The problem with sin is that sinners like me can’t really grasp the gravity of the situation because I/we are sinners. How can someone crooked tell someone else to be less crooked?
I’m not talking about sin as what we do (don’t murder, don’t lie, don’t do this that or the other), I’m talking about sin are what we are, the fancy word for what we are is our ‘ontology’ – the heart of our very being, and not mere out-workings of it. That’s why it’s not really about our doing sin, but our being sinful. We need inner change not outward rule-keeping.
That’s why the human race needs Jesus, because only Jesus can change our ontological nature: be born-again; be transformed; be renewed. Only Jesus.
To my shame and utter ruin, I haven’t mentioned Karl Barth on this blog yet. I will amend my ways immediately with a quote on what this magnificent theologian says about crookedness and sin.
“Men (er, and women as well Karl), preoccupied with themselves have no eyes to see this (sin) or categories to grasp it…… Access to the knowledge that he is a sinner is lacking to man because he is a sinner….
….This is revealed in the fact that he does not see beyond the natural inward contradiction of his existence, in face of which he is capable of remorse and pity and melancholy, or even rueful irony, but not of genuine terror, in face of which he can always quieten and excuse himself, remaining obstinately blind and deaf to the contradiction which is his guilt and the breach which is his need.
He sees and thinks and knows crookedly even in relation to his crookedness.” (Church Dogmatics IV, p.360-3610)
Thank you Karl Barth. He has shown us the deep, deep need for Jesus, and it is only on the Cross that our deep, deep need is met and and overcome by the deep, deep love of Jesus.