Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sin, redefined

“Elder brothers obey God to get things. They don't obey God to get God himself—in order to resemble him, love him, know him, and delight him. So religious and moral people can be their own spiritual Saviors and Lords as much as the younger brothers who say they don't believe in God and define right and wrong for themselves.

“Here, then, is Jesus' radical redefinition of what is wrong with us. Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God>, page 43

How blind can we be? Apparently, very, as Keller goes on to show:

“The younger son's flight from the father was crashingly obvious. He left the father literally, physically and morally. Though the older son stayed home, he was actually more distant and alienated from the father than his brother, because he was blind to his true condition. He would have been horribly offended by the suggestion that he was rebelling against the father's authority and love, but he was, deeply.

“Because the elder brother is more blind to what is going on, being an elder brother Pharisee is a more spiritually desperate condition.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, page 47

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