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A Godly View of Sin



What do we think of when we hear the word, “sin?” The answer we give is probably determined largely by our back­ground. Some may think of a shouting revivalist admonishing the congregation to turn from some of the more popular and visible sins in order to gain eternal life. Some may be reminded of the pain they suffered when someone sinned against them. The “world” in general, scorns, depreciates, or even ignores the word altogether. The reason for this attitude is likely because it reminds them that there might be accountability for what they want to do. It is easier to deny truth and glibly state, “There are no absolutes.” than it is to face sin in one’s own life and to judge it as God commands.

Whatever specific thought that comes to mind, it is natural to think of sin in terms of someone else’s actions or responsibilities. The wise course of action when considering this question would be to pursue the authority, God’s Word, and to see what He says about sin in regard to Himself, to the unbeliever, and to the believer.

 I. The Holy God and Sin

God’s Word is not silent concerning what we should know about sin in regards to Himself. Sin is totally contrary to Him and His nature. God is holy, just, and righteous (Ps. 99:9; Isa. 45:22; Ps. 7:9). We are told in Hab. 1:13, concerning God, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” God hates sin, but He loves the sinner (John 3:16). That is a difficult but desirable balance for us as sinful humans to achieve in our dealings with others. In order for us to enter God’s perfect Heaven we must have His righteousness (Rev. 21:27; II Cor. 5:21). This cannot be earned; only received by belief in Jesus (John:3:16; Eph.2:8, 9).

A. The Meaning of the Word “Sin”

He says in Romans 3:23 that we “...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The very meaning of the word “sin” in the Greek means, “to miss the mark.” Even though we would like to think differently, this definition dictates that being close to the mark is not good enough. As we are reminded in James 2:10, that the keeping of the whole law, and yet offending in one point still makes us a lawbreaker. “Close” does not count except in horseshoes and hand-grenades.

B. Bible Definitions of Sin

The following are several Bible definitions or specific descriptions of sin:

Sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4).

All unrighteousness is sin (I John 5:17).

Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

The thought of foolishness is sin (Proverbs 24:9).

Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

And according to I Samuel 12:23, in some cases, even not praying for someone is sometimes sin.

When we observe God’s holiness and His assessment of sin, we should be motivated to invoke a major reevaluation of what we tolerate in our own lives. We tend to compromise the truth or to rationalize it away until we can justify almost anything we want (Jer. 17:9).

C. The Universality of Sin

Sin entered the human race through Adam (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, all of Adam’s descendants were born with a sinful nature. No matter how much we polish up our outside, we are all still sinners (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10-12). That is why God made a sacrifice payment “for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2; John 3:16). Did you ever wonder why you have to teach an infant to do right, not to do wrong?

D. The History and Development of Sin

In spite of the tremendous displeasure sin has brought upon a Holy God, He has so generously made available His limitless grace to the undeserving and unregenerate man. The following summary taken from Dr. C. I. Scofield’s notes on sin in the Scofield Reference Bible illustrates the history of sin, beginning at its inception and climaxing with God’s ultimate answer, the grace of God poured out upon mankind (Titus 2:11).

Sin originated with Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-19).

Sin entered the world by Adam (Romans 5:12).

Sin is universal (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10-12; James 2:10; 1st John 1:8).

The Penalty of Sin is death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23).

The only remedy for Sin is the sacrificial death of Christ (Hebrews 9:26; Acts 13:39).

The payment was sufficient for everyone and for every sin (I John 2:2; John 3:16; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 10:10-14).

E. The Result of Sin

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). The ultimate result of sin is death, but usually many other undesirable consequences precede the final result.

Adam and Eve lived in a Utopia that cannot be fully comprehended by any of us today. God gave Adam tremendous blessing and freedom but told him, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 3:17). Through a series of events Adam disobeyed God. He physically lived for about 930 years and died (Gen. 5:5).  He died spiritually when he sinned. That sin separated him from the Holy God.

The point of this discussion is that not only did Adam die spiritually at that time and die physically some years later, but there were other tragic consequences to his disobedience. Eve and subsequent women would have great sorrow in childbirth, Adam’s workday was to become more tedious and sorrowful, and they were both cast out of the garden. The earth and mankind has suffered immeasurably since and as a result of this event (Gen. 3:16-19).

Sin is deceitful (Heb. 3:13). One of these areas of deceit may be the means by which one seemingly-small sin seems to launch us into series of more and greater sins. King David is a vivid example of this phenomenon (II Sam. 11:1-12:23). A series of “little” sins enveloped King David, the great warrior and victor, until he sunk to total despair and finally to repentance through the prophet’s conviction. I doubt that he woke up one morning and said, “What a beautiful day to commit adultery, shatter an innocent family, murder a faithful servant and warrior, bring havoc, bloodshed, incest, untimely death to those in my family, bring disgrace to the God of Israel Whom I serve, and lose multiple material blessings in addition to all that.” He did not plan that but that is exactly what happened as a result of his disobedience. David sought and received forgiveness (II Sam. 12:13; Psalm 51), but that did not remove the consequences of his sin.  Gal. 6:7 tells us, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” You can pull a nail out of beautiful piece of furniture, but you cannot pull out the hole.

The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23; James 1:15; Rom. 5:12; Prov. 14:12), but there are also many other tragic consequences of sin, both for the unbeliever and for the believer. If we have trusted in the name of Jesus, we can know that we have eternal life (I John 5:13). Positionally speaking, we have his righteousness, now let us, practically speaking, live holy lives to glorify God (Eph. 4:1).

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