Sin is the transgression of God's law-the falling
short or missing the mark of the character of Jesus Christ. Although the
penalty for sin is death in the lake of fire, all sin can be completely
forgiven by God who desires that all men be saved. God forgives sin
upon the repentance of the individual who accepts the shed blood and
sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment in full for the penalty of his
The most consistent and important theme of the New
Testament concerning sin is that it will be gladly forgiven by God upon
any human being's repentance, acceptance of the shed blood and sacrifice
of Jesus Christ, and baptism. Hence, sin need not have "dominion" over a
Christian (Romans 6:12), nor must it "reign" over his life (Romans 6:12),
nor block his entrance into the Kingdom of God!
Sin is "all unrighteousness" (1
John 5:17); "for sin is the transgression of the law" (
3:4, KJV or "lawlessness," RSV). Sin, in fact, cannot be imputed when
there is no law (Romans 5:13), "where there is no law, there is no
transgression" (Romans 4:15).
The seventh chapter of Romans deals with the
relationship between sin and law. Paul wrote, "If it had not been for
the law, I should not have known sin" (Romans 7:7). Using the tenth
commandment as his example, Paul continued, "I should not have known
what it is to covet if the law had not said, 'You shall not covet'."
Paul explained that sin is made obvious because the law condemns it.
"For sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and by it
killed me" (v. 11).
But this in no way maligns the law as some would
quickly and erroneously conclude. Paul immediately thwarted this false
concept by writing, "So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and
just and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no
means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order
that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might
become sinful beyond measure" (verses 12-13).
Sin is more than the breaking of one of the Ten
Commandments in an outward, physical manner. Christ amplified the law of
God to include the spirit and intent of the law. Likewise, this
amplified the meaning of sin to include the breaking of the spirit or
intent of the law through one's actions or attitudes. For example, the
New Testament expands the law so that looking upon a woman to lust after
her is the moral equivalent of adultery and thereby sinful; so that
hating one's brother is the moral equivalent of murder and sinful. Thus
one appearing outwardly righteous may inwardly harbor all sorts of evil.
Such external appearances of righteousness can often
lead to self-righteousness, perhaps the most insidious of sins since it
is so difficult for the person himself to comprehend since he "knows"
that he hasn't done anything wrong. Christ spoke pointedly against this
type of hypocrisy which is common to men.
Paul understood the universal power of sin. It
permeates every nation, every race, every citizen of planet earth. "None
is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God"
(Romans 3:10-11; Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3); "For all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Sin envelops every human life. On the
one hand; sin includes much more than just our occasional wicked
actions. On the other hand, true sinlessness is more, much more, than
just the outward adherence to any set of behavioral regulations and/or
religious rituals. Paul saw this clearly in his own life, "For I do not
do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do . . . . For
I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members
another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the
law of sin which dwells in my members" (Romans 7:19, 22, 23). All is not
hopeless, indeed the recognition of the full reality of the almost
omnipresent problem of sin in one's life is the first step toward-indeed
it's the major part of-the solution to the problem. "Wretched man that I
am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God
through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God
with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is
therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law
of sin and death" (Romans 7:24-8:2).
In addition to being the breaking of God's law, sin
is also the result of falling short of God's way of life. The two
concepts overlap greatly, but stress different approaches. There are two
basic ways of life, one of "giving" and the other of "getting." God's
way is the giving way; that of outgoing concern for and understanding of
others; it is the way of love which is God's primary characteristic.
Man's way is the way of "get"; of vanity, jealousy, lust and greed; it
is the way of satisfying his own desires without care or concern of
others. God defines His way by His law. When man breaks that law and
thereby sins, he falls short of God's perfect way.
Two further expansions of the scope of sin were
developed by Paul and James. Both relate to missing the mark of a godly
orientation to life. Paul wrote that "for whatever does not proceed from
faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). This means that if a person does something
that his conscience tells him is wrong even though the act itself is not
actually wrong in God's sight, (e.g. drinking an alcoholic beverage),
the very fact that the person has violated his own principles is
sufficient to convert it into a real sin. In other words, doing
something that is not a sin becomes a sin if the person who does it
thinks it's a sin-because he defiles his conscience. This shows the
critical importance God places on a person's mental attitude and
approach. It also indicates the great appreciation God has for the human
conscience, which He created as an efficacious tool in impelling us
toward good conduct and right motives (if properly educated). To
countermand one's faith violates one's conscience and risks destroying
it (1 Timothy 4:2 refers to consciences "seared with a hot iron.")
