Part II of Basic Christianity addresses the topic of sin. (For Part I click here) A correct understanding of sin is vital to the Christian life!
We are all sinners – every follower of every religion has this in common. None are perfect. Chapter 5 contains an overview of the ten commandments.
- You shall have no other gods before me.
To keep this commandment would mean that He is first in every thought, every word and every deed.
2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image.
Stott addresses the fact that though we may not have made idols with our hands what about mental images in our minds?
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
This one stuck me deeply “To call God ‘Father’ and be filled with anxiety and doubts is to deny His name. To take God’s name in vain is to talk one way and act another. This is hypocrisy.” (p65)
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
This is a day set apart to rest and for the Lord.
5. Honor your father and mother.
This extends past childhood and has to do with respect, whether we visit them in old age or help them in time of need.
6.You shall not kill.
7. You shall not commit adultery
Once again this does not just include the act but thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
8. You shall not steal.
Stealing could be tax evasion, working short hours when getting paid for more, as an employer overworking and underpaying.
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
This includes idle talk and gossip or creating false impressions.
10. You shall not covet.
Coveting has much to do with the heart – looking at someone else’s possessions and desiring, which is also lack of contentment.
The Consequences of Sin
Equals Separation from God
Those in the Bible who had a look at God’s glory became more conscious of their own sin. In this I can relate. The more I know God, the more fellowship I have with Him, the more aware I am of my deeply sinful nature, how the attitudes of my flesh attempt to rise up.
Stott shares his own experience as a child
“I can still remember my own perplexity when as a boy I said my prayers and tried to penetrate into God’s presence. I could not understand why God seemed shrouded in mists and I could not get near Him. He seemed remote and aloof. I know the reason now.” And he follows with a Scripture from Isaiah 59:1,2 ‘but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.’
Sin is ingrained in our nature, as the tendency to put ourselves first. Look at a child, how they learn without being took to try to be first in line, or to get the largest dessert.