Much of the definition of sin in the modern Church revolves around the passage in Romans 14:23*, “…. and whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. Most people entrenched in Conservative church finger-pointing and condemnational philosophy will point out that this means that unless you can ‘justify’ as coming from faith, usually to the satisfaction of the questioner, a particular action, habit, pastime, orientation or whatever, then it’s sin.
It’s SIN, do you hear me?!!
But that’s not what that passage in Romans is all about. It’s actually about freedom from rules and regulations. The verse does not define sin; it simply says that if a person does something [effectively] against his own conscience, then that’s the sin. It doesn’t mean that everything has to be from faith, else it’s a sin. Read in its context, and with the presumptions of a ‘nice’ God who wants us to live life in its fulness, that’s what it means. There is a certain irony in that this passage, which is meant to encourage freedom, has been hijacked by the legalism brigade and used to create yet more bondage! I’ve written about this freedom in some depth elsewhere in my blog here.
On a blog I frequent, a contributor wrote, “…men invented some interpretations of things they didn’t like and called it evil”. And I agree. This is exactly what happens when people’s good feelings are perceived by them to be under threat by something they don’t like, be it rock music, dancing, smoking or some ‘false’ doctrine. The Christian musician, Don Francisco, once wrote this lyric, “I know that you don’t like it but just listen my friend | just ‘cuz you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s a sin”.
Evil itself is obvious when it happens. The behaviour of ISIS, cancer, toothache 😉 I could go on. There’s certainly no need for religious people to invent more of it! 😀
So I really suspect that actually much of the modern definition of ‘sin’ is just that certain people don’t like something, so proclaim it a SIN so they get their own way about what’s allowed and what isn’t – and all backed up by an angry, almighty God etc. etc. It’s almost laughable, isn’t it?
*Interestingly, I Googled that verse to find out the exact reference. And the fact that I only had to type in the words ‘whatsoever is’ before Google realised what I was trying to find, speaks volumes to me in that it must be searched for by lots of people, for that to happen! Hmm, I wonder why? People focusing on sin (usually others’ sin) instead of salvation, perhaps?