We must also realize that the Bible does not show God’s people as the good guys and everyone else as the bad guys. There is enough sin to go around for all and not everything the Bible records is said to be a good thing. In fact, the only sinless figure in the Bible is Jesus the Messiah, who was God incarnate. God – he’s the good guy. All others, the Judges of Israel included, were very flawed human beings. Dr. Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York describes what we find in the Book of Judges quite well:
And so Judges can be described as “despicable people doing deplorable things” and as “trashy tales about dysfunctional characters.” As the history unfold even the “heroes,” the judges, become increasingly flawed and failing. They do many appalling things, and their efforts have less and less redemptive effect. It is a dismal story – and it is all history. So the reader will be led to ask, again and again: what in the world is this doing in the Bible? The answer is an important one – it is the gospel!
Under the new covenant, the Spirit does not depart when sin is committed. Instead, the Spirit deeply grieves over it. Paul presents this as a truth that should motivate believers not to indulge their sinful desires—whether this might be filthy talk, stealing, uncontrolled anger, lying, or any other vice.
Ingratitude is the taproot out of which grows a host of other sins. And if we don’t put the axe to that root, we provide Satan with a wide, vacant lot on which to set up his little shop of horrors in our hearts. Do you think I might be overstating the case a bit? Well, when you think of the first chapter of Romans, what comes to mind? You may remember that in the opening paragraphs of this letter Paul talks about the “wrath of God” being revealed against the “unrighteousness of men” (v. 18). He lists “all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice” (v. 29), and a horde of other sins, including homosexual perversion and its acceptance and approval in a culture–just about every awful thing you can imagine.
God placed a key to intimacy in my hand, a key for which I had been searching for many years. It was a defining moment for my family when First John 1: 5-9 exploded in my heart. I could finally see it. Lasting fellowship and intimacy are possible only when I am willing to bring all my sin into the light. I had been trying to cast out darkness through waiting for some great dramatic encounter, when in actuality freedom begins with a simple willingness to walk in the light. That brings us to the first thing that darkness can be.
Because I was so afraid of what others would think if they really knew me, I had kept unconfessed sin in my heart, areas of my thought life that I would not allow my wife or children to see. I’m not speaking of outward immoral sins, but the motives that drove me in my Christian walk—the attitudes of pride, competition, jealousy, and envy—the aggressive striving to be somebody and to be seen and known. The thoughts and intentions of my heart that were all wrapped up in self-love. These were the hidden sins of pride and self-love that I struggled with most. I had a prayer partner I talked many things over with, but I was a closed book at home to my family. My darkness gave the enemy ground to traffic in every area that I chose darkness over light, and thus made it difficult for me to dwell in Father’s loving embrace. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts (Romans 13: 12-14).
The book of Job demonstrates once and for all that sin and suffering are not necessarily directly connected to an individual’s sin or lack of sin. The whole point of the book of Job is that, although Job is not perfect (13:26; 14:17), it was not Job’s sin that caused his suffering. Job was ‘blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil’ (1:1).J
Unconditional acceptance says, “You are not me and I am not you. You get to be you and I get to be me in this relationship.” This does not mean you have to unconditionally accept one another’s behaviours. Rather it means that you do not control one another.
I take a page from Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and define sin as building your identity "your self-worth and happiness" on anything other than God. That is, I use the biblical definition of sin as idolatry. That puts the emphasis not as much on "doing bad things" but on "making good things into ultimate things.