Tag Archives: sin

Corporate Sin: Responding

Yesterday I wrote that there is no such thing as individual sin; that ALL sin is corporate in some sense.

Today I want to touch on how we respond to that.

First of all, I want to mention that how a majority of people currently address sin is in pointing it out in other people’s lives. One mantra is, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

While it may be a theologically sound statement, we practice it all wrong. Christians use it as an excuse to say that they love someone, but refuse to show that love in an outward expression (through compassion). It also encourages us to look for the things NOT to love about other people rather than looking for things we SHOULD love about them. Let me say that this response of ours is wrong!

That cliched quip has also been spun into, “Love the sinner, hate your OWN sin.”

Personally I find this much more in line with the character of God.

While I cannot in good faith ask you to turn a blind eye to someone else’s sin, what I WILL remind you of is that you are not in control of someone else or their behavior. You ARE in control of yourself. If each person were to focus on making themselves better, then we would communally achieve our goals; like Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem (everyone did their part).

Thinking about the body metaphor from 1 Corinthians again…

If a hand is too concerned with where the feet should walk, then it will be too distracted to hand the glass of water to the thirsty person. And if the ear is too concerned with where the eye should be looking, it will miss the calls for help from the needy and oppressed.

When we become distracted by what other people are doing (or aren’t doing), then we become distracted from our OWN purposes and callings.

It’s Satan’s oldest trick to pit us against each other. Remember that Cain was so jealous of Abel’s offering he neglected to give a worthy offering himself. It goes both ways.

If I’m too worried that your offering isn’t good enough, then I neglect my own offering in some way.

The Church body all holds the same calling, to bring Heaven to earth, but we have all been given different functions in how to achieve this.

So maybe my foot stumbles, my hand works to catch the falling body; not to scold the foot. And maybe my eyes look on something unholy, my ears strain to hear the voice of God calling them back.

We do not convict each other through verbal abuse, but through practicing our function correctly because, “The best critique of something that is wrong is the practice of something better.”

Our response should never be to remove, expose, or humiliate weakness in our brothers and sisters, but to shield them and strengthen the body with the abilities given to us. This protects and makes room for the Spirit to work at strengthening the weaker members.


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Corporate Sin: Fact or Fiction?

I was just now reading a review of the movie ‘Blue Like Jazz‘ (I know I’m late to the party). There are a lot of things I could say about it, but one line specifically caught my attention.

The writer said, “Clearly, the church doesn’t condone adulterous affairs, which are an individual’s own sin, not the church’s.”

This is a piss-poor attitude and probably why the author felt justified in critiquing an autobiographical movie like it was a Sunday sermon.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12 that just like a body is one thing and has many ‘members’ (arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc.), so the Church is ‘one Spirit’ and many members. He writes specifically, “If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”

Which means we cannot dissociate ourselves or cut ourselves off from other people who claim to be a part of the Christian body, even if we want to. We are bound to those who confess Jesus in thought, word, deed, and action because we are the same body.

Paul continues, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you…”

Which means we can’t cut THEM out of our lives either!

We can’t remove ourselves and we can’t remove them.

If you don’t think this is fair, let me remind you that in Jesus’ final prayer in Gethsemene he asked that God make all of us “one, as [God and Jesus] are one.”

Jesus prays that all of us Christian brothers and sisters share the same kind of relationship that He has with God the Creator. If you don’t know what that relationship looks like, the author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the “reflection of God’s glory” and the “exact imprint of God’s very being.”

Jesus WAS God. We ARE each other.

If my tongue sins, my mind and heart are still guilty. When my hand sins, my foot is guilty. When my eyes sin, my ears are guilty. When my father, mother, brothers, or sisters sin, I am guilty.

Still not convinced?

James tells us that if we have broken just ONE POINT of the law, then we have broken all of it.

That means if I am a liar, then I am also an adulterer, a thief, and a murderer. The sin that you are committing now, I have already committed. The law that you break now, I will break tomorrow.

There is no such thing as individual sin. Not if we believe Paul and respond to Jesus’ request. Not if we believe what James (the very brother of Christ) taught about keeping the commandments.

Nope. All sin is corporate because it never affects only ourselves. Every single member is guilty…

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