Friday, 3 May 2013

The Problem of How to Understand Sin and Righteousness

Understanding original sin is a complicated issue. Should we fully accept Augustine's perspective? Or Luther's? Or how American evangelism has altered the original understanding of those perspectives?

The purpose of original sin is centrally to show us that we need God. Not to solely judge us on some personal level. Judgement is primarily intended to be a positive thing where God makes the world right. Psalm 82:3 declares that God will “judge the poor and the orphan.” The only coherent way to read this passage is to see Judgment as God’s bringing justice to the world, and making all things right.

I think Jesus often uses the term "righteous" as a rhetorical strawman to make a bigger point.

In Luke 5 Jesus is said to be eating with sinners and tax collectors when the Pharisees come to ridicule him for associating with such people. He responds that he has "not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” We know from other passages that Jesus obviously does not think the Pharisees are "righteous" in its most literal meaning, but is juxtaposing their self-righteous piety with people who are fully aware of their brokenness  It is not about who is good or bad in the individualistic modern sense, but God's grace which is over all of us.

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