THEOLOGICAL STUDY OF SIN
Table of Contents
- What is Sin
- Definition of Sin
- Degrees of Sin
- Origin of Sin
- God is Sovereign over All
- Origin of Sin in Creation
- Original Sin in Heaven
- Origin of Sin in Mankind
- Instruments of Evil
- Our Flesh
- The World
- The Devil
- The Sin Nature
- No One is Good
- The Way Sin Works
- Wages of Sin
- Types of Sin
- Moral sins
- The Law
- All are Guilty of Sin
SIN – HAMARTIOLOGY
Hamartiology is the Study of Sin or evil.
Definitions of Sin
What are the Different terms or Names for Sins?
There are different words used in the Bible to describe and define what sin and evil are:
SIN – In Hebrew the word is Chata, which also means to miss, fault, sin or trespass.
In the New Testament the word in Greek is hamartano, to err morally in your faults, trespasses or offenses; it is literally to “miss the mark,” the goal or standard.
All throughout scripture sin is literally any offense to God and His perfect standard, or literally it is anything that does not meeting His perfect standard. This would include all of creation, which is not corrupted, to be subject to a state of being in ‘sin’ due to the fall of man (Rom 8.20-21). Another example is that our physically bodies are naturally sinful due to the current state of creation (Rom 7.18-18; Rom 8.3)
Sin is basically anything that is not good or anything that is not of God.
TRESSPASS / TRANSGRESSION- In Hebrew the word is maal, meaning to cover up. to act covertly or treacherously, or another Hebrew word is pesha meaning revolt.
In Greek the word is paraptoma, meaning to slip, fall or lapse. (Gal 6.1)
Trespass is literally to ‘pass over,’ to go beyond ones right in place or act. It is used in scripture more of a reference to a specific act of wrong doing towards another, even if the person doesn’t know they are violating the law (Lev 5.15; Dan 9.7; Matt 15.18).
INIQUITY – The Hebrew word is avon meaning perverted, faulty, or iniquity. (Isa 53.11)
The Greek word is adikia meaning morally wrong or unjust.
This term is used in reference not to a particular action, but to the character of the action (ps 32.5), which is a reason why the meaning often takes the place of iniquity in some passages as guilt (Gen 15.16, Ex 34.7, Jer 2.22), and often correlates to the punishment of guilt. This in a since is the inner workings of sin in our morality as the one whom is to blame (2 Sam 14.9; Job 31.33, 33.9).
EVIL – The Hebrew word is ra meaning bad, harmful, wrong or calamity.
The Greek word is poneros meaning evil in effect.
Evil is denoted in the Bible as a descriptive word for something very bad, calamities or the effects of them both physically and morally. Disasters are evil, the devil is evil; there are evil spirits, you can evil speaking, there is a relative understanding of an evil person, etc. (Matt 24.48; Matt 5.21)
WICKEDNESS – The Hebrew word is rasha and the Greek is anomia both meaning morally bad or ungodly, wicked.
This word is typically themed in the Bible as a description for a personal mental disregard for good things. (Lev 20.14; Ps 14; Pr 30.20)
Every person struggles with sin, and will continue to experience the effect of it in this world until they die:
Whatever is not of faith is sin. – Romans 14.23
To him therefore that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. – James 4.17
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1.8
Degrees of Sin
From a human perspective, different levels of suffering and pain are caused by greater or lesser acts of evil (i.e. murder leads to more suffering then stealing, etc.), and therefore by human standards, we typically view evil (or sin) as anything from insignificant to being a severe crime.
In the Bible we can see there are various degrees of evil represented in different forms. Human interpretation of various degrees of sin and evil correspond with moral understanding and theology. People typically categories an evil or sinful act in accordance to how extreme it is, in fact, our entire justice system is build upon this interpretation.
