“Sin” is an unpopular word because our culture promotes flagrant self-expression. Some view sin as a medieval concept and reduce it to a fear tactic while others see it as a manipulative concept and reduce it to a control tactic. However we try to resist it, sin is a biblical concept that gives us useful insight into human nature and humanity’s problems. Only the Bible tells us the truth about sin and how it affects us.
Nature of Sin
Sin is a varied concept in the Bible – the Old Testament uses eight words for it and the New Testament uses twelve! The most basic words mean “to miss the mark,” to fall short of God’s perfect standard; the others mean to disobey, wander, rebel, or be guilty. Sin refers to any violation of God’s character or deviation from His will.
Origin of Sin
God is not the source of sin and cannot be blamed for it. After creating mankind, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). James reminds us that “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13).
Sin came into the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. Rather than trusting in His provision and goodness, they ate the forbidden fruit and broke His command (Genesis 3:1-7).
Scope of Sin
Adam and Eve’s sin cast all humanity into strife, suffering, and death (Genesis 3:14-19). Paul reasons that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Adam acted as mankind’s representative, so the guilt and penalty of his sin is transferred to each member of his race.
Sin affects all humanity and all of human nature. No part of our being is uncorrupted by sin – it defiles how we feel, think, decide, speak, and act.
Consequences of Sin
The first consequence of sin is slavery. When we disobey God, we offer ourselves as slaves to sin and it makes us do things we would rather not do (Romans 6:16; 7:20). The second consequence is death. When we sin, we subject ourselves to spiritual and physical death (Ephesians 2:1; Genesis 3:22). The third consequence is condemnation. All who die in their sins are condemned to eternal punishment in hell (Matthew 13:40-42, 49-50; 25:46).
Remedy for Sin
Sin is only remedied by sacrifice. God allowed Israel to offer animal sacrifices as payment for their sins. Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind (1 John 2:2). The author of Hebrews declares that “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). The only way to be rescued from sin is to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf and commit your life to Him.
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