Friday, October 25, 2013

Sin and archery

Today we reach the famous part of St. Paul in which he describes the struggle that each of us face.

For I do not do the good I want,
but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.

What I find fascinating is that St. Paul does not describe what dwells in us as Satan, or an evil spirit, or something of that kind. He refers to it simply as sin

In Greek there are variety of words for sin. What I find most interesting is the word that he uses here -Amartia. It is an archery term that refers to literally "missing the mark."

Some read this passage as if it depicted a battle of equals. They imagine it as two forces, one good and one evil, struggling within us. For us as Christians there is really only one power in the universe, God! Everything else is a created being. Even Satan is not God's equal, but one of God's creatures, a creature who went bad but a mere creature none the less.

What dwells in us, according to St. Paul, is an incapacity to hit the mark. For that, we constantly need to turn to God and to depend on God's grace. Only with God's grace, can we even hope to hit the mark.
But when we miss the mark, we should never despair. For God's grace is always there to forgive us and to redirect our efforts.