Theologically there are two points of view that can be taken from the verses in the Bible in regard to the hierarchy of sin from God’s perspective. One interpretation is that God takes all sin and evil as being equally despicable, not matter how great or small and the end result will be the same for all that that practice sin/evil. The other view is that there are various degrees of sin that will be punished in different ways, either in this life and/or after death.
All Sin is Equal in God’s Eyes
The theological point that God views all sin equivalently comes from various context of the Bible. The logical interpretation can be debated as follows; because God is infinite, comparing anything to Him (infinity) no matter how large it may seem to a person, to God it is still tiny. Thus we can understand when you compare any kind of sin to an infinite God, they are all equally defiled and detestable to Him.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all. – James 2.10 (ASV)
The man who has knowledge of how to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. – James 2.10 (BBE)
In fact the Bible even tells us that any righteousness on mans behalf is nothing but filthy rags to God. That only His righteousness alone is worthy. This is why we have to be filled with the righteousness of Christ to come before Him.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
– Isa 64.6
Degrees of Sin: Abominations to God
There are several verses that describe specific abominations to God along with other implication that show varying degrees of evil and punishment. The word for abomination means something that is utterly disgusting or an abhorrence. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:1. A proud look, 2. a lying tongue, 3. and hands that shed innocent blood, 4. An heart that devises wicked imaginations, 5. feet that be swift in running to mischief, 6. A false witness that speaks lies, 7. and he that sows discord among brethren. – Proverbs 6.16-19
Proverbs 6.16 would seem to indicate that there are certain sins or evils that are more detestable to God then others.There are other verses used to support the view that different degrees of punishment will be used in accordance to the degree of sin. Jesus tells us that on the day of punishment some will find it more tolerable then others.
Whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. – Luke 10.12-14
So does this mean God accounts certain things more sinful then others, or that He hates certain things more than others? When we look at other verses combined with Jam 2.10; We can see here that God hates all sin and all work(er)s of iniquity. Considering what we find in Pr 6, it uses the words hate and abomination to interchange their appeal to God. Regardless of theological view, no person should ever want to face the fear associate with God’s punishment.
Perhaps the two theological viewpoints can be reconciled by combination, knowing that God does hate evil and takes all sin as worth of punishment of which He will decree on the day of judgment.
You shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them – Lev 20.23
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 5. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. – Psalms 5.4-5
You love righteousness and hate wickedness – Ps 45.7
For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecc 12.14
He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality – Romans 2.6-11
Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20.12-15
Origin of Sin/ Evil
We understand that in order for sin to exist, evil must also be present to bring sin into manifestation. However, this is one of the more difficult theological obstacles for people to overcome; how can God and evil both exist?
From a human perspective it would seem our only 4 options to accept evil and/or God would be as following:
- God does not exist, and evil does not exist (as in Buddhism)
- God does not exist, but evil does exist (as in Atheism)
- God does exist, but evil does not (as in Pantheism)
- God exists but is incapable of ultimately dealing with evil (as in Panentheism, Deism)
- God exists and is sovereign over everything, including evil (as in Theism)
Now we all as humans have a natural understanding that evil does exist. We know what is morally right and wrong. We feel the effects of bad situations, immoral people, tragic situations, all the manifestations of evil.
Logic teaches us that there is a scene of fairness and right that ‘should’ be carried out among people, that it is better to care for one another, then to cause suffering and pain.
- People understand that peace and love is good, and desirable
- People naturally understand pain, hurting and suffering is evil and undesirable.
God is Sovereign Over All, Including Evil
In ancient Israel during the time of the Babylonian exiles, there was a believe in a good god who was lord over light called Marduk. God wanted to make sure that His people did not confuse this false god with who He was, and assures us He is sovereign over the good and bad. God tells us that He is Almighty and is in control over all things:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. – Isaiah 45.7
God is pure good, and does not do evil nor does He promote it at all, sin is an abomination to Him. God could defeat evil whenever He so chooses.
God Does Permit Sin
God does allows evil and sin to continue to exist for a reason. A good example of this is found in 1 Kings.
20. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
22. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. – 1 Kings 27
God Does No Evil, Nor Does He tempt Anyone With Evil
Even though God will allow evil to exist and persist, He does no evil but only what is good, because that is His nature. He may have created evil and allows calamity but He doesn’t partake in it. He is the one who will punish all whom partakes in evil and those that oppose His good nature.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: – James 1.13
Why does God Allow Evil / Sin
First of all we must understand that as supreme being God CAN allow sin and evil to exist and God can also allow evil to exist without it tainting his own glory and perfection. God permits both good and evil to exist, and evil exists so that God may display and produce superior results and to fulfill the role of many good things.
3. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;4. And patience, experience; and experience, hope:5. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us – Romans 5.3-5
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Romans 8.28
2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. – James 1.2-4
Gods Glory – If God did not allow evil, then He would not have been able to display all the depth of all the different attributes of His character to us, such as justice and wrath.
Free-Will – If God did not allow evil, then there would have never been the ability of free will. God must tolerate an alternative to His goodness if we are to be able to have a choice.
Testing Ground – The world is a place to test our faith and our hearts. God will allow us to face temptation to show us who we really are and why we deserve the judgment we receive.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. – 1 Corin 10.13
A Reference Point – How can you understand good without being able to observe an opposition to it. How can you understand all the fullness of God, unless you are able to witness what it is like without God?
Origin of Sin in Creation
The origin of all sin came from the creatures God made, because they have the option to choose God’s way (the good way), or to choose evil (opposite of God’s way). God alone is good, thus only his way is good, every other way is sin and is evil.
Original Sin in Heaven by Lucifer
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. – Isaiah 14 .12 – 15
Here is shows that the devil wanted to be like God. It displays the 5 I Wills of the devil:
- I will ascend into heaven
- I will exalt my throne above the stars of God
- I will sit upon the mount of the congregation
- I will ascend above the heights of the clouds
- I will be like the most high
Again in Ezekiel, is the story of the devils fall and an explanation for the reason why, because of his own pride in his beauty:
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. – Ezekiel 28.17
With Lucifer’s falls, he brought with him 1/3 of the angels in heaven:
4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. Revelation 12.3-9
Origin of Sin with Mankind
We are not sure of the repercussions of Lucifer’s sins on the heavenly realm other then it brought down 1/3 of the angels of heaven, but mans sin (Adam’s original sin) caused ALL of creation to become corrupted and begin decaying into an ever vigorous problem that will eventually lead to the destruction and death of the material universe:
For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it… – Romans 8.20
For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. – Romans 8.22
Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, all of them will grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. – Psalms 102. 25, 26
The 6 Causes of Evil:
Introduced by Aristotle (384 – 322 b.c.) and expanded upon by later scholars, it have been observed logically that evil is caused and defined in the following 6 ways:
- Efficient Cause- a vessel through which evil is accomplished
- Final Cause – the goal that evil is used to accomplish
- Formal Cause – the way that evil is accomplished
- Material Cause – the objects used that evil comes out of.
- 5.Exemplar Cause – the meditation or indwelling of evil such as in the intent.
- Instrumental Cause – that which allows evil to be produced, the tools of evil.
Combined these in sequence (not necessarily in order) and the ‘act’ of evil are produced (sin).
INSTRUMENTS OF SIN/ EVIL
There are 3 primary mediums or instruments evil, in which sin is able to be introduced into our world and into our lives:
Our Flesh – The World – The Devil
We are born as sinful creatures and are by nature children of wrath
Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. – Psalms 51.5
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. – Eph 2.3
We are born into this world with a physical body, and ‘alive’ to the nature of our own flesh, but we are born spiritually dead. God who is life brings restoration to our souls and causes us to be born-again spiritually, when we believe in Him.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3.5-6
When we become spiritually alive we gain the nature of the spirit, which is in direct contrast to the selfish nature of the flesh. Our flesh because it is corrupt, lusts after its own selfish desires without regard to the missing part of its existence (the spirit, or spiritual nature).
