Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
1 John 3:4 (KJV)
Is – This word is definitely a comparison operator, as we’d call it in the programming world. A comparison operator states that the first item is equal to the following item. This is what John is doing here, he is making it absolutely clear that sin is equal to breaking the law. There’s just no other way around this one.
Common theology today would have us believe that the law is not applicable anymore, it’s been nailed to the cross, or that we’re just no longer accountable to it. And while people often times struggle with Paul’s writings to their own destruction, they simply are missing the mark. You see that’s what sin means in Hebrew; to miss the mark. Our mark should be righteousness, our goal should be the example that Yeshua left for us. He lived without sin. And since we’ve all already missed the mark, we’ve all already fallen short and have sinned, does that mean we should stop trying to aim for the mark again? Should we give up and continue to sin so that grace may abound? God forbid!
So this should cause some reflection. If sin is (==) breaking the law, and God prefers us NOT to sin, then what should we do? The answer is, we should keep the law. It’s impossible to repent and not obey Torah. I just love that line. If we want to repent from our sins and completely stop doing them, then we need to follow Torah. While John wasn’t a programmer, his comparison operator on this situation is a slap in the face of common Christian theology. The law is still important, and we who wish to stop sinning, who have repented, and abide in Christ, will keep it.
So how do we do this? There’s things in there about stoning people, about sacrificing, and about clothing (no one’s gonna tell me how to dress!). This all requires study, true study and a Hebrew cultural understanding. Did you know that stoning people rarely happened? The Sanhedrin, often times chose mercy, faith and judgement above the death penalty. And sacrifices applied only when there was a temple. There’s no temple anymore so you can’t bring a sacrifice even if you wanted to. And yes, God has clothing restrictions. This one is probably more difficult than the earlier two. It requires to wear only clothes made from a single fabric. That’s a little more difficult to find, but it can be found.
We keep Torah one step at a time. We study, learn, grow, and apply only those laws that apply to us. We’re so far removed from the intent of the law and the cultural understanding that there’s no way we could keep every law perfectly. In fact many of the ways in which we think a law is applied is actually quite different than how we’d imagine. We are Greek minded, not Hebrew minded, and it causes interpretation problems.
There’s a lot of laws, even some that are just completely baffling by our standards. I realize this. But I’ve stated this before, focus on the laws that we can keep. When reviewing them, there’s not that many. This requires self-examination and intensive study. So use that self-examination, do you see sin? Why is it a sin? The answer is because it breaks Torah. Have you pinpointed that sin and removed it from your life? If so, you just kept Torah and may the blessings of God continue in abundance upon you.