Furthermore, Romans 14:23 indicates that there can be at least some
areas of sin which are relative to the individual person's attitude of
mind-i.e. they may be sin to some people and not to others-thus adding
one more reason for not judging our brothers. (A New Testament example
is eating meat which had been offered beforehand as a sacrifice to an
idol. This relative determination of sin is governed by conscience and
does not, of course, apply to the obvious areas where God's laws are
already explicitly clear.)
James referred to sins of omission when he wrote,
"Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is a
sin" (James 4:17). Sin, therefore, is expanded beyond its traditional
(albeit fully valid) "thou shall not" boundaries. Not doing wrong is no
longer sufficient to keep one from sinning. Affirmative positive action
is obligatory for an individual to do in certain situations or sin will
result. If the person does not do what he knows is right to do (for
whatever reason, e.g. laziness, inconvenience, etc.), then that is just
as much a sin as the direct breaking of any of God's law. Not helping
the poor, for example, when one is able (either by giving of one's time
or his resources) is a sin; not going out of your way to sacrifice and
show outgoing concern for one's parents, children, spouse, relatives,
friends, strangers or enemies may violate James 4:17 and become a sin if
one knows that it would have been proper to do, but yet neglectfully did
not do it.
Although sin and the breaking of God's holy way of
life ultimately originates in the mind, mere temptation to sin is not
sin, however strong the temptation may be. Christ was tempted by Satan
in all points and in every respect but never sinned (cf.
Matthew 4:1; Hebrews
4:15). No temptation should make a Christian feel guilty; temptations
are normal, but they must be instantly resisted because the line between
temptation and sin may become fine indeed. James expressed it this way:
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own
desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin
when it is full grown brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). As this verse
and others point out, the ultimate penalty for all sin is the second
death in the lake of fire (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:14-15 ).
The common penalty of death for all sin illustrates the important truth
that God does not categorize sin in the ultimate spiritual sense. Some
sins, of course, cause more character damage than others, or demand a
more severe physical penalty, or are more depraved than others-but,
spiritually speaking, all sins are equally serious because they equally
demand the death penalty. One who has broken any one of God's laws is a
lawbreaker-and, except for God's great mercy, is unfit for His Kingdom
(James 2:10-11; note that two of the Ten Commandments are used to define
God did not originally create sin, but by giving free
moral agency to His created beings He did leave the door open for sin to
be committed. One of these great beings-later named Satan the Devil-had
been created full of wisdom and perfect beauty (Ezek. 28:12). This being
was actually perfect in his ways-until iniquity, sin, was "found in" him
(Ezekiel 28:15). Satan is the one who
introduced sin into the universe and became the adversary of God and man
(Isaiah 14). (Ultimately, God will
place the full responsibility for sin on its originator. This is the
meaning behind the Day of Atonement which pictures Satan being bound
after the return of Christ, so that the millennium will be devoid of his
evil influence. This was also represented in ancient Israel by sending
the "scapegoat," Azazel in Hebrew, into the wilderness on the Day of
Atonement. Leviticus 16:10.)
Satan likewise introduced sin to mankind through Adam
and Eve. Although created in moral and spiritual neutrality, Adam and
his wife were deceived by Satan into disobeying God's command that they
must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In turn all
since Adam and Eve (except Jesus) have sinned and themselves incurred
the death penalty for their own sins. "Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all
man, for that all have sinned..." (Romans 5:12).
Sin can be either by omission or commission,
individual or national, affecting others or affecting only the self. But
in the final analysis, all sin is against God, because God is the author
of the law against which man transgresses (Psalms 51:4). While the types of
sin are as numerous and varied as human beings, the effects of sin are
direct and specific. As explained, the final penalty for all sin is
death in the lake of fire. But sin has other effects.
