Fellowship at Cross Creek
The Story of Sin… Part V:
An Overview of My Studies…
Forgiveness’ Passion Revealed…
By Joseph M. Cross
My Labors So Far…
Part I: My Story of Sin Begins with my Curiosity over a line in the traditional biblical Christmas Story…”You shall name him Jesus because he will save the people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21.
Parts II-IV: My curiosity with the meaning of “sin” next lead me to what others said about the term.
Part A…Looking Back at What Others Have Said about Sin…
Below are 12 key points concerning the development of the term sin within the Ancient Greek, Hebrew and Jewish traditions (Sin; NIDNTT)…
• 2 principles from the Greeks;
• 6 from the LXX or the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT;
• 3 from post-exilic Jewish times and
• 1 concerning Jesus’ initial actions…
This is about as simple as I can make it:
1) The Greeks defined Sin as an injustice against society’s norm.
2) The Greeks used religious rites, knowledge and good works in their attempt to overcome their struggle with one’s infatuations and fate.
3) The Hebrews add a very critical Spiritual-legal dimension to the concept of Sin.
4)) Sin functions as very universal, contagious and deadly moral virus.
5) Dealing with Sin is not just punitive, but salvific for the entire community.
6) The OT Law employed both punishment and sacrifice to combat Sin.
7) The history of God’s people is one of spiritual apostasy, leading to national decay, destruction and eventual exile.
8) Israel’s only hope is Isaiah’s sinless Suffering Servant (Is. 53).
9) After the Jewish-Babylonian Exile, a legalistic hypocrisy flourishes under Rabbinical teaching.
10) Good works, suffering and martyrdom are added to the Law’s punishments and sacrifices.
11) The Rabbis teach that the Messiah will eradicate Sin completely.
12) Jesus (Yah-Saves) befriends Sinners.
Part B…An Overview of My Own NT Word Study Results on Sin…
And while what others’ were writing was powerful, I decided to pursue my curiosity of Sins’ Story even further. I decided to do MY OWN NT word study on Sin. In researching the NT’s over 300 references to sin, I discovered, or rediscovered, at least 5 more critical layers to more fully understand Sin, including:
1) Why the Jews of Yah-Save’s day were driven to seek a national salvation through the forgiveness of their historical-national sins?
2) In turn, legalistic, hypocritical Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ day paradoxically ended up in ONLY adding to their many sins when they reject Yah-Saves’ offer of salvation from the very sins which they had been anxiously awaiting forgiveness from for centuries;
3) Like a meteor crashing to earth…the story and miracle of how the whole world comes to be included in Yah-Saves’ offer of salvation from sin is truly remarkable.
4) Incredibly, the story of being saved from Sin doesn’t end with initial faith or trust, as some seemingly so over-emphasize. Initial trust for one’s eternal deliverance from sin is only the beginning of a natural, incredible, Spiritual and developmental process to being saved from sin;
5) Spirit and Truth: God’s Tool and tools for saving people from their sins.
Upcoming…Part VI…Why the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of sins meant something very different to the Jews before Jesus’ coming than after…and then later, in the days of the early church, even something more…