Sin as Ingratitude
Without our being aware, our relationship to religion may be a performance-based model. I’m judged on what I do and how well I do it. Somehow there is a Someone in heaven keeping a tally of all my good deeds. The hope in this regard can be that my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds and somehow I slip into heaven’s gates. If we reflect on this model further, we can see that all the focus seems to be on us. It’s a self-centered approach to religion and subtly puts me at the center of my salvation. The pressure and weight of this model and the depersonalized nature of it will leave a person exhausted and feeling like they work for God if anything. The person is also so scared to make a mistake.
On the other hand, our two-week journey has brought us through a consideration of God’s generous love to us. This journey has been personal and particular to our life. We see that God freely chose to create us, sustain us and give us His only Son along with everything else. This boundless love and generosity have begun to stir in our hearts gratitude and amazement at how blessed we are. In this context, we might be able to properly understand sin in its truest form. Sin is when we fail to recognize God, the giver of all gifts, and fail to return back to God our life in thanksgiving. Sin is ingratitude, and even more so, it’s a lack of recognition towards our utter dependency on God. This relational model recognizes that a person (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) has been immeasurably generous to me and has done for me what I could not do for myself. My path to heaven therefore is not simply a performance test, but a relationship with the only one who can save me, Jesus. My actions are done not to save myself but to thank Him and in doing so, I’m working out my salvation by remaining connected to the one who saves. This is not a burden but a path filled with joy even in the midst of sacrifice.