Sin makes people miserable; it ruins their lives and
their families; it maims, devastates and kills; it is the cause of all
human misery and suffering. This is why God hates sin so much-not
because of what sin does to God, but because of what sin does to sinners
whom God loves. Furthermore, sin perverts the mind; it can change the
values of the sinner, his point of view and outlook, and make him
rationalize that he is doing right when he is actually doing wrong. Sin
blinds and deceives the sinner by causing a veil to fall over his eyes
so that he cannot understand the reality of God's truth as expressed in
the Bible. More importantly, it cuts one off from God. "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 the absolute antithesis of God, the opposite
of everything He represents and for which He stands. Thus the sinner can
never be given eternal life as a member of God's family until all sin
has been wiped away from his life-until it has been repented of and
forgiven by God. This forgiveness is available only through the
sacrifice of Christ upon repentance (Acts 2:38). But it is freely and
fully given to all who ask. There is no sin that God won't forgive, if
the sinner is truly repentant.
Repentance is a gift from God. It comes when God
opens one's eyes to recognize his own sinfulness, and to see that his
life has been a constant journey of self-centered vanity in defiance of
God. Once one has acknowledged the reality of his sins, and has come to
the heartfelt determination to change to a new life with Christ's help,
he can be baptized and receive total forgiveness for his sins. But
repentance is not a one-time thing. Rather, one must repent of
additional sins as he becomes aware of them; the now converted Christian
must confess them before God on a daily basis.
It is crucial that Christians deeply realize that God
does not forgive sin begrudgingly. He is quick to forgive lovingly and
mercifully any repentant person of any and all sins, no matter what
their magnitude, number or frequency may be-and then permanently block
even the memory of those sins from his mind for eternity. God says he
"hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our
iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his
mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so
far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth
his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knows our
frame; he remembers that we are dust" (Psalms 103:10-14).
One with God's Spirit is under no "condemnation"
whatsoever in spite of the fact that he must still wrestle, against sin
and may on occasion succumb to sin (cf. Romans 7; 8:1). Such a converted
person is not counted as a "sinner" although he may indeed sin out of
weakness. He is rather looked upon by God as "holy" (Colossians 3:12) because
God imputes His righteousness to him through faith (Romans 4). Only one
who has had the burden of the penalty of sin completely lifted from his
shoulders and has experienced the deep exhilaration of knowing that his
every sin has been totally forgiven and forgotten by God can fully
appreciate David's statement, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are
forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the
Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:7-8; Psalms 32:1-2). Such a person has
been given the "joy and gladness" which comes from having peace with God
(Psalms 51:8). A forgiven Christian knows he need not feel hopeless if he
sins in weakness, because God looks upon the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). He
realizes that God hates sin but loves the sinners enough to have sent
His only Son as their Savior. "For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life" (John.
God can appreciate our human frailty because Jesus
Christ, our mediator and intercessor, is always at His right hand. To
Jesus, sin is not some theoretical theological concept; for He
experienced the full force of temptation in all points of human
susceptibility (Hebrews 4:15). He also experienced the full force of the
penalty of sin. Though he never sinned, Jesus can well remember the
enormity of the incessant battle, constantly resisting Satan's wiles and
ceaselessly fighting his own human nature. Jesus will never condone sin;
but He will understand it, he will never condemn the person for it, and
He will always be extremely desirous of asking God to forgive it.
God in His perfect wisdom knows that not all men will
repent of their sins or accept the sacrifice of Christ. Some will
absolutely decide, of their own free will and volition, while knowing
better, never to obey God and never to repent. Hence, a person who has
steeled and hardened his mind against repentance is a person who cannot
be forgiven, not because God will not forgive him, but because the
person himself does not want to be forgiven. This Sin, against the Holy
Spirit, (which is the Agency by which God removes sin,) is called
"unpardonable," not because God lacks the power to pardon it, but
because the sinner has rejected God, and His Holy Spirit, and refuses to
ask for pardon. Those who accused Jesus of performing miracles through
the power of Satan were perilously close to that ultimate hardness of
heart which will refuse to repent, and therefore refuses to ask God's
pardon for sin. The lake of fire is the ultimate penalty for one who
commits this unpardonable sin. But, the great God who created the
universe will only destroy an individual for whom eternal life would
become unending misery, the ultimate torture of terrible frustration.
Yet it must be emphasized and understood that anyone,
at any time, can and will be able to repent of any sin when he sincerely
desires to be forgiven and to accept Jesus Christ as his personal
Savior. This is God's will for all mankind-"Not wishing that any should
perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2
Peter 3:9; cf 1
Timothy 2:4). Even Paul, as we saw, had his problems of not always living the
way he should-of missing the mark-of not having the perfect attitude
(Romans 7:15-23). Even he was influenced by Satan's attitudes and human
covetousness. But he knew that Christ's sacrifice would forgive and
cover all sin (Romans 7:25).
