I’ve heard a lot of talk about sin as it relates to injustice and it got me thinking. Many have come to understand the usual ‘lie, cheat, steal’ set of “sins” does not include ALL sin. Christians’ interpretation of sin is expanding. (I specify Christians because they largely subscribe to ‘a set of sins’ ideology and other cultures already have a more nuanced perspective about “sin.”)
We think sin is something you do or neglect to do. It is very black and white. With this expansion of interpretation, Christians are understanding sin to have a bit of nuance.
See, Christian theologians have greatly influenced Christianity practiced in Western culture.
Western culture is influenced by Greco-Roman culture and ideals. This is not to say that it is bad. It is to say its foundation from which all ideas come is in direct contradiction of the foundation of Scripture. The Torah is the foundation for all Scripture. A lack of understanding the Torah leads to a lack of understanding Scripture.
The Torah is not the law; though there are translations of the Hebrew word that mean law. It is best understood as “instruction, way.” When the psalmist David writes and asks YHWH to instruct him (David) in His ways, THIS is what he’s referring to.
The Torah is the instruction given to all who would come into covenant with YHWH. It does not instruct us with rules and regulations to follow in a “black and white” manner. It is a picture of the way YAH would desire us to walk. It is a guide for anyone to understand how life works. The Torah is the WAY.
Being raised in Torah teaches you how to submit to a process of healing so that you may always produce at your optimum level. The Torah teaches you that the wholeness of Israel is YAH’s desire and anything that does not bring about that is a failure to walk in the way. Thankfully, YAH, the beloved Father He is, teaches us in our failure.
The Torah does not apply the usual negative connotation to the word “failure.” According to the Torah, sin is failure to walk in His ways. This isn’t as black and white as we normally perceive it. When we see YAH respond strongly by giving certain consequences like “they shall be cut off from their people,” we assume it must mean “this sin is worse than others.” According to the Torah, it is not so. Granted, the Torah does not teach that all sin is equal. It is not. There are levels to this and responses from humans to help make the failure right (that’s for another day).
The Hebrew word for “sin” is חטאה (chatah, Strong’s #2403) and literally means “miss the mark.” Sin is when we fail (miss) to walk in His ways (the mark). His ways are not rules and regulations. His ways are based on identity. His ways are based on who He is.
In my recent blog post, You Don’t Owe God Anything, I allude to this. Have you ever asked, “Why does God do things a certain way? Why does He not like this or that? Why does this matter to Him?” It all comes down to identity. It all comes down to nature. It all comes down to his function. The same is true for us.
Every instruction given in the Torah is for a purpose. Every instruction is YAH revealing to us who He is and who we are as a result. This is to say that He does not give instructions expecting or hoping for us to fail. He gives commands (instructions) that reveal who we are. His standard says, “I have made you to function this way; therefore, function this way.” One of the best examples of this is The 10 Words (what Christians call The Ten Commandments).
Everything YAH opposes in the Torah is due to it being an incomplete picture of Him and how He intends for us to live. YAH operates a particular way. He is a living being that engages with life about Him. Anything that desires to exist in fellowship with Him will be called to a particular standard of function and He has every desire to teach us how. He does not place a weight on you that requires, “First, you do this and then I’ll approve you.” Relationship with Him is process. It is a becoming. It is an undoing from one experience to the next.
This is the freedom I have found outside of religion. At the core of religion is the idea that “I must ______ to be approved or validated.” In YAH, I am truly validated. Meaning: He is my Provider. He is my Source of identity — not the “success” of my efforts to be right. He is intentional about ensuring my healing. He is intentional about ensuring my oneness. He is intentional about ensuring my wholeness.
This intentionality is a picture of Love. He does not give up. He did wait for me to choose Him. He chose me and continues to pursue relationship with me.
To see sin the way we’ve been taught endangers my ability to receive love and therefore function in an intimate relationship with Him. For, I will always see what I do or do not do as something that puts me at risk of being rejected by Him. So, I would not live from a place of vulnerability allowing Him to be light and teach me His ways. Instead, I would run, hide, and create fig leaves. Much of our ideology and practices are modern versions of fig leaves.
YAH is not interested in us pretending to have an intimate relationship with Him. I’ll say it another way. YAH is not interested in us providing for ourselves. He is not interested in us providing identity for ourselves. Without Him as light, the identity we provide for ourselves is incomplete and therefore could never be perfect (whole, complete). That’s where much “sin” comes from — a need for identity and our response to this need. Much sin is a response to lack and our best efforts to cover it.
In YAH, there is no lack. There is fulfillment. There is completeness. There is wholeness. There is healing.
Would you be made whole?
For further study on this topic:
Click on the links found in this post for further reading and study.
Understanding the Law: https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-nt/understanding-law-in-romans-and-galatians.htm