Andrew Hughes | Category: Worldview
A few weeks ago, I raised the matter of the sacred/secular dilemma we often face in life. Before we spend time looking at some specific areas of life that often get dumped into the arena of “secular” and may unwittingly be considered less important than our “sacred/spiritual” activities, let me answer a question that might arise.
When you hear the statement that there is no dimension or area of life that is more sacred than another, you might ask, “But what about sin? Sin isn’t sacred is it?”
All of life is NOT sacred in the sense that every single act in life is a holy act. Certainly, there are righteous actions and there are unrighteous actions. Sinful actions are not sacred and holy.
However, all dimensions of life are sacred. By dimensions, I mean such general entities as vocation, entertainment, literature, relationships, business, education, sexuality, etc. These are all equally gifts from God and each has rich theological underpinnings, starting early on in Genesis. Ultimately, the sacredness of life is about relating all things back to their origin, God. Nothing is to be considered in isolation from God, because all things are from Him, the Creator.
What then is the relationship of sin to these dimensions? From the moment of the first sin in Genesis 3, sin has always been a distortion. Sin is not categorically unrelated to righteousness and holiness. It is purely a perversion and distortion of that which is good, holy, and righteous- - a distortion of God’s good gifts. Sin can take us either way with God’s sacred/good gifts- viewing them as insignificant or making them into idols. For instance: If I struggling with laziness at my work, I may be perverting God’s gift of labor by considering it insignificant. If I am struggling with being a workaholic, I may be perverting God’s gift of labor by making it an idol.
So before we continue, in future posts, the discussion of overestimating the level of “spirituality” certain activities have over others, let’s make sure we don’t underestimate the way in which sin itself points to the sacredness of all life. If we begin to see even our own sin in such a light, it can actually help drive us to swift repentance and joy in God. When you sin, instead of simply saying to self and to God, “I must stop doing this!” Instead, counsel yourself by asking, “What good gift from God is being distorted and perverted in my life?” Upon identifying it, pray towards that specific end and seek joy and pleasure in that gift from God. This is the essence of the “put off/put on” principles in the New Testament. We see this in Ephesians 4:
If we can see how God's gifts are connected even to our sin, this can disarm the attractiveness of sin by shifting the focus to the beauty of what the sin is distorting. Don’t pursue the fleeting pleasures offered by perversions of God’s good gifts, but instead receive those sacred gifts as He intends them.
The purpose of our church blog is to serve the overall mission of our church: to delight in the beauty of God's greatness,