Long Term...against something he knows according to understanding and experience. What would have happened if Adam had confessed and repented? Would he have been able to stay in the garden? Guilt OUGHT to cause us to confess and repent. If Adam had thought Long Term instead of justifying himself in the short-term...
In fact, there is another reason why this is Adam's fault and NOT Eve's. We have seen that Paul states in Ephesians 5 that the husband's job is to teach God's Word in a nourishing and cherishing manner in order to grow his wife. We have also seen that God told Adam not to eat the fruit (Genesis 2:17) BEFORE Eve was created (Genesis 2:22). It was Adam's responsibility to teach his wife God's Word...the Word that literally came out of God's Mouth solely for Adam!
The next dispensation occurs once Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden. Here is how the second dispensation begins...
"1 And the man knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with the help of Jehovah.
2 And again she bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
Abel and Cain BOTH did a Right WHAT. However, there was a difference between Abel and Cain's HOW/WHY. Abel had a Right HOW/WHY, while Cain had a Wrong HOW/WHY. God CLEARLY is more interested in the HOW/WHY (causes) than the WHAT (effects). Why do people think God is more interested in the WHAT (effects) than the HOW/WHY (causes)? Why would people define the key words that make up their faith in terms of effects? Why would people judge others according to effects?
"6 And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it."
God warns Cain about sin in an IF/THEN Statement!
"8 And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
12 when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto Jehovah, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me."
Cain wanted the effects. The causes don't matter to Cain...just like they didn't matter to Adam. Now Cain realizes all the trouble he brought on himself. It looks like Cain didn't look Long Term...
Before the Dispensation of The Law, people didn't know SPECIFICALLY what was a sin UNTIL they did it. Then once they had done a SPECIFIC sin, they knew that SPECIFIC action was sinful BEFORE they did it the next time.
Clearly, this thought process is going to be Unprofitable. As was discussed in "Modeling God's Wills", the ONLY Profitable community during these four dispensations was at the Tower of Babel...and God broke that up because they were looking Physically instead of Spiritually. During these first four dispensations, people acted independently.
Ultimately, the ONLY way to completely avoid sin during the first four dispensations was to attempt to do nothing.
"20 And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:
21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:20-21)
We have already looked at these passages. The previous passage says the Law was brought in so that sin would abound. The following passage showed the thought process when the Law becomes a stimulus:
"7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet:
8 but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead.
9 And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;
10 and the commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death:
11 for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me.
12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
13 Did then that which is good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; --that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful." (Romans 7:7-13)
The fifth dispensation is The Law. It covers all of the Old Testament (except Genesis) and the four Gospels. The overwhelming majority of The Bible is concerned with the Dispensation of The Law. Consequently, some people think this is the objective standard that God applied to the entire Bible.
The objective of this dispensation can be summarized as: knowing what to avoid. Basically, "Don't do the Wrong WHAT".
A law is written in the following form: Don't do (a specific effect) or you will be punished. There is NOTHING Profitable about a law. A law does NOT promise a benefit. The best a law can accomplish is to help the individual be Not Unprofitable.
This dispensation believes in not doing bad behavior by trying to stop doing the bad behavior. We have covered this mentality and called it "The Doctrine of Sin". Basically, it is the belief that people can be good by lack of bad behavior.
Paul said the Law was meant for good. HOW OUGHT the Law have affected a person's thought process?
Ought Thought Process
1. Circumstances (Stimulus) - An opportunity to do something presents itself to the individual.
2. Connecting Thought (Law) - The person ought to know the Law and determine if the circumstance will lead to violating the Law.
3. Choice (Intentional) - The individual is making an intentional choice between evil and not evil (or sometimes good)
4. Action - The individual takes the appropriate action
5. Guilt - The individual experiences guilt for doing a wrong action which reinforces that they sinned...which ought to file away the experience in the brain with the emotion of guilt so the next time they think about violating God's Law, they know what they will experience Long Term. They also ought to confess and repent...which is a good thing!
