What is sin? Sin is a transgression of God's law. Sin happens when God says to do something one way and man says he wants to do it another, or not do it at all. Sin can be the act of going directly against something God said to not do such as committing a murder, stealing, lying, or adultery, or sin can be omitting something that God did say to do (James 4: 17; 2 Thessalonians 1: 6-10). These two kinds of sin are sometimes called sins of commission and omission. Sin always carries with it the characteristic of rebellion against God. It was not inherently wrong for Adam and Eve to eat fruit while they were in the garden of Eden, but it became sin when they insisted on eating from the one tree that God had told them not to eat from (Genesis 3: 1-6). Something can be sinful for us if our consciences condemn it but we do it anyway (Romans 14: 23).
Who is a sinner? This question has to be answered on two levels when asked in English because of a complexity of our language. A sinner could be (1) anyone who has ever sinned at any time and in any way, as 1 John 1: 8, 10 is talking about (2) someone who continues to walk in sin as an unrepented of and everyday habit, as in 1 John 1: 6, 2:4. And those who are saved from sin are those who have committed sin in the past but have done what God has asked to receive his grace and who do not make it an everyday and unchallenged habit to sin, which is the redeemed situation that 1 John 1: 7, 9, 2: 1-3 is talking about. In a final sense, all who are old enough to know right from wrong very quickly become sinners and all of us have committed sin (Romans 3: 23). God hates sin so much that He has decreed that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
How does God feel about sin? Sin makes Him very sad and made Him sorry that He had ever created man (Genesis 6: 6). God is absolutely perfect and sinless, so much that let alone being free from sin, He cannot even be tempted (James 1: 12-16). Sin cannot be allowed into His presence. He will banish unrepented-of sin and un-repentent sinners to Hell, a place of fire and brimstone, a place where there is moaning and gnashing of teeth and the fire is not quenched (Luke 13: 28; 16: 23-28; Matthew 13: 41-43).
It was because of sin that man faces earthly death. If it had not been for Christ to redeem man, man in his lack of self discipline would perish spiritually also. God rectified man's sin debt by sending Jesus to pay for it, God suffering for God's creation. See Romans 5: 12-21.
How is it that man sins? Satan does the tempting, not God. See James 1: 12-16. And God will not allow us to be faced with a temptation or trial that is more than we can handle (I Corinthians 10: 12, 13) See the progression of sin with man (back to the James passage). Each person is tempted when his own desire is awakened. It is not wrong to be tempted--even Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4: 1-11; Luke 4: 1-13), although Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4: 14-16). But it is wrong to let the progression continue from temptation to sin to spiritual death.
The question naturally comes: how bad is sin? And how much of it can people do before it starts attracting God's attention and He does something about it? Well, for Adam and Eve, it was the very first time. For Moses, it was the first time he was insubordinate (Numbers 20: 7-12); right then and there, he lost the priviledge of setting foot on the promised land. For Ananias and Sapphira, the price of lying was immediate physical death (Acts 5: 1-11). The overall pronouncement of God about sin: The soul that sinneth, he shall die. (Ezekiel 18: 20). And again: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6: 23).
It is Satan that tries to get us to sin. He is called the father of lyers and is the one trying to take everyone with him to Hell that he can. Hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25: 41). It was never prepared for man as such. Satan throws temptations at us in three formats:
1. Lust of the flesh
2. Lust of the eyes
3. Pride of life (I John 2: 15-17)
We can track those same three through the temptations that Satan gave to Jesus in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. He was tempted at other times as well. Satan knows our individual weeknesses and tries to exploit those. We are told in 1 Peter 5: 8 to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
What kinds of things make God sad, disappointed in man, and angry? What is he calling sin? See 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; Galatians 5: 16-26; Revelation 21: 8; Rev. 22: 15. We are admonished to "bring every thought captive to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10: 5). There are things we are told to mortify or put to death and those we are told to put on (Colossians 3: 5-17).
Do not believe the lies that Satan tells you:
1. That God doesn't really notice evil (But compare to 2 Corinthians 5: 10)
2. That God doesn't know about things done in secret (Psalms 139: 7-15).
3. That God isn't serious about punishing sin (Romans 1: 18-32; 2: 6-11).
4. That God just doesn't want man to have any fun. Rather He sent His son that man might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10: 10).
5. That there is no immediate cause for alarm about the sin in your life, and that you do not need to obey immediately to effect the saving of your soul. Rather, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." II Corinthians 6: 2. God has provided a means of escape for those who want to obey Him and avoid the punishment of Hell. Hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized; follow his teachings and commandments. Do not make sin an everyday unabated way of life.
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