The flesh was originally meant to be subject to the spirit, which, when the spirit is alive, knows how to commune with God and find satisfaction and fulfillment in Him. Due to the fall of man everything became backwards and corrupt and with the flesh lusting after its own desires, it would seem to make our minds and our will believe that the natural selfish desires very appetizing to fulfill. The spirit knows that true life, fulfillment and revitalization comes from being connected to God.
As a part of our flesh, the heart when referred to in the Bible (kardia in Greek) means literally both our thoughts and imagination. The heart is evil and desperately wicked above all things, some people will give bad advice to others saying they should follow their heart. This is very bad advice because the heart is what gets us into trouble in the first place, typically following the lusts of the natural man or flesh nature (instead, we should be following God):
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17.9
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: – Matthew 15.18-19
Our heart is constantly feeding our mind with different images (imagination) of fantasies and desires. Depending on the things that we secretly keep lusting after, and allow our minds to dwell upon and constantly think about, we can easily find ourselves eventually doing those things. It is by our will that we decide what we will allow to become a part of us or what we will discard from our heart and mind. It is by our will that we allow and decided what goes into the treasury of our own heart!
And Jesus said, That which proceedeth out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, evil thoughts proceed, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, covetings, wickednesses, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, railing, pride, foolishness: all these evil things proceed from within, and defile the man. – Mark 7.20-23
Due to our own stubbornness, or the hurtful actions of others, or just plain lack of empathy towards what is good, people can over time find themselves become hard- hearted.
A hard heart simply is unable to be pierced by words or emotions or to be moved form its current position of understand or concern. It is like a stone wall unwilling to move for anything or anyone, even for God. It is dead, cold and blocks and attempt for connection or understanding.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. – Matthew 24.12
I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes Ezekiel 36.26-27
A corrupt heart is one that takes pleasure in what is evil and strives to become more adapt to it. A corrupt heart runs to evil and delights in it. It finds its own selfish pleasures and will do anything to satisfy itself. All men are guilty corruption, it is a part of our nature.
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. – Luke 6.43
The world is mankind’s social system that promotes, enforces or displays the ideas and desires of mankind collectively. This is typically manifest in authorities, media or any social interactive medium. Society (the world) is specifically an agent of evil in reference to the social public systems that mankind creates, as that society chooses to continually move away from Gods intended principles and morals.
God does setup the authorities and rulers of nations, and their purpose to exist is for the punishment evil doers and protect the people ( i.e. military). Formation of government is a divine institution whom God created to help societies flourish.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. – Romans 13.1
Although God does setup government institutions for the people of every nation, He also gives the government officials of the nations and its people freewill to choose whom they will serve, namely God or idols (money, humanity, the devil, etc.).
Even though God keeps an image of good intent in the governments of the world, namely to punish evil doers, the leaders and government authorities throughout history, in time, become corrupt and follow the god of this world, the devil, because their sinful natures are tempted for gain.
He (the King) did what was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD – 2 Chron 36.12
In their case the god of this world (the Devil) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. – 2 Corin 4.4
Any social public system that man sets up eventually becomes corrupt due to the fact that mankind will naturally be influenced by their own sinful desires, following the 3 components that make up its structure:
- The lust of the flesh
- The lust of the eyes
- The pride of life
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. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. – 1 John 2.15-17
The Lust of the flesh
The flesh says if it feels good do it, and society wants to promote that! Mankind generally feels that if they can get enough people to do something, it makes it morally alright, or justifies the act. As previously discussed with our flesh, the world system always appeals to mankind’s lusts and desires, usually in attempt to influence the people in a specific direction.
The lust of the flesh appeals directly to sensuality and indulgence. Well known are many of the selfish desires people have for money, sex and power, and the world continually pulls on these selfish categories to appeal to public interests. Society continually tries to ‘redefine’ good morals to help benefit their own selfish desires to alleviate guild and make other people give up their own moral values.
