Two Categories of Sin

In light of a conversation I had with a student recently, I began pondering two different major kinds of sin – ontological and functional.

Functional sin would be those infractions that we commit.  When we do something wrong, it is functional sin.  This is how the typical Christian thinks of sin, I imagine.

Ontological sin would be that sin which is carried within us in a way.  It has a sort of substance to it.  It includes original sin and the sin (problems) that we carry due to the functional sins of others.  If that which is not according to God’s design or will is sin, then we carry ontological sin in us insofar as we are not the way we are supposed to be (as opposed to doing what we are supposed to do?).

Is this a useful distinction?  (If these are useful, they do strike me as having different implications for the spiritual life.)
Are there different ways in which God deals with or treats each kind of sin?


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