However, Paul said that this OUGHT process wasn't happening all the time for him. There was an IS process...
Is Thought Process
1. The Law (Stimulus) - The Law was reminding him what he wasn't allowed to do.
2. Circumstance (Choice) - His flesh was actively looking for opportunities to break the Law. Notice, this makes sin an active intentional choice for the flesh. Sin is only looking with impatience and a short-term mentality. At this point, the ONLY thing that can result from this scenario is sin...
3. Action (Amygdala) - The individual takes the short-term action the sin in their flesh chose to do.
4. Guilt - The individual feels guilt, however, they don't realize when they made the intentional choice to sin. They didn't make a willful choice to sin...the Law found the sin in them and the flesh took over. This leads to confusion and condemnation...
Either way (OUGHT and IS), if the person had focused on the Long Term, they wouldn't have sinned.
Notice, the Law denies uniqueness. It attempts to make everyone the same. It attempts to make people good by having an objective standard of behavior that EVERYONE must follow...no exceptions.
In fact, this dispensation made people DEPENDENT on each other. People were supposed to judge each other. People could judge effects because God have given an objective standard of behavior regardless of the causes.
"1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any one shall sin unwittingly, in any of the things which Jehovah hath commanded not to be done, and shall do any one of them:
3 if the anointed priest shall sin so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto Jehovah for a sin-offering." (Leviticus 4:1-3)
Notice, it didn't even matter if the person did it without knowing. The point is they ought to have known what God commanded not to be done and people can still recognize a wrong effect and judge it.
Again, the Dispensation of The Law makes up the overwhelming majority of the Bible. So it is easy to see why people may think that God has an objective standard for sin that never changes throughout the Bible...BECAUSE it was His standard for sin during the MAJORITY of the Bible.
However, these people CLEARLY are not looking Long Term. They don't seem to realize there is more to the Bible than just this one dispensation. For instance, did people who violated God's objective standard given during the Law sin if they did their actions BEFORE the Law?
If you say "no", then God did NOT have an objective standard that didn't change. (I agree with this.)
If you say "yes", then you believe Moses and Abram (among other examples) sinned!
Why do people who state that God has an unchanging objective standard that determines sin NOT account for the times before this objective standard was given? Why don't they realize we are no longer under this objective standard today?
"6 But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt; For they continued not in my covenant, And I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, And on their heart also will I write them: And I will be to them a God, And they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his fellow-citizen, And every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: For all shall know me, From the least to the greatest of them." (Hebrews 8:6-11)
The former covenant has been done away with. We have a new covenant now. The Law has been done away with. The new laws are now in our MIND and written on our HEART. How does this affect sin?
"17 To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17)
Sin is blatantly NOT doing what you know from understanding and experience is good in the Long Term...and it is a personal objective standard! It is a standard that is different by individual...but still objective. God is objective. Sin is still objective, however, it is God's objective standard for the individual...only.
I Corinthians 8
"4 Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one.
5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many;
6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him."
We covered this during the I Corinthians Series. Under the Law, eating food sacrificed to idols was ALWAYS a sin. However, Paul is stating that we aren't under the Law. Effects aren't sin...causes are sin. So, eating food does NOT affect our spirit...our beliefs. (Even Jesus stated that THAT which comes from the outside does NOT make us unclean. In fact, Matthew 15:11 has Jesus saying, "Not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out of the mouth, this defileth the man". WORDS haver the power to defile! WORDS are important...)
"7 Howbeit there is not in all men that knowledge: but some, being used until now to the idol, eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled."
However, Paul says that not everyone is mature in this knowledge. There are people who are weaker in the faith that aren't supported in their persuasion to be able to eat food sacrificed to idols.
"8 But food will not commend us to God: neither, if we eat not, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better."
Paul makes sure we all understand that the food is NOT the issue...like it was under the Law...like Jesus stated in Matthew 15:11.
"9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak."