The Lust of the Eyes
Giving in to the lusts that feed whatever the eyes see and desires! The things that inspire the imagination to contribute to the lusts of the public. Society pushes others to create inspiration to feed others selfish desires, and lead others down the path of corruption.
The Pride of Life
The pride of life is when society or an individual becomes self focused, and esteeming their own glory above Gods. It is when mankind looks to himself in arrogance for fulfillment, thinking he is responsible for his own success. This is in direct contrast to the intended design for societies and individuals whom are to rely on God for fulfillment and recognizing every success comes from God.
the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. – Isa 58.11
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1.17
Mankind continually sets itself upon the pedestal of idolatry. Society takes great pleasure putting on pedestals the men of great honor and make them into gods, and promoting others to become or aspire to be like them. Children look like their favorite rock star or super models, aspiring to be just like them. Men idolizing other men in aspiration of becoming like their model of corruption, rather than being conformed into God’s image.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12.2
The ultimate spiritual agent of sin and evil. It is the devils goal to send as many people to hell as he can. He wants to push as many people into sin as he can and destroy the lives of people. The Devil constantly moves throughout the entire earth seeking whomever he can to destroy and devour.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. – Job 1.7
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: – 1 Peter 5.8
The devil is able to use every lie and deceit to his advantage drawing many people away from God, and in many instances, by pretending to do things that seem or appear to be very good. The devil continually creates different devices and programs that seem like a good choice so that he may deceive as many people as he can even bringing many to believe they are doing what is right or morally correct, but in the end it is corrupt and against God’s ways:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. – 2 Corinthians 11.13-15
This is why it is absolutely critical to know exactly what God says to approve what is good and reject what is evil. The devil will do everything he can to either keep people away from God’s word or distract them. 9. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ – Philippians 1.10
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Tim 2.15
THE SIN NATURE
Whatever becomes separated from God, becomes the opposite of God (=) or is Evil, or another way to look at it is, Sin is the absence of God. The flesh nature that lives inside of us has been corrupted due to the original sin, and is capable of doing things contrary to God even though people can become convinced or deceived into believing they have the appearance of something that is considered morally good.
For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3.23
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. – Psalms 14.2-3
God created everything perfect and good (Gen 1) and there was no sin or evil in the original creation. Primarily because it should be understood that sin is the choice to go against God, and His way which is goodness. It is through the choices we make with our God given free will that we go in the opposite direction of Gods goodness. We hold the guilt and responsibility for every one of our own choices, and for every sin we commit.
There are two basic types of sin:
- Sins of Commission – or doing the things that we should not be doing. (1 John 3.4)
- Sins of Omission – or NOT doing the things we should be doing. (James 4.17)
Sin is evil, it corrupts and ultimately destroys.
No One Is Good
Human Perspective vs. God’s Perspective
Justifying our own Sins
Everyone would like to believe they are good, or that they are a good person. This typically stems from our own personal point of view that:
- We are as good as most other people
- We live up to our own values (morals) [most of the time]
- We do things to appease our conscience (i.e. I gave money to a poor person last month)
- We know there are other people much worst (wicked) then we are
Although most people typically retain this pattern of thinking in their lives and in their hearts, the Bible is clear:
No one is good, but only God. – Luke 18.19
If you, then, being evil, are able to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who make requests to him? – Matthew 7.11
If, then, you who are evil are able to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who make request to him? – Luke 11.13
(In this verse we can see Jesus is obviously speaking to believers, referring to them that God would give them the Holy spirit if they ask!)
No one is good – Psalms 14.3
For I am conscious that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good – Romans 7.18
1.) We are as good as most other people
Although this may be true, the problem is the focal point, we are looking at the wrong things to compare ourselves to. This human perspective of focusing only on other sinful beings is not the correct standard we are to follow. The truth is we are not supposed to be as good as other people, the standard is to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. If we want to see the perfection of God that we are supposed to follow and be like; we just have to look at Jesus whom is the image of the invisible God (Col 1.15).
Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5.48
Jesus gives us this command to be like our heavenly Father so that we would drop to our knees in belief asking for God to fill us and cloth us with the
Spirit of Christ, for as we know, being clothed with Christ is the only way to achieve such a command.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. – Romans 13.14
2.) We live up to our own Values
This is yet another wrong perspective because the focus is on human standards, which retains very little original Godly created value. God has given us a conscience but it easily becomes tainted by the world and continually trampled by justifying selfish desires.
God standards are summed up in this:
37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the great and first commandment. 39. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets. – Matthew 22.37-40
i.e. When a man looks at a woman with lust we dishonor God, his wife, his family and everything God has given to him. When we desire something someone else has or get angry with someone, we practice lawlessness and enmity with God. In fact whatever we know some is good to do and don’t do it, or don’t do out of faith, that act or lack thereof is sin. When we examine God’s laws we find that we continually sin daily, and His values which are infinitely high above man’s, reveal to us that we need him desperately.
3.) We do thing to appease our own conscience
Many believe the duties or acts of kindness they do from time to time are good deeds that will earn us grace or favor with God. Or they do them to clear their own conscience from sins committed, and to appease their own mind.
Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15.22
11. What unto me is the multitude of your sacrifices? saith the LORD 15. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17. learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 19. If ye be willing and obedient… – Isaiah 1.11-19
God desires us to be obedient to Him above all things, in fact the things we do to appease our conscience, because they are done without a repentant hear is an abhorrent thing to God.
4.) We know there are other people much worst (wicked) then we are
Much like #1 this is true, but taken from a wrong perspective. From a human perspective, we think we are better then Adolph Hitler or Stalin because we never killed millions of people. However, in God’s eyes, the Bible reveals that all sin is breaking God’s commandment and every sinner is worth of hell.
If we have broken just one of God’s commandments, i.e. lying, stealing, lusting, etc. we are guilty of breaking His entire law. Once again, all this is meant to point us to the fact that while we are alive on the earth, we are depraved of good and full of sinfulness and cannot attain salvation on our own. We cannot justify our own sins; we are sinful beings and we need someone to pay our huge price for sinful living for us.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all. – James 2.10
The Way Sin Works
The Path of Sin & Its Effects
Sin is directly the effects of a creature with free will choosing what is contrary to what is good, or of God. Its effects and results continually lead to more devastating effects, like rot in a tree, or cancer in the body.
Let no man say when he is tested, I am tested by God; for it is not possible for God to be tested by evil, and he himself puts no man to such a test: But every man is tested when he is turned out of the right way by the attraction of his desire. Then when its time comes, desire gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is of full growth, gives birth to death. – James 1.13-15
Attraction + Choice to Follow => Desire + Time => Sin => Destruction (Death)
Formula for Sin
The Bible gives us a direct formula for the way in which sin works. Understanding this formula is absolutely critical to achieving a correct understand of the patterns that make sin succeed over your life.
Decisions => Action = Cause => Effect
A Small taste (consistent)=> (becomes) A Small Habit (consistent)=> (becomes) A New Sinful Lifestyle
A WHEN SIN STARTS AS – A ‘SMALL’ TASTE
Regardless if we dive in head first to what we know is wrong, sin always begins by enticing us in a specific direction, and works in a specific manner of our own desires. Most sin begin as a small seemingly insignificant thought or pleasure that eventually begins to direct our heart towards a more consistent obsession.
Sin is Delightful
Sin can be very pleasurable for a time, but it will never completely satisfy you. The reason it does not satisfy you is because it cannot. The purpose for all mankind’s desires points him to a need for something supernatural, to be with God. Nothing that is separate from God can fulfill or satisfy someone for more than a short period of time, God is the ultimate source of satisfaction. This is why rich people are not satisfied with money, and business owners are never satisfied with power.
