1 John 3:4, 1 John 3:4-10, Anthropology, christology, Ethics, Harmatiology, love, Matthew 22:34-40, morality, Oswald Chambers, relationship, Romans 13:10, Romans 5:13, Sin, The Psychology of Redemption
In his Psychology of Redemption, Oswald Chambers writes:
“For by Him were all things created . . .” (Colossians 1:16). Did God then create sin? Sin is not a creation; sin is the outcome of a relationship which God never ordained, a relationship set up between the man God created and the being God created who became the devil. God did not create sin, but He holds Himself responsible for the possibility of sin, and the proof that He does so is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Calvary is God’s responsibility undertaken and carried through as Redemption. The essential nature of sin is my claim to my right to myself, and when sin entered in, the connection between man and God was instantly severed; at-one-ness was no longer possible.
One may contend that Chambers has put the emphasis in the wrong place: “sin is the outcome of a relationship”. Isn’t it true that, “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4) and “sin is not counted where there is no law” (Romans 5:13)? Without question, sin does entail ethical and relational aspects. But we must understand that such ethical considerations are grounded one’s relationship to God.
Consider, for example, the paragraph in 1 John 3 which contains the phrase “sin is lawlessness”. Notice first that John uses the ethical dimension to demonstrate the relational defect:
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Notice also that John restates and summarizes the nature of sin in the final clause of verse 10, “the one who does not love his brother”. Jesus himself grounds the ethical dimension of the law in the relational aspects, both toward God and toward human beings:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40.
What about Paul stating that without law there is no sin? In that same letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul writes: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).