Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sin, Sanctification, and Today's Sermon

Today's sermon was a continuation on temptation. The pastor emphasized how desires that are not "maintained" lead to sin. He went on to explain that it was only a complete surrender and trust not based on reason that would "help" in attaining sanctification. One must identify with Jesus.

Although he had said that he did not believe any of us are immune to the normal capacity to sin and that we all do, he also seemed to say that one's "entrustment" and "commitment" to God in modelling Jesus' life was "entire sanctification. (These were not his words, but my understanding of the implications of his sermon).

My question is if desire is not a sin, then when does it become a sin? when it impinges upon others? when it hinders other things that someone else thinks should be more important to you? when it limits other areas of your life through addiction? when it become the focus of one's life? what about goals, life purposes, and noble causes that one sees as the epitome of desire?

Buddhism teaches that if we can disengage ourselves from desire, then we can attain a "state of Nirvana". Should Christians then, disengage themselves from their desires to seek entire sanctification? I think not, as desire is not wrong, but channelling it into the right direction is important. This is why our free society is important to maintain.

I think that whenever one talks of "sin", there is an inevitable reaction in the religious of "appeasement to God", as "he is the one offended"....or a spiritual reaction of "moral superiority" because this particular "sin" is not my weakness. Religion intensifies an otherwise "decent" and civil discussion. Religion can be dangerous and often hinders open and free discussion for fear of treading on "forbidden territory".

I think that today's world of religious intolerance, dogmatism, and ideological "drivenness" is not an atmosphere open for civil discourse. Dogmatism hinders open-mindedness, because one's identity is so tied to one's understanding of "god" that any discussion is seen as a personal attack. This is an unhealthy identification, or a limited development, at least.

Traditions do breed security and identity, but can also breed prejuidice and discrimination, through a limited understanding of living and being in the world. One's "world" is "all there is" and should dominate everyone else's reality, as well.This is nothing short of self focused living in the name of "god" and it is repugnant to many who see differently.

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