Co-authored with Andrea Garzon
The most “radical” message we hear nowadays sounds something like: “we are not perfect, BUT God is so merciful that He relates to us ‘in spite of’ us.” One of the most important topics in order to grasp the fullness of the redemptive work of Jesus is the “sin” question. Sin and righteousness represent two persons, Satan and Jesus, the spirit of error and the spirit of truth. Thinking otherwise, unavoidably makes us face a host of incongruences.
These are Jesus’ words on sin:
“If you were blind, you would have no sin; but because you now claim to have sight, your sin remains. [If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but because you insist: ‘We do see clearly’ you are unable to escape your guilt.]” John 9:41
“Then, the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked…” Genesis 3:7
Adam’s transgression opened our eyes to a dimension of separation, dragged us from resting in all-sufficiency to the anxiety of perpetual lack. We fell into a world of externalism and strife. We were made in the image of the One who is Love and love expresses itself in freedom. It is imperative to understand there are two laws: “the Law of God” (the law of love) and “the law of commandments” (the law men). In Colossians 2:20 God Himself refers to the Ten Commandments as “commandments of men”. We may think this was the Law of God because He gave it to Moses, but all these regulations were nothing more than a mean to expose Satan’s seed in man, that is, the illusion of independence.
“By the law came the knowledge of sin” Which sin? Self-righteousness, which plainly means we think we can become like God by our own powers. The “law of men” alludes to that God was talking to His offspring in their own language: “You want commandments? You think you can produce anything apart from me? Here they are!” That external approach to God that we inherited through Adam refers to the law, flesh and sin. Paul said ‘sin’ deceived him through the law. Which sin? Covetousness? No! The sin of “trying to be good” (self-righteousness).
We could say the outer law is for those who live by the outer and the inner law for those who live by the inner (law of love). The inner consciousness regard the outer law as something inner already fulfilled in Christ, and since He is our life we are that law of love, something we spontaneously fulfill every now in righteousness because we are love. Thus we do not regard the law in outer terms, that is, judging by appearances. Outer people, however, only see a list of ordinances they have to fulfill.
By the Spirit’s mighty work in us we learn to see through everything to the core of things and acknowledge that we are beautifully made, and those “warts” we all have are a part of God’s wisdom so that His glory can be manifested in everything. As we penetrate further and further into the Promised Land we do not see the outer law anymore. It is erased from our consciousness. Everything is inner and we are only accountable to our personal inner reality, which is God. Thus, those still seeing sin in relation to outer laws basically lack the faith to move on across the river.
Sin basically is a person, Satan. When we were indwelt by him we did his works and we were sin. Now, indwelt by God, we are righteousness and it is His deeds we now do, more and more so as we move past should’s and ought to’s (Romans 7). But, on a deeper sense we are still doing righteous works even when under the law, because we are still God’s and He is using our outer failures to condition us to take that leap of faith and go from outer to inner where we find rest from our works.