The Truth about Financial Sin?
It’s 4:36 in the morning. I’ve been up for quite some time now. I have a condition that causes me to lose sleep while I’m on the road away from my family. I miss them too much. As a result, days are long and nights are longer. It’s amazing how not getting the right amount of sleep can have such a profound affect on a person.
That’s gotten me thinking about money and sin. How do I define financial sin? It’s an interesting question none the less, so I will attempt to tackle this idea. Bear with me a bit as I get into my thought. Also, please keep in mind that some of what I’m going to say will probably rub you the wrong way as it will not be agreeable to many readers.
Question: What is Financial Sin?
We have to tackle the first thing first in defining Sin. On the 6 hour road trip to beautiful Colorado Springs yesterday, my partner and I found ourselves in a discussion about sin and what it actually is. On the surface, we can clearly go directly to the 10 commandments to discover where sin is. We find lists in the new testament like in Galatians 5 discussing different sins. Even James tells us that when we don’t do the good we ought to do it is sin. (Jas 4:17) In fact, many may even say that sin entered the world when Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
It’s all pretty clear right? Well, not so fast. Take a journey in time with me for a moment to discover just what sin may actually be. I’ll invite you to indulge in the conversation for a moment as this will lead to Financial Sin in a moment. I’ll even invite you to disagree with me. It’s ok.
Let’s start back in the Garden in Genesis Chapter 3. We’ll pick up after God finds the man and woman naked in the bushes.
“And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?” (Ge 3:11)
When I study the Bible, I look for clues and I study the way words are arranged for meaning. The Hebrew and Greek languages are very specific in their word choices and don’t leave much room for false meanings. Careful study of Genesis 3 indicates that God never asked why they sinned against Him. I find it interesting to say the least.
What the story does tell us is that God asks if they did what he commanded them NOT to do. Yes, I know, it’s a fine line. In fact, we could easily make the argument that this is an act of sin, however, the author didn’t describe it using that language. This is important. Later towards the end of the chapter it picks up…
“And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of like and eat, and live forever.’ So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden…” Ge 3:22-23
Ok, again, for the first time, man was introduced to all things good and all things evil. There was no sin because there was no good or evil in the hearts of man at that time. Adam didn’t differentiate that not obeying God was evil. All he knew was that his wife gave him fruit that was good. Now, let’s look at their kids.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Ge 4:6-7
We know after carefully reading that Cain killed Able and was punished severely by being sent into the world to toil laboriously. This is the first mention of sin in the Bible.
The original Hebrew word that means to sin is Chata or Khaw-Taw. It literally means to miss the mark, to go the wrong way, to incur guilt, or to forfeit. It can also mean to miss the goal or path of duty or to bring into guilt or condemnation. In this account, the sin that mastered Cain was a jealous anger that drove him to go the wrong way and kill his brother. It was never referred to as a sin against God.
In fact up until Moses received the law and the 10 commandments, the word sin only shows up 8 times. Only once in Ge 39:9 does Joseph use the word to describe a “sin against God” when not wanting to sleep with Potipher’s wife. He clearly knew God made a man and wife to be one flesh and this adulterous act was a direct sin against God. Every other occurance of the term was an act man committed against another man.
Ge 18:20 – Sodom & Gomorrah sinned greatly against one another in horrible ways until the cries reached God. His response was swift and deliberate. The indication was more that the evil inclination of their hearts too much to bear. There was no righteousness among them. The people knew both good and evil, but chose only the evil.
Ge 20:9 – Abimelech asked Abraham what sin he committed against him. Why would Abraham bring such guilt on him for lying about Sarah being his wife? Again, not against God.
Ge 31:36 – Jacob was upset and asked Laban what sin he had committed against him that Laban took advantage of Jacob the way he did with the wives and all the work. Jacob asked how he had missed the mark with Laban that caused this grievous mistreatment.
Ge 42:22 – Reuben told his brothers how they should not sin against their brother Joseph.
Ge 50:17 – Joseph is being reminded that he should forgive the sin of his brothers – They condemned him to slavery and thus missed the mark of righteous good living.
Ex 10:17 - Pharaoh asked Moses what sin he committed against Moses. ”How did I mistreat you or go wrong by you?”
Sin as we define it modern day comes as a result of the Law of Moses. The sins we define, such as idolatry, adultery, murder, stealing, etc. all came to us in Ex 19: 1-8 when God told Moses he would make Israel his chosen nation of royal priests IF they accepted His covenant with them. They agreed to do everything the Lord asked of them. Here enters Sin against God. This is where the mark was clearly established and where they made the mistake of choosing obedience to that mark.
Sin is simply missing the mark. The penalty of sin under the law was a blood sacrifice from bulls, goats, lambs, etc. Unfortunately, over time, Israel continued to sin or miss the mark of obedience to the Law. In came Jesus to atone, once and for all the sins against God through this Mosaic covenant.
So what is Financial Sin?
God laid out all kinds of instructions within scripture that show us how to live very prosperous lives so long as we follow them. When we choose not to follow his financial principles, things don’t go so well. We do not have an agreement or covenant that we must obey in order to receive His blessings. We simply have instructions that we are free to choose whether we follow or don’t follow.
Remember what sin is? It is missing the mark, missing the goal or path of right duty, incurring guilt or penalty. Have you ever made a financial mistake that you felt guilty about? Sin. Have you ever incurred a penalty for a poor financial decision? Sin. Have you set up financial goals but then strayed from your plan? Sin.
God is not sitting in Heaven answering all kinds of wish list prayers for financial blessings in our lives. He’s already given us all the secrets and ability to create wealth. It’s up to us to make choices that follow His financial principles in place to gain the blessings that are already in place. Don’t believe me? Read the account of the Promised Land some time to see the struggle and battles they fought to take their blessings.
Financial peace and prosperity are not free by any means imaginable. Learn what you need to learn, set some goals, plan those goals, lay them before God, then stay the course according to His word. It will go well with you. If you sin, financially, you bring upon yourself calamity and penalty that has nothing to do with God.
God Bless You!