Thus, the unpardonable sin is not at all the fearsome
weapon of a sadistic God who refuses to forgive a poor sinner who has
made a few mistakes out of weakness. The opposite is the case. Anyone,
at any time, can and will be able to repent of any and all sins simply
by desiring to be forgiven and by accepting the blood of Christ as
payment in full for the penalty of those sins. "Without the shedding of
blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22). It is only in
Jesus Christ that "we have redemption through His
blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of
His grace which he lavished upon us" (Ephesians 1:7). Redemption is through "the precious blood of
Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19), with which converted Christians were (and are
continuously being) washed from their sins (Revelation1:5-6). The crucifixion
of Jesus Christ was "for all time a single sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews
10:12) because His life, as Creator of everything (Colossians
1:16), was more
important than all other lives put together.
In connection with the topic of sin, many skeptics
and sincere believers alike through the centuries have wondered why God
allows sin to even exist: "If God is both all good and all powerful,"
they ask, "why does He allow such terrible evils on earth?" The answer
is rooted more in the biblically stated purpose of human life than in
the philosophically structured arguments of intellectual tradition.
God is, through man, reproducing Himself. In order to
enable man to build righteous, character, God created his mind with free
moral agency. This means that human beings have been given the right and
capacity to make their own choices and to guide their own actions,
thoughts, and lives. Therefore, in effect, God has given man the right
and the capacity to do evil. Yet even this accomplishes God's purpose.
For in allowing man to commit evil, God enables man also to learn a
great lesson from the experience of the evil: that disobedience to God's
ways, laws and principles will produce horrendous results. Once man has
thoroughly and completely learned this hard, painful lesson of
history-that disobedience of God produces destruction and death-he will
never make the same fatal mistake Satan did; he will never rebel against
God, because he knows such rebellion will produce only corruption and
While we need to deeply recognize the presence of sin
in our lives as highlighted by God's law, we need to forgive and forget
sin, just as God does (Psalms 103:12). This applies to both our own sins
and the sins of others. One of the most common problems for true
Christians, having been trained in, and imprinted by, puritanically
based Western culture, is the continuing guilt complex over past sins
ever after they are fully repented of and buried with Christ. As far as
God is concerned, He sees no reason why the repentant person should feel
guilty since He Himself will not even remember their sins. Christians,
therefore, should grow toward having this same attitude regarding their
own sins and (equally important) the sins of others. Once forgiven, all
sins should be forgotten.
Certainly sin affects us all because all have sinned
and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But sin-however heinous
and antithetical to God's way-has become an intimate part of God's plan
of reproducing Himself through mankind. God's forgiveness-the greatest
expression of His total loving kindness and mercy-is the perfect
antidote that completely nullifies and makes void Satan's efforts at
turning man from his Creator.
1 John 3:4 - Sin
is the transgression of the law.
Romans 6:12 - Let not sin reign in
your mortal body.
1 John 5:17 - All unrighteousness is
Romans 5:13 - Sin is not imputed
where there is no law.
Romans 7:7,11 - By the law, we
Romans 3:10-11 - There is none
righteous [prior to repentance and baptism].
Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3 - The Lord
looketh down from heaven to see if any seek God.
Romans 3:23 - All have sinned.
Romans 7:19, 22-23 - Though sin
dwells in us, we can delight in the law of God.
Romans 7: 24 to 8:2 - There is no
condemnation to them which are in Christ, who walk after Spirit.
Romans 14:23 - Whatsoever is not of
faith is sin.
1 Timothy 4:2 - A conscience can be
seared as if by an iron.
James 4:17 - It is a sin to know to
do good and not do it.
Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 4:15 - Jesus
was tempted as we are.
James 1:14-15 - Sin is a process
that ends in death.
Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is
Revelation 20:14-15 - Whosoever is
not found in the book of Life is cast into the lake of fire.
James 2:10-11 - If we sin in one
point, we are guilty of all sin.
Ezekiel 28:12 - Satan originally
created full of wisdom and beauty.
Ezekiel 28:15 - Sin found in Satan.
Romans 5:12 - Sin entered the World
by one man, Adam
Psalm 51:4 - When we sin, we sin
Isaiah 59:1-2 - Sin separates man
Acts 2:38 - Repent and be baptized
for the remission of sins.
