(continued from part 2)
When people think about the word “sin”, they think about the sin nature acted out, or acted upon. Those are the outworkings of sin, usually called “sins” (plural, since they take several forms, depending on the context in which the sin nature is acted out). The entire book of Romans of Romans mention “sin” (singular, meaning sin as a principle or force) well over 40 times (including derived words like “sinful”), and the word “sins” meaning “acts of sin” only 3 times! If you read the first 8 chapters of Romans through this lense, they will make perfect sense. The issue is the sin force / nature, which generates acts of sin (sins) and which end in death. We can simply refer to the sin force as “malfunction”, and acts or manifestations of it as “breakdowns”, for the sake of simplicity.
If sin is malfunction, righteousness is the original perfect functionality. We can substitute that word with “being made right”, or “rightness”, or “right functionality”.
Now, let’s look at several scriptures and see how this new perspective impacts the way we read them.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[a] who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Let’s make our substitutions and read this passage in light of what we’ve learned (I am taking some liberties with this verse to make a point):
21 But now the rightness from God apart from the law of Moses is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 specifically the rightness originating from God (in accordance with his original design) via placing our trust in Jesus Christ, and that is available to all and is on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have malfunctioned and fall short of the perfect rating [of the original design] of God, 24 being made right freely by His grace through the buy-back program that is in Christ Jesus,
Check out this specific verse:
23 for all have malfunctioned and fall short of the perfect rating [of the original design] of God,
It doesn’t sound so threatening anymore, right? It’s simply a problem statement, with v. 24 providing the solution to it. No shame, guilt, or condemnation, just pure facts.
Here’s another verse for us to consider. Keep in mind that the word condemnation, or kata-kri-ma (Strong’s #2631: katakrima) simply means “against-decision-effect”, or “adverse decision effect”. The word itself doesn’t bear any indication as to the decision-maker of that adverse decision. In fact, the original adverse decision-maker was Adam, and not the usually-assumed God. What God did was simply warn Adam of the consequences of that decision in advance.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation (adverse decision effect) to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
v. 1 states that NOW (yes, right now) there are no adverse decision effects to those who are in Christ Jesus, and who walk according to their new spirit. How cool is that?! Whatever the effects of Adam’s adverse decision are, there are none that you have to bear! That includes sickness, by the way. v. 2 says that endless life that is in Jesus (and since I also am in Jesus, so this life is available to be from my new spirit) HAS made me free from the law of malfunction / sin that is responsible for the process of death and decay. What an amazing truth! It’s a done deal. As everything in God’s kingdom, that is to be received and operated upon by faith in that truth.
Jesus takes away the sin / malfunction of the world – that’s what John the Baptist said of him. Even the phrase “forgiveness of sins”, if you study the Greek behind that phrase, means “sending away the omissions”. So whatever is amiss in our lives, relationships, bodies – Jesus came to send that all away, and grant us his wholeness and perfection. And that’s available in the here and now!