A friend brought up a good point after reading Gift 34 – Sinful and Hazardous (I). He asked, “Does this mean we can do whatever we want as long as it doesn’t seem harmful? Isn’t this ideology a bit too much like, ‘If it feels good, do it’?”
So lets take this whole “Sin is Harmful” thing a bit farther in order to clarify…
While God certainly has your flourishing in mind, we more often than not merely have our comfort in mind. These are not the same.
One of the most important outcomes of growing in understanding of God’s goodness is growing in trust of God’s goodness. Just as Jesus navigated life decisions with a deep knowledge of his Father’s heart, this same intimate knowledge allowed him to trust in the mist of confusion, pain, fear, and ultimately a cross. This kind of trust manifests in obedience—which can mean doing something you don’t want to do (or not doing something you want to do) in submission to God’s supreme long-term perspective. There is no greater picture of trust and obedience than the Son of God writhing in the dirt as he begs for the cup to pass, but ultimately surrendering to his Father’s judgment. “Not my will, but yours be done.”
This too is what it means to know God’s goodness.
I’ve been blessed with parents who love me deeply. I have seen both mom and dad sacrifice for the sake of their children. This is just who they are. In fact, I know their hearts so well that if one of them were to ask me to do something that I didn’t understand, maybe even something difficult, I would do it. I would obey my parents because I am confident they would never act in self-interest at the expense of one of their boys. They’ve proved this time and time again.
The same is true for the children of God in our relationship with the Father. Lack of obedience is lack of trust. And again, this is “sinful” because it is harmful, not because God is a hardnosed Deity who demands purposeless submission. The goal is to develop a concept of sin and obedience in the context of a relationship with a good God so as not to do the right things for the wrong reasons (Read Matthew 5).
Instead of robotically doing what God wants, this is about becoming the kind of disciple who desires what God desires as our hearts are shaped by His.