After service, I went to lunch with some friends, and while they liked the message, there was apparently some confusion about some of the concepts I used particularly the relationship between sin and the idea of human incompleteness of the “God-shaped hole” that I said all of us have.
In talking about Jesus filling in this hole that we have inside of us, some people wondered, “Wait! What does this incompleteness have to do with sin?”
It’s a good question, and one I thought about addressing more explicitly but didn’t.
Before I answer it, however, let me give a short critique of a typical and popular view of sin.
We often view sin as the morally “bad things” that people do.
We might even have the presence of mind to think of it as the bad thoughts and even the bad motives that we have.
I would agree that these bad things are a part of what sin is, but I think they are more of a symptom then the actual “thing itself.”
Some of us come from certain theological backgrounds, which taught us an idea of sin called “total depravity.” There are many nuances and perspectives on this view, but a popular version of it says that human beings are morally bad to the bone. Everything we do and think is evil. Even when we do the right thing, we do it because of pride and/or other awful motives, so God sees our effort and hates it because its truly evil at its core. Morally. Repugnantly. Evil.
There are certainly Scripture verses that speak of the evil in the human heart, but I don’t think they provide a full picture of exactly what sin is at its core.
In fact, I think humans are capable of great good (the tree was called the knowledge of evil AND good after all).
The issue of sin shouldn’t be limited to focusing on the moral aspect of it; rather, humans commit evil deeds and think evil thoughts because of their own emptiness. Even the good that people do isn’t capable of completing them.
Thus, the issue goes beyond the problem of morality
In the core of who we are, apart from the promise of Jesus, we are empty.
And that is the promise of Jesus, to give us a “full” nature to replace our empty one.
He says in John 7:37-38:
“All who are thirsty should come to me! All who believe in me should drink! As the scriptures said concerning me, Rivers of living water will flow out from within him.”
The promise of Jesus is the fill the empty spaces in his beloved creation, i.e., the “sin,” beginning with us, and one day, the whole world.
Like what you see here? Join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington for the conversation and our Q&A.