Today’s reading: Job 29-31.
Sin arises when things that are a minor good are pursued as though they were the most important goals in life. If money or affection or power are sought in disproportionate, obsessive ways, then sin occurs. And that sin is magnified when, for these lesser goals, we fail to pursue the highest good and the finest goals. So when we ask ourselves why, in a given situation, we committed a sin, the answer is usually one of two things. Either we wanted to obtain something we didn’t have, or we feared losing something we had. Augustine, The Confessions
Job wraps up his argument that God should vindicate him and end his suffering by listing all the sins he has not committed. Lists of do’s and don’ts can lead to legalism, but I think Job’s list is useful for teaching us about some of the broad categories of sin that we should examine in our own lives.
- Unjust treatment of employees
- Failure to care for the unfortunate
- Misuse of power and influence
- Trusting in riches
- Rejoicing at another’s misfortune
- Lack of hospitality
Augustine mentioned two types of sin: sinning to obtain what we desire, and to keep what we have. The Bible breaks sin down into three broad categories: lust of the flesh (wrong pleasures), lust of the eyes (wrong possessions), and the pride of life (pride, misuse of power). I’ll break down Job’s list into four categories: sexual sin, dishonest dealing, lack of compassion, and putting things (like money) ahead of God. What’s on your list of sins?
“Job trembles before God at the prospect of neglecting or despising the rights of his servants. ‘What then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?’ Why this trembling reverence and fear? Because he and his servants are persons created in God’s image by God himself in the womb.” John Piper
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