Let’s say then that sin isn’t breaking rules. And that’s important enough to repeat. Sin is NOT breaking rules. Sin is creating a dead spot in our soul by breaking a relationship with someone who loves us. It is choosing to create separation. That separation is from what is life-giving. Life-giving sensations, feelings, sensitivities are all part of our whole natures – our souls and when we choose against that we deaden some part so that it doesn’t respond as it should. When it doesn’t respond, we don’t act in the way we like to act. We create false experiences of relating with other people that separate us from them and in some cases causes them to choose separation from us and others as well.
The Bible tells us that first human beings did this. They chose to deaden their relationship with God. And so, instead of being life-giving to the world and to oSo,ther people, they began to regularly, intimately and intricately create separation and deadening experiences in others. We passed it on, like an infection. And we see it happen that way every day, in subtly gentle ways and in massively horrific ways. In can be passed along, like a cold, in common interaction, like an advertisement that takes a heart-felt truth and turns it into a sales promotion, by whining ourselves into isolation and even by selling other humans.
One of the things that teaches us that sin is not breaking rules is that Jesus is not made sinful by being with us, touching us or associating with us. What became known as “holy” was seen as clean and pure. We were told that God was distant from us… clean and pure, unable to abide the touch of sin. A friend once described this as similar to a ink line on a silk shirt, as when some doesn’t realize the pen is still open and puts in into the pocket, marking a short line across the material. It is ruined. There’s no getting the ink out of the silk. In this same way, my friend said, God can’t allow sin to touch him.
The problem with that is Jesus, who came and lived with us. Jesus touched people who were sinful, who were told they were out of the reach of God and who, it was claimed, could “infect” someone else with their sin. But that’s all “breaking the rules” sin, the Law. Jesus came and reinterpreted the Law and taught us that we had no idea what it meant. Some people who read Jesus’ reinterpretation, in the Sermon on the Mount, will tell you he makes righteousness beyond the reach of everyone by what he says. But what Jesus was telling us was that we got the point of the Law wrong. The Law wasn’t a set of rules that we had to avoid breaking. The Law is God saying, “Don’t do this because it will hurt you, it will deaden a part of you. Do this instead because it will bring you life.”
So, Jesus didn’t die to make us pure and holy. He died by receiving the consequences of all the death created by human beings throughout history. All the death we create within our souls and within the souls of others, Jesus received so that a way could be made for us to re-grow the dead parts into life-giving, healthy parts.
What Jesus brought us was the means of finding life, of living with each other and growing into wholeness in our souls.
More to come…