Sin is a subject that much is said about both in God’s word and in the pulpits of preachers all over the world. It will be our attempt in this brief article to present the Bible doctrine of sin by answering a series of questions concerning sin with answers from the Bible.
Our first question is, “What is sin?”. Now this is an easy one for the apostle John who wrote, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). John also wrote, “All unrighteousness is sin…” (I John 5:17). Sin entered into this world when the first man and woman disobeyed God’s command in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:17; 3:6). Any violation of God’s word is sin. Some have taken the position that in this Christian age; we are not under law. There is a great distinction made in the New Testament between the law, speaking of the old law of Moses, and faith. Yet, the fact is, if we are not under any law of God at all, then it would be impossible for us to sin. Paul, speaking about no justification under the law of Moses said, “…for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). We are under the gospel of Christ which is called the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25) by which we will be judged (James 2:12). Any violation of the law of Christ is sin.
Our second question is, “Who is guilty of sin?”. Let us see if the Bible will answer this question for us. Paul, showing that both Jew and Gentile were in a like position in regard to sin said, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This does not cease to be true when one becomes one of God’s children. John writing to Christians told them, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”, and “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:8, 10). The only one ever to live a sinless life on earth was Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:15).
Our next question is, “What is the result of sin?”. Again, the word of God tells us the answer to this question. The prophet Isaiah told the children of Israel what had occurred when they had disobeyed God. He said, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Peter wrote, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Pet. 3:12). Sin separates one from God, thus spiritual death has occurred. Paul told the Roman brethren, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). If this spiritual death is not corrected, it will become eternal separation from God or eternal death (II Thess. 1:9).
Now, “Why do we sin?”. That seems to be a good question and could take much more space that we have, were we to consider every aspect of it. However. James tells us, “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). James shows us the progression, from lust to the death brought on by sin. The beginning point then is lust. John wrote, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:16). We often point to these as being the three realms of temptation. In fact, though lust is mentioned in only two of them, the third is also a product of lust, a lust for praise and honor of men. Therefore, lust is our problem.
How do we overcome this lust that brings about sin which results in spiritual death? Just prior to naming those three realms of lust, John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). The key then is to set our sights on things eternal rather than things temporal. Paul wrote, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:17-18). He told the Colossians to “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
Let us close with this final question. “What is the cure for our sins?” The answer to that question is, “the blood of Jesus Christ (I Pet. 1:18-19; Heb. 9:11-12; Rev. 1:5). Jesus is the only way (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). He is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). Sin is serious. Sin is deadly. But, sin can be cured!
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]