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With regards to S. Michael Houdmann's answer, it is obvious that Harmartiology is for seminary students; but I respectfully disagree with its premise, as Mr. Houdmann has defined it: “Hamartiology is the study of sin. Hamartiology deals with how sin originated, how it affects humanity, and what it will result in after death.” This may well be the definition as found in seminary, but in my opinion it completely misses the point. It should not be a study of sin. Rather, it should be a study of what it is that we all miss (Romans 3:23), how we attain to it (Romans 3:24), and its result (Heb. 1:3). The Greek word, Harmartano (G264) is defined as a negative particle of the Greek word, Meros (G3313), which is defined as “a division or share, …piece, or portion”. The question then becomes: “What is it that we are missing a portion of?” John 1:16 tells us that to all who received Christ (John 1:12) they have received “from His fullness” – implying that believers receive a portion of the fullness of Christ. What is this fullness? Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, pleads with them that they might be “strengthened with power through (God’s) Spirit” (Eph. 3:16) so that Christ, through God’s Holy Spirit, might dwell in their hearts (Eph. 3:17), but as it pertains to Harmartiology, Paul makes a critical connection to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and being rooted and grounded in love. Paul seems to imply that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit forms a basis (rooted and grounded in love) for God’s agape love dwelling in us. He goes on to plea that they would understand the depth of what has happened to them (Eph. 3:18) relative to the love of Christ. I would submit to you that Paul’s next sentence (Eph. 3:19) implies that the “fullness of God” is to be filled with God’s agape love, and that it is a process. The fact that it is a process can be seen in Eph. 4:11-12 where Christ gave spiritual gifts to the Church, that they might attain to the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). The NKJV uses the words “perfect man” instead of “mature manhood”. And the Greek, Teleios (G5046), for the word ‘perfect’ is to complete, also implying a process. What is the result of this process? Well, it is realized in the simple understanding of what it is that we fall short of in Romans 3:23. It is God’s glory. It is the ‘mark’ that we fall short of. You say, “Thanks, I don’t know any more than I did a moment ago.” What is the end result of knowing Christ? Is it not to be conformed to the image of God’s son (Rom. 8:29) – and to be transformed into the image of the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18)? God’s glory is His nature. We are being transformed from our sin nature (our lowly glory) to God’s holy nature. As we will bear the image of Christ, so shall we bear the image (the exact imprint) of God’s nature – His glory (Heb. 1:3). The NKJV puts it as: “the express image of His person”, and the NASB puts it as: “He[Jesus] is the radiance of His[the Father’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature.” God’s nature is defined by agape love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). God is agape love (1 John 4:8), and it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18). These are the attributes that believers have to look forward to when they are perfected/completed in the image of Christ at the resurrection (1 John 3:1-2). Isaiah 1:18
Hamartiology is the study of the different aspects of sin, sins origin, sins effects on mankind and what it will result in after death. It therefore explains why we miss the mark, how we miss the mark and the consequences of missing the mark.This study is necessary in order to understand salvation, as we must understand why we need salvation. Hamartiology explains that we are all sinners by inheritance and by the choices we make. It shows why God must condemn us for sins and points us to the solution for sin----the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. In this study we can therefore understand the depth and nature of God who condemns sinners to hell in righteous judgment and on the other hand satisfies His own requirement for perfection.It enables us to understand the height of God's love for sinners. The scripture on Hamartiology is Romans 3:23-24 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by (Messiah Yeshua) Christ Jesus"
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