What Do We Know About Sin?
People rape and rob, they steal, kill, lie, molest and murder. The Bible says that we all have at least one thing in common. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Sin is a violation of God and His nature. It is an offense against our Creator. When you sin, you offend the very nature of God because it is His law that you have broken. (1 John 3:4) God's Laws are not arbitrary. They are based on His holiness and His character. Our sin causes a separation between us and our Maker. Isaiah wrote, "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Sin is so horrible and hideous that Jesus had to come to this earth to take our place and die for our sins. Peter wrote, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24) Sin makes it impossible for God to hear our prayers. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psalm 66:18) Christ had to die because of the sins of all mankind! The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (Hebrews 2:9)
We know what sin is. People talk about sin. They remind others that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin. But somehow they have failed to impress into the hearts of men exactly what sin is. The Bible says, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) When we sin we break God's Law and violate His very nature. A violation of God's word is a sad thing because He has exalted His word even above His name. David wrote, "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalm 138:2) If you want to know what sin is you must go to God's word to find out. The psalmist wrote that all of God's commandments are righteousness. (Psalm 119:172) That being true we should then observe that sin is a failure to love God and keep His commandments. Sin is anything that is unacceptable to God.
We know that God wants us to stop sinning. John chapter eight records the story of a woman that was taken in the very act of adultery. Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 8:7) Most that quote this verse do so in order to try to justify some wrong. The scribes and Pharisees were told this because they were deliberately breaking God's Law in condemning this woman in the way they did. They had no respect for the Law. Jesus told this woman to "go, and sin no more." (John 8:11) It is vital that Christians stop sinning. It does no good to compare ourselves to other people. Let us observe our weakness, relying on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and get out of the business of sin.
We know that sin begins in the mind. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) Sin comes from the heart. "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." (Matthew 15:18-20) According to James wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15) "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord." (Proverbs 15:26)
We know that sin is a departure from the living God. Departure from God often comes slowly. We must carefully guard our spiritual life lest we drift away from God. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." (Hebrews 2:1) A failure to respect the word of God causes people to depart from Him. (John 8:32) Departing from God causes people to love the world too much. The Bible says, “If any man loves the world the love of the father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15-17) Many that depart from God become lukewarm. This is a spirit of spiritual indifference that makes a person useless for kingdom service. (Revelation 3:14-19)
We know that sins necessitates repentance. Once that we recognize ourselves for what we are, sinners, then repentance required. Paul refers to this process of recognizing ourselves as sinners as "godly sorrow." He wrote, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) If you accept the existence of one, true and living God your next major concern is pleasing Him. Your existence and continued well-being is totally dependent upon God. It is in your very best interest to determine what God desires of you and to live acceptable to Him.
We know what is sinful and what is not sinful. There is not one exhaustive list of sins in the Bible. There are some long lists where specific sins are named:
(Romans 1:26-32) "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
(Galatians 5:19-21) "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
(Colossians 3:5-6) "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."
(2 Timothy 3:1-5) 'This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
Remember that in addition to all of these there are many other sins named in the Bible and also remember that Paul said, "And such like." (Galatians 5:21)
We know about the consequences of sin. Sin is a serious malignancy. It is revolting to God. Sin carries with it painful consequences. Those people that die physically without having sins forgiven face eternal punishment. Jude wrote, "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 1:5-7) The Devil works to destroy homes and individual lives. The spiritual consequences of sin are devastating beyond words. Paul said that those that "practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:21)
We know that there is a cure for sin. You sin when you do, say or think things that do not please God. You likewise sin when you do not do, say, or think those things that please God. We sin by either committing sin or leaving undone things that we should do. Sin is defiling. It is rebellion. God has a great love for humanity. He does not want us to perish. He sent His Son to pay the sacrificial price for our sins. (John 3:16) Jesus is the cure for our sin. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Have you repented of your sins, and been baptized to have them washed away? (Acts 22:16) Are you prepared to stand before God at the Day of Judgment? Has the guilt and burden of your sins been removed through the blood of the Savior? You should become a Christian before it is everlastingly too late. This earthly life is a struggle and we must use it to prepare to meet God.
I think we have no other choice but to hold the Bible up as the standard, and to say to the sinner it is the word of God. Is it your desire to honor God? If so it is time to become a Christian now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30, confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA