July 25th – Not Really Sins, Surely?



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I read an abridged chapter of a book by Dr. Alistair Braun in ‘Renewal’ magazine, and I wondered if it strikes you as it struck many thoughtful Christian readers.
“Only real sins matter” we say (said Dr. Braun) “There are many things about which we need not be too fussy: they are not real sins.”
He described a car journey in which his Christian friend, a fellow minister, drove him at over 100 mph, but who could see no spiritual problem in speeding. He wasn’t doing wrong; just outwitting or trying to outwit the traffic police. Surely that’s not a sin? A minor misdemeanour maybe.
In the same chapter he also cites being hosted by a Christian family in a bedroom so luxurious that he felt ashamed of the ostentatious materialistic luxury which even practising Christians had come to regard as normal comfort. If you were given such accommodation how would you feel? Jealous? Envious?, sad, or flattered? Does it matter? He went on to talk about our national addiction to soap operas and the unhealthy life styles of gossip, hate, infidelity and violence which become the social mind-food, accepted as our normal diet for us and our children. Addiction to T.V.? Surely there’s nothing wrong in that? Nor in making big profits if that is your company’s sole goal, regardless of the folks you make redundant or shift to another city, or how many rival companies are forced out of business. Surely that’s not sin? – it’s business.
He goes on to describe a local church which takes a new willing member and shoves him into a loyalty test which ends up with him being at everything at church every night: so much so that his wife has no husband, the children have no father, and the prayer meeting prays for those difficult absent family members. Surely the church and its loyal members have not committed real sins against that marriage – have they? He wondered what God’s verdict is. What’s yours? No not about that man – but about your sins that don’t count?
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love …..
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, for I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned Psalm 51: 1a and 2-4a
A Prayer:
‘Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’
Now read what some scholars call a blot on the history of the early church: Acts 5: 1-11.

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