In my experience, sin is often thought about in quite a legalistic manner. We say, “X is a sin,” and (quite rightly) explain the sinfulness of X with reference to God’s Law, in that God’s Law teaches that X is sinful.
But why does God’s Law teach X is sinful? What may arise if we allow ourselves to ponder this further step?
Think about it. If God’s Law says, “X is sinful,” just what is it about X that ‘justifies’ God’s being able to call it sinful? Can God just call X sinful, for no reason other than the fact that he says it is, or does God call X sinful for other facts about X?
Take murder. Murder, I take it, is the illegitimate taking of somebody’s life by another person or group of people.
Now the scripture says, “Do not murder.” But what is it about murder that makes murder sinful? On one level, it seems perfectly acceptable simply to say murder is sinful just because God says it is. But on reflection, if everyone murdered all the time, it would be deleterious to society, harmful to humanity, and counterproductive to the purposes of God in world evangelism.
I wonder if most if not all sins are like that? I wonder if, on reflection, God’s Law teaches against all kinds of activities, both public and private, because God, being the Creator, knows that the cultivation of those activities will harm the human race? After all, God, at least if he existed, would have a much wiser and more objective view of the world than any one person or group of people could have.
Seen in this light, God’s Law might make more sense to us. Why should I follow God’s Law? Because by breaking it, I am not only harming myself, I am harming my neighbour. I wonder how far this can go?