Paul is concerned that your liberty becomes a stumblingblock to the WEAK. Anyone who tells you that your behavior causes THEM to stumble is telling you they are weak. Anyone who tells you that your behavior will cause someone else to stumble is judging you...just like under the Law that has been done away with.
"10 For if a man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols?
11 For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
12 And thus, sinning against the brethren, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, ye sin against Christ.
13 Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble."
Notice, the cause is the sin...and Paul even states the sin is against Christ! As we saw in the I Corinthians Series, Paul continues this thought through Chapter 9 and into Chapter 10...where we get an interesting conclusion to this topic of sin:
"23 All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify."
Paul is stating he can do ANYTHING...however, he is guided by doing that which is Profitable. The best we could hope for from the Law was Not Unprofitable. The guide for our dispensation is Profitable!
"24 Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good.
25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat, asking no question for conscience' sake,
26 for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
27 If one of them that believe not biddeth you to a feast, and ye are disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience' sake."
Read this section again! Paul is saying that if you have to go to a feast where you suspect that food sacrificed to idols is served, you can eat it as long as you don't ask! Do you still think that sin is an objective standard of effects that is the same for everyone?
"28 But if any man say unto you, This hath been offered in sacrifice, eat not, for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake:
29 conscience, I say, not thine own, but the other's; for why is my liberty judged by another conscience?"
Paul is saying that if someone tells you that it has been offered in sacrifice, then you shouldn't eat it...for the benefit of others...for the weak in faith. Paul even asks the question why he should be judged according to the conscience of another? Paul is asking why HIS sin is dependent on ANOTHER PERSON'S conscience!
"30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
32 Give no occasions of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God:
33 even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved." (I Corinthians 10:23-33)
Paul concludes by showing the objective is Profitability. The sin would be doing something that goes against what you know to be Profitable in the Long Term! That's because Long Term Profitability is God's Objective. In EVERY case throughout the Bible, sin is equated with a situation where the individual does something apart from what is right in the Long Term.
Clearly, the objective of this dispensation is doing the Right WHAT for the Right WHY/HOW! This dispensation is based on principles.
The general form for a principles is: Do (a SPECIFIC objective), and get (a SPECIFIC benefit).
Notice, a principle does NOT tell you SPECIFICALLY HOW to do something. It allows your uniqueness to determine the HOW because God will show the individual the Right HOW for them according to their uniqueness. A principle will give a reason (WHY) and a value (BENEFIT). A principle is a cause and it can look completely different when it results in an effect depending on the individual and the circumstances. In the above example, Paul's Right WHAT was different depending on whether people who were weak in the faith were present or not.
Defining words and concepts as causes makes them MORE powerful because their effects are infinite. Making the causes infinite (by using effects for a definition) actually introduces contradictions and guarantees we can't know ANYTHING. We can know the causes...the effects are beyond our comprehension.
This dispensation attempts to get people to be good by doing the OPPOSITE of the sin. They aren't doing nothing or trying to stop doing sin...they know what TO DO! I called this the "Doctrine of Righteousness".
Ought Thought Process
1. Stimulus - God influences your heart through the Holy Spirit
2. Choice - You check the influence according to understanding and experience
3. Action - You allow the influence to do Righteousness...God does the Righteous act!
This is the definition of Biblical Grace!
Grace is the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life. This is the ONLY definition that fits ALL the usages of grace translated from "charis" in the KJV and ASV.
Salvation occurs by grace through faith. Notice the Stimulus is the first half of the definition of grace. The Choice is faith. The Action is the second half of the definition of grace.
What is the alternative?
Is Thought Process
1. Stimulus - an influence occurs on the heart
2. Choice - the individual does NOT check the influence according to understanding and experience.
3. Action - if it was from the Holy Spirit it results in Righteousness. If it was from the flesh or enemy, it results in sin.
