Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Faith Blog

"Sin is the suicidal abandonment of JOY"....John Piper.

One of the most amazing, terrific phrases I have ever read.   Ponder that........what do you think?   Want to dissect it?  I think it's an amazing realization and has very subtle but powerful inferences...

"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."  Romans 6:14



Sam Huntington said...

I think I disagree with Piper’s definition of sin; especially as he makes it seem as though depression is sinful. Depression is a chemical imbalance; I hardly think that is a proper definition of sin.

In my view, sin is not a decadent act; it is the act of violating God’s will. Hell is not a fiery pit; it is the absence of God in one’s life. Well, at least these are the things I believe. To prove I am not a zealot, I will state plainly that I don’t care what others believe, nor do I care what they think of what I believe. It is how I avoid becoming offended by those who are.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Ignoring God's protection (His guidance, love, and rules for living well) is like shooting yourself in the head.
I'd would have said foot, but that's not suicide, unless you're living in the wilderness.
Oh yeah, we are.

Z said...

Sam! I'll respond after we have a few other comments...
Your second paragraph does grasp his meaning...I think he'd probably agree that depression isn't sinful! Who would think it was?

Ed, I don't think Piper means literally suicide... but living without that joy that comes with God's will and guidance, etc., is a way of strangling one's joy.

Z said...

I was just thinking ..the Lord's Prayer says "..and lead us not into temptation BUT deliver us from evil"...not "..AND deliver us.." as if the evil doesn't come from the temptation.

I think that dovetails with Piper's's evil we go into, when we consider being cut off from God's goodness by giving into temptations, when we sin. We've done it to ourselves (suicidal) and taken the joy away...

I'll be back after church!
Have a great morning.

sue hanes said...

Z - It makes sense to me. We give up any chance of joy when we give in to sin.

Have a good Sunday - Z.

Mustang said...

All of us move closer to God with age, whether we want to or not. The questions are, will our free will result in a joyful meeting with Him, or will it be a sorrowful occasion?

Z said...

Sue, well said. I'm always glad when you come by on Sunday, particularly.
And you are exactly right on the interpretation of Piper's phrase.

Mustang; what a great way to put it.

We lose JOY when we're not in His Word;

B... Basic
I... Instructions
B... Before
L... Leaving
E... Earth

pretty cute, huh? (it's not mine :-)

Pris said...

I'm not convinced that depression necessarily leads to sin. I don't think that's what Piper meant. There are many forms of sin.

Some folks have baggage they carry from their childhood, but that doesn't mean they can't have joy in their lives, or are destined to repeat what they suffered when they were young.

I'm thinking of my Dad who's mother died when he was seven years old, and a little later had a stepmother who abused he and his sister. She beat them unmercifully. That is one form of sin.

However he never was abusive to my sister and me. He was loving and attentive to both of us, and we had a happy childhood. Neither of us had unhappy baggage as we grew up, as he did. But, he dealt with it, and I believe he realized as he grew, he had to let that baggage go. Some folks don't.

That misery in his formative years could have caused depression or rage, and that, in itself, has nothing to do with a chemical imbalance.

I believe that most people who commit sinful acts, know right from wrong, but do not have the fortitude to choose what's right.

It takes a certain amount of strength and faith, to stick to the right path IMO, and if one does, he/she will have very few regrets, and are more open to experiencing joy in their lives.

Jack Whyte said...

Do people, who know right from wrong, and who choose wrong, exhibit a form of mental illness, or is it rather a sickness of the soul? Could it be both at the same time?

Z said...

Pris, thanks for that...beating a child is certainly a form of sin. I'm glad your father's scars didn't affect you and J!! I know he was a good man from all you've told me about him.

The word is 'suicide' because Piper means "to oneself', not literally suicide as in 'murder yourself' per se...
He means that we allow sins to take joy from our lives ("suicide") because living out of sin (as much as a human can) keeps us in His Joy.

Depression is not a sin...

EVERYBODY: I think his point is that we usually look at sin as something we know we'll be punished for; from our parents, from God.. Christians are kind of raised with that , aren't we... "God doesn't like us to sin and you're in trouble if you do sin and you don't want to be in trouble with God!" (obviously, it's a LOT LOT more nuanced in actuality, but I'm giving the Reader's Digest version here for time's sake):

So...Piper's point, I believe, is we don't often look at sinning as having done something TO see? He says we are abandoning JOY if we sin...WE did something which robs us of God's protection, knowing that we're in God's will, etc...

Z said...

Jack, are you on the SUICIDE part of this like Sam was?

