Does Time Cancel Sin?

As usual, I jot down a thought or two and forget to make note of where it came from. In this case, I saw something on Facebook. I don't remember what or from whom. But in any case, the substance of the quote was, "Time doesn't cancel sin."

I agree with this. Sin, like any disease, will just get worse unless it's treated. It's no good to say, "Well, that was a long time ago," or, "I'm sure it will go away eventually." Nope. Take a scalpel and remove that sucker.

On the other hand, when we talk about time, we usually aren't careful to make a distinction between sinful, post-fall time and post-resurrection, anno Domini time. In the former, a festering sore just festers more and more, and gets sorer and sorer. It's entropy. World-time. Ending-in-dirt time. Real time, true time, resurrection time, does heal all wounds.

"Hold on," you say. "You're creating categories where there are none. Time is just time, change, the movement of things from one state to the next, and never the other direction."

Convincing you would take a book (not a bad idea...), but here's a meager attempt.

The life of God is such that, as much as time has any effect on Him at all, it makes Him better and better. Not that God changes, of course. It's time that changes, revealing more and more of who He is. From our vantage point, the God we serve is full of surprises, endlessly new and endlessly fascinating. He appears, like wine, to improve over time. Or maybe a better analogy is that God and His people are like a husband and wife in a loving marriage, who appear to one another to be better and better the longer they spend together.

But, as Paul says, "Corruption can't inherit incorruption." We have to be free of sinful time before we can live in real time. How does this happen? Through union with Christ. Through sloughing off the old humanity and being clothed in the new. It's not an instantaneous process either. "Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." And at the end of that process, we are better for it. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory..." (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

I suppose to really treat this topic well I'd have to get into all kinds of Greek words and find a lot more cross-references. For now, I'll leave it at this: there seems to be some sense in which the Christian life is bound up with time, and specifically, with improvement over time. If time doesn't cancel sin, we're in a bit of trouble.