4. Guilt - if the influence was from the flesh or the enemy, the guilt OUGHT to cause us to confess and repent.
God's influence flows through your uniqueness (which we have called your ARE) and the result is the maximum profitability that you can attain. It is a result no one else can do that cost you next to nothing because it was God flowing through you. When you interact in your ARE with someone else who is in their ARE, you can BOTH be profitable! This dispensation desires profitability through interdependency!
Remember the passage from Romans 7:
"5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:5-6)
Paul is saying that we have been DISCHARGED from the Law. Instead of serving in oldness of letter (written word of the Law), we serve in newness of the Spirit...which is GRACE!
Instead, there are people who are stuck in the Dispensation of The Law. I realize our dispensation is complicated, especially compared to the previous Dispensation of The Law. I realize it is much easier to judge effects and appearance instead of think and speak like Jesus and Paul. I realize our dispensation causes us to take a Bigger Picture view and become more excellent. It may even require us to interact with people we think are wrong in order to first understand them. Afterall, the previous dispensation did NOT require a person to find out the causes...they could ONLY look at effects. I realize people pursuing comfort are going to try and make our dispensation into the Dispensation of The Law. However, doing this does GREAT damage to the Bride of Christ. ENCOURAGING others to be this superficial is even more damaging. In fact, it is the same System God used to insure Jesus would be killed unjustly. We see plenty of examples today. For instance:
People stuck in the Dispensation of The Law want to make grace into "unmerited favor"...a man-made definition that is an effect and contradicts God's Word. Notice, "unmerited favor" is what wipes away our sin...and brings us back to even. The BEST "unmerited favor" can accomplish is Not Unprofitable...just like The Law.
The next thing these people want to do is judge others. They need to believe sin is a violation of God's objective standard from the Dispensation of The Law so that they can feel right about judging everyone else's effects!
However, God's Word CLEARLY states that judging others during our dispensation is WRONG!
"1 Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Jesus said this! Matthew 7:1)
"1 Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things.
2 And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things.
3 And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practise such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" (Romans 2:1-3)
"10 But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God." (Romans 14:10)
"13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling." (Romans 14:13)
"3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4 For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God." (I Corinthians 4:3-5)
As stated previously, judging people AND encouraging others to judge people while thinking you are doing God's work is The System that was in place that resulted in Jesus being killed unjustly.
During the I Corinthians Series, we saw Paul deal SPECIFICALLY with judging in four consecutive chapters.
I Corinthians 4: Paul said that believers should NOT judge believers because it will lead to division.
I Corinthians 5: Paul said believers ought to judge the unbelievers acting like believers. In fact, Paul was talking to the believers in this chapter, NOT the sinner! Furthermore, Paul stated they ought to remove the sinner SO THAT they could keep company with the sinner! Paul was saying we are NOT to keep company with unbelievers who pose as believers. Notice, the cause (belief) is what is being judged...NOT behavior!
I Corinthians 6: Paul said a believer ought to be able to judge BETWEEN believers.
I Corinthians 7: Paul said believers shouldn't judge a believer who wants to stay married to an unbeliever. Again, this chapter is written to the church and NOT the spouses!
It boggles the brain to think that even today we have people who want to believe we live under the Law...that TODAY sin is the violation of an objective standard that is the same for everyone...that TODAY we ought to be judging people's behavior.
The ONLY way to come to this conclusion is to ignore the Bible and intentionally justify a short-term destructive mentality.
If these people thought Long Term, they wouldn't be sinning against the rest of us!
So what did I write about sin in "Modeling God" that has caused a group of pastors to state I'm wrong because I don't believe sin is a violation of God's objective standard that is applied the same to every person?
From pages 89 and 90 of "Modeling God":
WHAT IS SIN?
Paul defines sin as, "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). Now we can see why it is so important to have a non-contradictory definition of faith. Faith believes in something we can't see or that hasn't happened yet. Faith looks Long Term because it knows the causes. It doesn't focus on the effects and give in to a short-term mentality. Faith is built through understanding and experience.
