7. What God Says About Sin
We have now started to discover where all the sin, sorrow and sickness in the world comes from. Adam's disobedience affects every one of us, as we read in Romans 5:12:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned...”
Each one of us has problems with sin. Let us go to discover what sin is.
The Nature of Sin
God's law is based on divine standards. It requires man to be the moral “image” of God. Anything less than perfection is sin. The Bible says,
“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
“All wrongdoing is sin .....” (1 John 5:17).
“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins” (James 4:17).
Sin is not just disobedience to God leading to an evil act or the omission of a good deed. It begins with “evil thoughts” from an “evil heart”. Jesus said,
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (Mark 7:20-22).
Sins are the “fruit” of a man who is alienated from God (Galatians 5:19-21). Lack of love for, and fear of, God is shown in lack of respect for Him and His will. Every man is born with a sinful heart (Psalm 51:5). That is why we all have the compulsion to sin:
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).
Both voluntary and involuntary sins are the products of a sinful heart. Therefore both bear the same consequences.
The Root of Sin
The essence of all sin is selfishness, the love of self instead of love and obedience to God. Sin is the supreme choice of self: self-love, self-will and self-interest. So one can actually be sinning while “doing good”. Many “good deeds” originate in self-love, and are intended to demonstrate someone's goodness. Jesus explained that such good deeds are worthless (Matthew 6:1-8). And the prophet Isaiah explains that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before God (Isaiah 64:6). Thus even our “good deeds” may be reckoned as sin, since they are often an unconscious declaration of independence from God. We feel that we do not need God's mercy, because we deserve to be forgiven. Only when you begin to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5), will self-love, self-will, self-interest and self-sufficiency begin to decrease and the compulsion to sin be stemmed.
“Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10; see also Galatians 5:14; John 7:18; Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20-21).
“Sin is the fundamental and positive choice or preference of self instead of God ....Instead of making God the centre of his life, surrendering himself unconditionally to God ..... The sinner makes himself the centre of his life, sets himself directly against God, and constitutes his own interest the supreme motive and his own will the supreme rule” (Systematic Theology, A.H. Strong, page 572).
Sin is Universal
Sin is universal, and every human being is “under sin” (Galatians 3:22). Some may sin more crudely and openly than others, but sin (i.e., alienation from God), as a governing principle, contaminates all mankind, no one excluded:
The first man, Adam,already sinned ( Genesis 3:16-19; Sura 2:36; 7:22-23). The Bible and the Qur'an agree that even the prophets all sinned:
The Source of Sin
When man first sinned, he was seduced and deceived by the “serpent” (Satan, the devil, Shaitan or Iblis). Man was willing to give Satan a hearing and to weigh his words against the words of God. Jesus say the following about Satan:
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, For he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Before making this statement, Jesus said to the disobedient Jews:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.”
Every sinner is a slave of Satan (Romans 6:16). But remember that the devil has an ally in our own corrupted mind:
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, He is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15).
The Consequence of Sin
Test Yourself No. 7
Fill in whether the following statements are TRUE or FALSE, and compare your answers to those given.
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