… than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; – Hebrew 11.25
Having eyes full of evil desire, never having enough of sin – 2 Peter 2.14
Sin is Deceitful
Sin is deceitful, it can easily seem good or masquerade as something delightful and tantalizing, but in the end it stings like a viper.
For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. – Romans 7.11
Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3.12-13
Sin is Distracting
Specifically it is the mediums (spirits) of sinfulness that will do everything they can to keep you distracted and tempted, attempting to keep you focused on sin. The enemy knows if he can keep you focused on anything but God, he IS ALREADY keeping you distracted.
The flesh loves to be distracted with pleasures and selfish thinking, pondering on simple pleasures of the world and meaningless entertainments . The flesh does a great job keeping us distracted, focusing on our own satisfaction, keeping sinful desires in the back of our minds to flirt with at later times. As we remain distracted, even if we do not fall into a trap of sin, we can become hindered from doing good because our thoughts are else ware.
Keep your eyes on what is in front of you, looking straight before you. Keep a watch on your behavior; let all your ways be rightly ordered. Let there be no turning to the right or to the left, keep your feet from evil. – Proverbs 4.25-27
Sin is Discouraging
Sin can also be very discouraging. It will appeal to some people negatively by making people feel worthless or something contrary to what God has told them. Discouragement is sins negative attempt to maintain control on a specific part of someone’s life or calling. Sin will fill our minds with guilt after the bad deed is done, keeping us in shame feeling worthless and separate from God, which we are unless we repent.
B THEN SIN BECOMES – A ‘LITTLE’ HABIT
Sin is Seductive
Sin will lure you be appealing to the things you take pleasure in and keep you in its grasp. Sin doesn’t want to give a little piece of your life (or just want a small piece of you), it wants EVERYTHING. Once it grasps your attention, it will use all its power to keep drawing you closer, anything it can do to keep you from turning back. Like a seductive, whorish adulteress, who keeps appealing to the lust of a man to draw him closer.
With her fair words she overcame him, forcing him with her smooth lips. – Proverbs 7.21
Sin is Captivating
Sin will take prisoner all who come to it. Those who are seduced and delight in sinful pleasure, sin looks to make you a slave to it. Sin is looking to make slaves out of everyone who practices it, and keep them trapped in a world without God.
If you do well, will you not have honour? and if you do wrong, sin is waiting at the door, desiring to have you, but do not let it be your master. – Gen 4.7
But I see another law in my body, working against the law of my mind, and making me the servant of the law of sin which is in my flesh. – Romans 7.23
Sin is Consuming
Sin is looking to take over your entire life, it wants you to make it a part of your lifestyle.
Drinking too much alcohol, sex outside of marriage, or even bitterness towards other people; whatever it is, sin will appeal to your selfish human nature and pull you continually in its direction, producing evil desires in your heart.
… weighted down with sin, turned from the way by their evil desires – 2 Timothy 3.6
C PRODUCTS OF SIN – A PERPETUAL LIFE-STYLE
Sin causes Grief / Suffering
Sin is the acting cause for ALL suffering. Even if it isn’t effecting the person who is sinning right away, many times it is effecting those who are closest to them. Many times a persons sins directly hurt someone else causing grief and suffering to follow. When we sin, it even causes God to grieve over the things we have done.
( God speaking) I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols – Ezekiel 6.9
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. – Eph 4.30
Sin causes Destruction
Sin is the cause for all destruction. All of creation suffering from sin is doomed for destruction and it is continually subject to destructive forces. Personally we may suffer from destroying ourselves, or someone else when we sin.
Sin Causes Death – Physical and Spiritual Death
Sin is the cause for all death. Everyone who commits sin will eventually die. All of creation is subject to death (destruction) as we also observe in both the Bible and in the physical laws of the universe. The second law of thermodynamics states everything is decaying- entropy (the universe is winding down).