Therefore, sin is anything we do that does not look Long Term. Sin is an action, attitude, or thought that is wrong because it is done apart from understanding and experience. That is, anything done apart from what the individual knows is right due to their understanding or experience.
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17)
This is not an objective list of actions, like the Law. It is dependent on the individual. If it is wrong for the individual, then it is sin for the individual alone. This is consistent with uniqueness. There are other definitions of sin that deny uniqueness and lead to condemnation.
For instance, some people define sin as "missing the mark" or "anything that doesn't bring glory to God." These definitions imply that everything is either a sin or something that is perfect and brings glory to God.
It's like flipping a coin and then wondering if my coin flip brought glory to God or it if was a sin. Having this type of definition for sin leads people to feel condemnation when they spend even one minute doing something that isn't bringing glory to God. These definitions are simply tools for people to focus on others. Paul's definition leaves it to the individual to focus on himself.
Besides, it is not our responsibility to point out what is sin in other people. If we judge others unjustly, justice will require a value from us. We shouldn't be concerned with whether others are "getting away with something." Sin causes guilt. It if is sin for the individual, the individual will have guilt. People who sin are getting a penalty whether you see it or not.
Actually, it is holy of God for us to be designed so that sin causes guilt. Our goal should be to follow God's influence in our life. When we don't operate in grace, we should desire to know this. Guilt is our objective way of knowing we aren't following God.
The individual's response to guilt becomes an expression of their will. Do they want to follow God, understand more, and remove the guilt through confession and repentance? Or do they want to follow their flesh, not think, and try to ignore or transfer the guilt?
I stand by what I wrote about sin in "Modeling God".
I didn't write EVERYTHING I know about sin in "Modeling God"...afterall, this post (along with the links) is only MOST of what I know. If you were to read all the links associated with this post, it would be a book all by itself. A lot of what is in this post is covered in "Modeling God's Wills" and will be covered in "Modeling Church".
"Modeling God" is ONLY the first of three books explaining the non-contradictory worldview. I'm willing to discuss all of these concepts with people who are willing to meet with me. I can't stress this enough: For the past three years, pastors have been unwilling to meet with me AND have been only too eager to judge me and spread incorrect information about me.
Whose fault is it if someone reads the above section from "Modeling God" and actively chooses NOT to talk with me in order to understand ALL the background? It could be mine if I refused to meet with people. However, (and I can't stress this enough) I have actively tried to meet with pastors to discuss this passage along with the rest of "Modeling God". However, I believe they know they will have to state their beliefs SPECIFICALLY...
Besides, if they are writing something to help people understand what I meant AND I didn't say THEIR WORDS, then they should have confirmed with me that I meant what they stated OR they shouldn't have written anything. But if they have written something incorrect, they are now opening themselves up to judgment from God. WE ALL are accountable for every idle WORD.
The reality is these people have shown their objective...
They are NOT trying to understand. They have used the excuse that "Modeling God" is a published work in order NOT to speak with me and possibly find out their interpretation is contradictory and wrong.
These people are justifying themselves.
These people have strongholds that cause them to say and do things that are emotional and contradictory.
These people are NOT looking Long Term...afterall, they are telling the public they don't agree with God's Word.
Next week, we will continue looking at how the flesh and the enemy participate in Spiritual Warfare.
(By the way, I realize this is an extremely long and detailed post. However, please take a look at the first comment to this post. A reader shows the power of defining words with causes as it relates to faith and eventually salvation. As has been stated several times in Modeling God and on this blog, I believe Ephesians 2:8...that we are saved by grace through faith. Eventually, I will be writing posts like today's post that cover: the Nature of God, the Nature of Christ, the nature of grace and salvation, the nature of prayer, and the basis of theology. I will do it in the same manner as it did in this post that covered the nature of sin. I will show how Modeling God presents the Bible's answer and how a group of pastors who are opposed to these explanations ACTUALLY show they don't believe the Bible (but believe in man-made tradition) when it comes to answering each of these questions themselves.)