SIN: Universal in Scope Deadly in Effect Beyond any Man-made Antidote
Let me say it up front — unadorned and without fear of contradiction. The supreme malady of the human race — the seed cause of man’s labyrinth of problems is sin. It is universal in scope — deadly in effect — and beyond the cure of any man-made antidote. Many social scientists, educators, psychologists and “religious teachers” disagree. They reject the concept of sin. In so doing, they play the fool — endanger their own eternal souls and those multitudes who in ignorance march to their cadence.
THE ORIGIN OF SIN
God fashioned man from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. From this man, God fashioned a woman to be his companion. Adam and Eve were placed by God in a perfect environment — the Garden of Eden. In that garden everything was provided to sustain them, to occupy their time, and to satisfy them. And best of all, into that garden their Creator would come to commune with them.
This man and woman were of an infinitely higher order than the animals who also dwelt in that paradise garden. This couple was created in the image of God. They possessed a mind that could think God’s thoughts after Him, a heart that could respond to God’s love, and a will with which they could do God’s bidding. They had intellectual capability, emotional capability, and volitional capability. This first couple could think, feel, and act Godward. Here was no mere computer, for the computer can only give out what is programmed into it. It is not responsible for its actions — neither must it give an account for them. But man was fashioned by his Creator with the ability to choose — he possessed the glorious capability of free will.
And so into the midst of that garden paradise, God placed a tree (among many other trees) and forbade Adam and Eve to partake of it.
The issue posed to this couple possessing free will was this: “Adam and Eve, do you understand with your mind? — don’t eat. Do you love Me with your heart? — don’t eat. Will you obey Me with your will? — don’t eat.”
Adam and Eve, tempted by Satan, chose to eat. They disobeyed God and with that disobedience, they brought sin as an operating principle into the world.
This first couple had been fashioned in the image of God (Gen. 1 :26), but when they in turn through physical union had children, their children were born in their own image which was now fallen, marred and ruined (Gen. 5:3).
In the loins of Adam and Eve resided the infectious virus of sin which would be passed on to still unborn generations of humanity.
It is precisely because man is born with a sin nature that he commits sinful deeds. It is accurate to say he is only doing what comes naturally. It may be argued, “Then why blame man for doing what comes natural?” The answer is this, “Man is doing what comes naturally in a fallen state which he brought on himself through disobedience to God.” It may be argued further, “But why blame man? He wasn’t there when Adam and Eve sinned.” Let it be remembered that in the physical realm many diseases, deformities and weaknesses of the body are inherited. (Men may not like it, but that does not alter the fact.) So, too, in the spiritual realm many maladies are inherited including a sin nature, Adam and Eve were together the federal head and official representative of all mankind — what they did, all men did in them and would have done in person had they been there.
Through Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, two inescapable realities occurred. First, sin, as an operative principle, entered the stage of human history. And second, man, born with a sin nature, tends naturally toward committing sinful deeds.
Men don’t like to speak about sin, not in the sophisticated, scientific 20th century— it offends cultured sensitivities. And the tragedy is that if man does not address the sin problem, he can provide no solutions to man’s dilemma, for sin is the root cause of all man’s problems.
THE DEFINITION OF SIN
Sin may be defined as anything that is contrary to the character of God. Or put another way, God is Himself the standard in determining what sm is. To conform to God’s standard is right-ness; not to conform is sin. The closer a man walks to God, the more he knows what God is like and the more conscious he is of his sins. Conversely, the farther a man is removed from God, the less he knows what God is like and the less conscious he will be of his sins.
There are some basic truths to be remembered concerning sin. First, sin is always, first and foremost, committed against God. Sin is directed against man only in a secondary sense. When Joseph was being pressured to commit adultery, he said, “. . . How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9).
Second, sin is equally as wrong if a man doesn’t do something he should do as if he does something he shouldn’t do. For instance, a teenager is told to put out the trash — he doesn’t do it —he is inactive, but he is disobedient and has committed a sin of omission. Sin can be committed by ‘omission’ or ‘commission’.’
Third, sin is either inward (of the soul) or outward (of the body). It is sin to think wrong thoughts as much as it is sin to commit overt acts.
Fourth, sin is universal — all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). The Greek language is emphatic; there are no exceptions. “There is NONE righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10).
Fifth, it is not the amount of sin that separates a man from God and keeps him from Heaven, it is the fact of sin. “Big” sinners and “small” sinners have the same basic problem. A man may be atop a burning building. He may use a board found nearby to try and span his burning building with an adjacent safe building. It would not make a significant difference if the board were one inch short or three feet short. Without a bridge, the man would perish in the flame. All men are in the same boat having fallen short of the requirements of a holy God.
A number of words are used in the Bible to describe various kinds of sin.
