Who likes to talk about sin? None. Because it makes us uncomfortable. I think that the Apostle Paul was adamant in discussing the sin issue that severed us from God. Sin is not a popular topic and it never has been.
It, however, seems to me that both “New Perspective on Paul” and “Paul within Judaism” scholars tend to dismiss sin problems as something trivial or peripheral. To E. P. Sanders, for example, justification is unrelated to sin; it simply means a transfer from being Gentiles into obtaining the membership of God’s people. N. T. Wright, too, argues that what’s at stake is Israel’s failure to call and include Gentiles, not their sin problems. Stanley Stowers joins them in neglecting to discuss sin’s ontological problem; what’s important to him is “the ‘apocalyptic’ context of the reference to sins” (Stowers 1994:178).
But the ultimate (and better) way forward in dealing with our sin issues is not to deny or downplay their destructive nature. Rather, we need to define sin according to God’s Word and accept the solution that the Bible offers. Sin is not just bad deeds; it is a heart problem. Sin is the state of our hearts. And the only solution to this perpetual problem is the gospel of forgiveness of sins freely and graciously offered in Christ Jesus.
(Photo: Jametlene Reskp, Unsplash)