I'm sorry that's been interpreted that way because Piper does extrapolate on this statement and nowhere in his writings does he mean actual KILLING ONESELF! He only uses 'suicide' because it's 'to ourselves'..

But you do bring up a very interesting point now that I read your comment again; it is kind of a 'sickness of the soul' to choose to sin when we know the difference, isn't it?

"Sin is the CHOICE OF ABANDONING Joy" how's that? :-)

Jack Whyte said...

No, I'm not agreeing with Sam. I am only asking a question that follow's the comment Pris made. Beating a child (as opposed to disciplining a child) seems mentally imbalanced to me. If beating a child is also a sin ... do you see?

Z said...

Jack, yes, I get it...I just wanted to make sure where you were going.

Ya, beating a child like that IS unbalanced, in my opinion, too.

And, well...mentally imbalanced acts can be sins, but I don't believe the mentally unbalanced person is always a sinner....right?

Pris said...

That's a good question. Dad's stepmother already had two children of her own when she married my grandfather.
She never beat them, only my dad and his sister.

I can't fully answer your question, as I don't know his stepmother's history. However if her temper was really bad, why did she not beat her own children? They certainly were not little saints according to my Dad.

FreeThinke said...

Most mental illness is an extreme form of self-centeredness -- nothing more, nothing less.

If that's true, then failure to overcome the toxic levels of self-absorption with determination, and develop a healthy interest in and consideration for others really IS a form of sin.

The sin of selfishness and lack of proper regard for others.

Ed Bonderenka said...

If you believe the Bible, the wages of sin are death.
The gift of God is eternal life.
Thrrefore sin, being a rejection of God's gift, is spiritual suicide.
That's certainly gonna rob you of "joy".

Ducky's here said...

Pris, thanks for that...beating a child is certainly a form of sin.

Yet fundamentalists would claim it's a biblical commandment.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Do you know any Duck?
Or is your imagination running wild?

Z said...

Ducky, fundamentalists think beating a child is a Biblical commandment...are you delusional?

beamish said...


"Yet fundamentalists would claim [beating a child] a biblical commandment."

Really? Name a fundamentalist that claims that.

I understand Roman Catholics get really lost when it comes to going outside their dearly held beliefs to describe the beliefs of religions they have nothing in common with, such as Christianity.

But surely you've seen the book of Ephesians chapter 6 somewhere. Verse 4? Hello?

beamish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z said...

beamish, and there it is in Ephesians:

"Parents, beat your kids to a pulp, it's good for them and Jesus will love you for it." :-)

my GOSH. Imagine suggesting the Bible says to beat children?

FreeThinke said...

Do you know what "SIN" is?

It boils down to ONE thing and ONE thing ONLY:


To understand this rightly constant self-examinations of our motives and contemplation of the consequences of our intended actions is necessary.

Bathing in generic, formulaic acknowledgements of guilt, sin and shame is a waste of time. EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES. Then ACT with CHARITY at ALL times, and you cannot go wrong.

FreeThinke said...

Abraham Lincoln, who has been diagnosed retrospectively as a MANIC-DEPRESSIVE among other things, said, "A man can be about as happy as he makes up his mind to be."

We CAN control our tendencies toward morbid self-indulgence. All it takes is a determined effort to cultivate empathetic awareness of others while abandoning the tendency to focus exclusively on our own needs, concerns and sorrows.

Black Sheep said...

There's no such thing as sin, from the religious perspective, or any other. In religions, sin is doing anything that the priests claim that their god doesn't like. So sin can be eating a goat that wasn't ritually sacrificed, or forgetting to wash your feet before entering the temple.

"Sin" is totally arbitrary. If you subcribe to some religion, then what you consider to be sin depends on what your priests say it is.

Ah but. If you have no religion, then you have no sin. That means you have no confusion, either. What you have then is simply the awareness of when you've done something wrong. We all have that.

Most "sins" are based on things we know are wrong, but certainly not all. I could eat a goat that was run over by a truck, as long as the meat was still fresh.

And... having no religion does not signify atheism, by the way. Many people are very spiritual and feel in touch with what they accept as god, they just don't pay some priest to claim he or she knows more about god than you do.

Sam Huntington said...

There is no reason ever to indict Ducky for his stupidity; he indicts himself. The axiom he refers to is “spare the rod, spoil the child.”

The commandments never said this, but Solomon did admonish his people about good vs. evil in Proverbs. The word used in the original text was “frond,” as in Palm frond, not rod, as in a hard wood or iron rod. Moreover, Solomon warned simply that if you love your child, you will discipline him when it is necessary. You must chastise your child when he is still young and impressionable (good) so that evil does not overcome him.