I’ve found myself thinking a lot about this lately... about how sometimes we don’t deal with sin as we should and instead try to blame our sin on a cause or means to the sin. It’s almost like we don’t realize that (first of all) our sin is something that we don’t only choose to do, but it’s a state of being we have inherited from our father Adam, and (secondly) that the tools with which we sin are not the reason for the sin at all, they are merely means to an end. We like to think that we’re naturally good people and it’s our surroundings that tempt us and lead us to do evil.I’ll use a bumper sticker I saw recently as an example. You’ve probably seen it before, it states simply “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. And the whole point is that the gun is simply the tool with which a sin can be accomplished... it is NOT the sin itself. In other words it’s not the gun’s fault, it’s YOUR fault.
So there’s two things I think we should realize: First, that we shouldn’t blame the gun. It’s important to understand that we sin because we are made sinners. Though we do choose to perform sins, the core of our sinful actions starts in our heart because we have inherited this nature from Adam (Rom. 5:12-21). We don’t sin because we are tempted, we give in to temptation because of our sin nature and failure to exercise obedience and self control. Secondly, we need to realize that the means to sins can sometimes be used for good and it would be a sin in itself to deem them as bad when they’re not. In the gun example this would mean trying to redeem firearms by exercising their positive uses instead of trying to abolish them based on the reasoning that they have been used to commit sins . Guns provide protection for our families and our country, they help us gather food and meat for eating and they are a tool that helps our government officials keep an upper hand over criminals and law breakers. So to try to get rid of guns altogether would be to sacrifice the positive effects of using them in order that we might remove the possibility of sinning.
For Christians, realizing these two points helps us to not only understand that sin is an issue of the heart, but it also gives us freedom to begin taking things that some use for evil and start using them for good. A great example of this is technology. Some might say that Christians shouldn’t have internet access because there’s so much temptation to view pornography. But to abandon cyberspace altogether is to lose an opportunity to utilize it in a God-glorifying, missional way. By not stepping up and embracing these new tools and methods God has given us, we’re basically handing them over and saying “here you go Satan, use these... we’re scared of them”.
Now some might quote Matthew 5:30 or Mark 9:43 which says “if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away”. But this is not sufficient evidence against the argument because Jesus’ deliberate overstatement here is intended to stress the importance of devotion to one's spouse. It’s clear he is not saying that we should remove all things that MIGHT cause us to sin because earlier in Mark he tells us that “from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,” etc.
He specifically tells us that the means are not the issue... it’s the heart.
Now in this entry I have only spoken of 2 things that someone might have issues with and thus wrongly accuse of being a cause for sin. But there are many other things that open the door for temptation and create a pathway for evil acts. Basically abuse of anything whether it be watching too many films, overeating(not that many would regard food as a sin) or hanging out with lost people, all of these can lead to committing of sins. But when acted out in a healthy balance they can be enjoyed and used in the way they were designed as well as acting as a means to spread the gospel message.
As my blog title states... there must be a balance.