Psalm 103:10-14 - God does not
reward us according to our iniquities.
Colossians 3:12 - God counts one
with the Holy Spirit, Holy.
Romans 4:7-8; Psalms 32:1-2 -
Blessed is the person whose sins are forgiven.
Psalm 51:8 - Joy and gladness comes
from having peace with God.
1 Samuel 16:7 - God looks upon the
John 3:16 - God wants man to have
Romans 8:1 - No condemnation to
those in Jesus Christ, who walk in the Spirit.
2 Peter 3:9 - God is not willing
that any should perish.
Romans 7:15-23 - Missing the mark.
Romans 7:25 - We serve the law of
God with our minds.
Hebrews 9:22 - Without the shedding of
blood of Christ, there is no remission of sin.
Ephesians 1:7 - We have redemption
of sin through the blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:18-19 - Man is redeemed
from sin by the blood of Christ.
Hebrews 10:12 - Jesus sacrificed
Himself for sin.
Colossians 1:16 - Jesus created
Psalms 103:12 - God removes sin far
1] Sin is the
transgression of the ___ [what?]
2] God will gladly forgive sin...
a) upon repentance
b) acceptance of the shed blood of Christ
d) all of the above
3] Complete this verse from 1 John 5:17:
All ______________ is sin.
4] From Romans 5:13 we learn that sin cannot be imputed where there is
no ___ [what?]
5] By the law one can identify sin. True or False?
6] If one ultimately experiences the second death in the lake of fire
(Revelation 20:15) will it be because of...
7] Christ came to do away with the law and commandments. True or
8] Christ came to amplify the law of God to include the spirit and
intent of the law. True or False?
9] According to amplified law, hating your brother is the moral
equivalent of murder. True or False?
10] Probably the most insidious of sins is...
c) self righteousness
11] The power of sin is universal. It permeates every nation,
every race and every citizen. True or False?
12] The recognition of the full reality of the almost omnipresent
problem of sin in one's life is the first step toward - indeed it's the
major part of - the solution to the problem. True or False?
13] God defines His way of life by His law. True or False?
14] According to Romans 14:23, Whatsoever is not of _____ is sin [of
15] If a person believes in his or her mind that a certain action is a
sin, even though it cannot be shown to be a sin in the Bible, then, to
this person it is a sin. True or False?
16] Sins of omission are still sins. True or False?
17] Not helping the poor or needy when one is able to do so (in time,
effort or money), it is a sin. True or False?
18] When we experience temptation, this too is sin. True or False?
19] When we experience temptation, we should feel guilty. True or
20] Which of the following statements are true?
a) Jesus experienced temptation
b) sins don't just happen but are the result of a process
c) all sins begin with a thought
d) the sins process ends in the death of the sinner
e) all statements are true
21] Spiritually speaking all sins are equal. True or False?
22] God originated sin to test man. True or False?
23] Sin originated in...
b) the world
24] Sin entered the world by...
25] Sin can be ...
a) by commission
b) by omission
e) affecting self
f) affecting others
g) all of the above
26] Sin blinds and deceives the sinner to the reality of God's truth.
True or False?
27] Forgiveness of sin by God is only possible by the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ. True or False?
28] Repentance must be earned through obedience to God. True or
29] Repentance is a one-time action. Once one repents, he repents
for all past and future sin. True or False?
30] Repentance must be done on a daily basis. True or False?
31] There is no condemnation to them in the Spirit (the Salvation
Process). True or False?
32] Jesus Christ is our mediator and intercessor before God. True
33] God knows that all of mankind will eventually repent of sin.
True or False?
34] One who refuses to repent of sin or rejects God's forgiveness of
sins has committed the unpardonable sin. True or False?
35] God is not willing that any should perish. True or False?
36] According to Hebrews 9:22, there is no forgiveness of sin without
the ________ of _____.
37] God's primary plan is to reproduce Himself. True or False?
38] To do this [God reproducing Himself] God gave mankind the right and
capacity to make their own choices and to guide their own actions,
thoughts and lives. True or False?
39] God has given man the right and capacity to do evil. True or
40] God did this [question 39] so man would learn the futility of doing
evil. True or False?
41] When God forgives us our sins, He forgets them. He wants us to
do the same. True or False?
42] God's forgiveness of sins defeats Satan's plan to turn man from God.
True or False?