TRANSGRESSION is an overstepping of God’s law. The sign on the grass says, “Keep off.’ If a man steps on the grass, he is transgressing. Transgression is doing what a man ought not to do (Ps. 51:1; Lk. 15:29).
INIQUITY is not only disobedience to God’s Word, it is rebellion and hostility toward His person. It is like a teenager who not only rejects parental authority, but openly and defiantly opposes it. Iniquity has to do with acts that are inherently wrong (Isa. 53:5-6; Prov. 22:8).
UNBELIEF is a rejection of divine revelation. God says, “There is none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10). A man says, “I’m righteous.” And at the moment he does, he is committing the sin of unbelief(Jn. 16:9).
SIN literally means missing the mark. A helpful use of the word for sin is found in Judges 20:16, “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.” The word “miss” is the word for sin. These men could sling their stones and not miss the target. The mark, target, standard, or norm which all men must hit with their lives is the eternal perfection of God. But no man has ever come close. The great Apostle Paul put it this way: “. .. all have sinned [missed], and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
THE EFFECTS OF SIN
Little do men today comprehend the the effect of sin on their lives. Through the deadly serpent, sin’s infectious tentacles have reached out to encircle and crush, in the most heinous fashion, the very life’s breath out of man, while all the while subtly whispering in the ear, “Try it, you’ll like it.”
It is sin that separated man from his God. The human race was created to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, to know a bliss and fulfillment throughout endless days. But sin became an impassable gulf between a holy God, who cannot look upon sin, and men who, because they possess a sinful nature, commit sinful deeds.
It is sin that brought physical death into the world. Before sin there was no death. Man’s heart was not growing tired, his hair was not turning grey, his teeth were not decaying, his flesh was not getting old. Aging and death were a result of sin. Because they had sinned, God told Adam and Eve that from the dust of the ground they came and to the dust of the ground they would return (Gen. 3:19).
It is sin that brought famine, war, weed, rust, corruption, pollution, plague, crime, cancer, and a thousand other ills that have plagued man since the fall. Every disturbed mind, every hurting heart, every broken body — the collective tears of the human race can trace their ancestry back at least six thousand years of the sin of Adam and Eve. There should be beating within the breast of every human being a holy hatred of sin. Instead, most men reject sin, ignore sin, ridicule sin, enjoy sin. What insanity!
THE CURE FOR SIN
Despite inflation, the wages of sin remain the same — DEATH! (Rom. 6:23). “God is not a man, that he should lie . . “ (Num. 23:19). He has clearly informed man that “The soul that sinneth, it shall die …”’ (Ezek 18:20). That is the diagnosis of the human race.
But the Great Physician provided a cure. It involved mixing together an infinite quantity of such ingredients as divine love, grace, and mercy to satisfy the infinite demands of divine holiness, justice, and truth.
And so into the world, in the fullness of time, Jesus came. And because He was virgin born, He was not heir to the infectious venom that gave to every son of Adam’s race a sin nature, and which in turn manifested itself in sinful deeds, Jesus was pure, undefiled and holy. And so, in the perfect plan of His Father, He moved unerringly toward Calvary — there to: “. . . taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9); die, “. .. the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God . . .”(1 Pet. 3:18); and become sin for us, He “who knew no sin … that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). At Calvary, the love, mercy, and grace of God satisfied the holyess, justice, and truth of God, and sinful men could be restored to life and communion with their heavenly Father.
And what of our sins? What has happened to them? The inspired prophet wrote, “He will turn again; he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19). Light cannot penetrate the depths of the sea; the deeper, the darker. And God has placed our sins in the depths — where there is no light, where they cannot be seen, where they will be remembered no more.
And the inspired Psalmist said, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). God did not say He removed our sins as far as the north is from the south. And for good reason. The north and the south poles are fixed points; if you go north far enough, you will eventually come south. But there are no fixed points east and west because of the rotation of the earth. East and west are infinitely separated, and they will never meet. That is how far “he removed our transgressions from us.”
And what of Isaiah, the most eloquent of all the prophets? He wrote, “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness, but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (Isa. 38:17) . The phrase, “behind thy back” literally means “behind thy shoulder blades.” The imagery is striking. The one place a man cannot see is between his shoulder blades — it’s impossible. God has placed our sin where He cannot see it.
Our sin has been cast in the depths of the sea, where light cannot penetrate; our sin has been removed as far as the east is from the west, an infinite distance; our sin has been placed between God’s shoulder blades, where He cannot see.
All of this because Jesus Christ spanned the chasm between Heaven and earth, and God and man. He did it through His death on Calvary. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14;6), And because He is the way, the truth, and the life in absolute triumph, we can sing:
My sin – O the bliss of this glorious tho’t — My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!