For the wages of sin is death. – Romans 6.23
The soul that sins dies, the very act of sin (regardless of what it is) separates that person from God because God cannot have any part with sin. God is life and without God you will die. Sin caused physical decay and eventually leading to death (because of Adams first sin) in this life and spiritual death and eternal punishment in the next.
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 59.2
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners – Romans 5.19
THE WAGES OF SIN
What is sin worth?
If you had to put a price on sin, it would be worth the opposite of God! God is infinitely good, loving and merciful, Gods worth is infinite goodness. Thus the opposite of God’s worth is infinite suffering, torture and wrath. The deserved wages of sin is eternal condemnation, suffering and wrath! Sin is worthy of eternal punishment and everyone who sins earns the wages of it!
Sins are crimes against a holy and good God, specifically going against His nature and perfect will, and everyone who commits a sin are eternally worthy of Hell and punishment forever, they have specifically earned the ‘Wages of Sin.’
TYPES OF SINS
God’s law reveals many different sins that mankind is able to commit, and how we can avoid moral evils.
God gave Israel the 10 commandments as the beginning of the law of Moses. This was a covenant between God and His people Israel that they should know Gods law and keep it, even though it was not able to bring them salvation.
10 Commandments (Exodus 20.2-17):
- No Other Gods– Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- No Graven Images – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
- Don’t Use Gods Name in Vein – Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day – to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
- Honor your Father & Mother – : that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
- Don’t Murder.
- Don’t Commit Adultery.
- Don’t Steal.
- Don’t Lie – Thou halt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
- Don’t Covet – Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
God gave Israel over 650 commandments all recorded in the Old Testament. Many other laws where simply ceremonial rules and commandments for keeping clean and washing properly; but a majority of the laws was an elaboration on the 10 commandments and specification for keeping them.
Sins of the Imagination & Emotions
When Jesus came he revealed what matters to God is a persons heart. Jesus did not come to change God’s law, but rather to fulfill it. Before Jesus goes into detail concerning what the law is really about, He proceeds to instruct the people about what really matters to God, the matters of the heart. Men judge by outward appearance but God sees right through to someone’s intensions, and the depths of their heart! It is the heart where sin starts and it is conceived:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5.17-19
Murder Mat 5:21
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time: Thou shalt not kill; But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment
Adultery Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Divorce Mat 5:31
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
Oaths Mat 5:33
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:… But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Vengeance Mat 5:38
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also… Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Kindness Mat 5:43
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven
All are Guilty of Sin
We are all guilt of sins that began in our heart. Our flesh is born into corruption and God’s standard is impossible for mankind to reach, without His help (Matt 19.26). We are born into a world of sin, with a sinful flesh nature and evil spiritual demons that continually try to get us to sin. On top of this the standard is absolute perfect equivalent to God’s perfection because God cannot accept anything less then His own holiness.
And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. – 2Ch 12:14
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. – Rom 3:10 – 12
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. – Mat 5:48
GODS JUDGEMENT AGAINST SIN
God will punish all sinner according to what they have done. God’s judgment will be against all sin and evil in all of creation.
When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; – 2 Thessalonians 1.7-9
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20.12-15
Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the sexually immoral, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loves and makes a lie. – Revelation 22.15
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envying, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5.19-21
Þ see Hell
SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS Sin and Salvation
|Imprisons us||Set us free|
|An Eternal debt we cannot pay||Payment for all our sins|
|Sin rules our Flesh||Salvation rules our Spirit|
Moral/ Psychological Result
|Flesh nature runs our life||Spirit nature runs our life|
|Under the Devils system||Under Gods system|
|Children of the Devil||Children of God|
|Separated from God, Condemned (to spiritual death)||Restored to God, Revived (spiritually reborn)|
|Subject to death||Resurrection to life eternal|
Systematic Theology – Norman L. Geisler