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Sunday, June 7, 2015 am                            Perfection 2015 Index

 

GOING ON TO PERFECTION (19)
The Christian and Sin

 

Throughout this year, we have addressed various attitudes that formulate the mindset of a Christian.  We have also noted what it means to be a Christian by examining various descriptions we find in the New Testament.  It is now time to begin making some practical applications. 

As Christians, at the very foundation of our faith ought to be a desire to please God.  We please God by not sinning.  Therefore it ought to be our desire to learn everything we can about sin so that we can overcome it. So this month we are going to address the subject of sin.  Today we will define what sin is and notice its consequences.  Next week we will talk about temptation.  Then we will address repentance and overcoming sin.  Finally we will discuss the conscience and discerning between good and evil.

 I.                    What is sin?

a.        In our society, sin is a challenge to define.  Not because we do not have a definition, but because of the refusal to see sin for what it really is.  Far too often today, man has sought to redefine sin.  They rename various sins to make them seem less offensive, they attribute them to illnesses and conditions, they legalize and legitimize it, and they reinterpret what the Bible says about sin, including villainizing those who condemn sinful behavior, just to name a few ways. 
Man has also mocked at sin, trivialized it, and even glorified it. 
Beyond that, man has also redefined the consequences of sin. 
But all of this does NOT change what the Bible says about sin.

b.       Defined –The word for sin in the New Testament (μαρτία, hamartia) is defined as, “a departure from either human or divine standards of uprightness.” (BDAG)
Louw & Nida defines it as, “to act contrary to the will and law of God.” (L&N, 88.289)
Vines defines the term as, “a missing of the mark.”  It is an archery term which gives us a good idea of the term.  Imagine shooting arrows at a target.  If you overshoot it or undershoot it, or veer to the right or the left, you have missed the mark.    Similarly, many sin by going beyond its boundaries and doing what it forbids, others fall short by failing to do what is commanded, still others veer away the truth of God’s word, some adding to it and others taking away from it.  In all cases we have sin.

c.        1 John 3:4, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.  The Bible plainly defines the word as to act without law (authority).
One observation about sin that we find in this text is that is does not put degrees upon sin.  Man has a tendency to think some sins are worse than others, but in the Bible there is no real distinction.  If you break God’s laws you have sinned.
The very first sin, Genesis 3, was simply eating a piece of forbidden fruit.  A presumptuous statement kept Moses out of the land of Canaan.  False fire caused Nadab and Abihu to be burned to death.  Uzziah died for simply touching the Ark of the Covenant. Ananias and Saphira were struck dead for a lie.  In each of these instances, what we might call a minor infraction, resulted in severe consequences.  God does not view sin in degrees.  
James 2:10 tells us that whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point is guilty of the whole law. 

d.       Sin is a universal problem.   It spans all times of history and social barriers.
In scripture we find this to be all who are of accountable age have sinned.  The only exception to that is Jesus.  Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned.  This is the conclusion of Paul describing both Jews and Gentiles as under sin. 
1 John 1:8-10 tells us that if we deny that we are sinners we deceive ourselves, even to lying. 

e.       There are 3 types of sin –
1) commission - 1 John 3:4, 1 John 5:17 – all unrighteousness is sin.
2) omission, (James 4:17)
3) sins of conscience – acting with doubt (Romans 14:23)

f.         In the Bible sin is described as darkness – John 3:19-20, like a cancer (2 Tim. 2:17), and that which enslaves us (Rom. 6:17-20)

g.        Sin is so terrible it required the blood of Jesus to achieve forgiveness.  The story of the Bible is one of redemption.  It begins with the fall of man in Genesis 3.  Following that, a plan is announced to deal with sin (Gen. 3:15).   The pages of scripture show the development, fulfilment and implementation of that plan.   It is an incredible account within itself.   We sometimes call it, “the scheme of redemption.”

h.       We must be careful to not view sin as man does.  We need to view it from God’s perspective in His word.  Until we fully understand sin, we will not fully deal with it (both in attitude and action)

 II.                  The consequences of sin

a.        National consequences – Prov. 14:34,   Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.   Often sins contribute to the downfall of a nation.  As nations become more and more ungodly, their demise becomes more likely.

b.       Societal consequences – similar to national consequences.  Where there is sin within a society, there will be all sorts of ungodly problems – higher crime, selfishness, immoral behaviors, broken families, etc.  Often, as society grows worse, its leaders grow equally corrupt. “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11, NKJV)

c.        Physical consequences – often times there are physical consequences to sin.  Ungodly attitudes often result in unhealthy behaviors and increased physical and mental problems.  Many sins carry actual consequences as well.  AND, lest we forget, physical death is a consequence of sin – Gen. 3:17-19, Romans 5:12 – death spread to all men because of sin in the world. 
Furthermore, sin can enslave us – Romans 6:12,  tells us to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies. Rom. 6:16  warns of being enslaved to sin

d.       Mental consequences – sin often results in mental misery.  How many mental attitudes such as hatred, bitterness, jealousy, resentment, anger, etc. are elevated because of ungodly behavior and at times become the ungodly behavior themselves. 
When our conscience is working properly, we WILL feel guilty as we sin until we take care of it (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 – godly sorrow produces repentance, Heb. 10:22 – having a pure conscience).   NOTE: The conscience can be damaged – 1 Tim. 4:2, 1 Tim. 1:19 – rejected, 1 Cor. 8:7

e.       Spiritual consequences – ultimately, sin puts us at enmity with God and brings about spiritual death (separation).   Isaiah 59:1-2 speaks of our iniquities separating us from our God. 
In Genesis 3:23-24, after the sin of Adam and Even they were driven out of the garden and from the presence of God.
It can also affect our spiritual relationship with our brethren (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:3-5)
It affects our fellowship with God – 1 John 1:6-7.

f.         Eternal consequences

                                                   i.      Death – Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death.  IF not addressed in this life, the result will be eternal death.  

                                                  ii.      In numerous lists of sins we are told the consequence is we will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Galatians 5:21 – those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God  That means we will be eternally lost and face the wrath of God.  Matt. 25:46, 2 Thess. 1:8-9, etc.

g.        Sin will always… take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay

 III.                The solution for sin

a.        God sent Jesus to die for our sins – John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8. Ephesians 2:8 – God “by grace” saved us – that is He did His part (c. 2:1-10).

b.       We must be forgiven – that means we must come in contact with His blood.  1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.
If you have never obeyed, become a Christian – Acts 22:16, 2:38.
If as a Christian, you become unfaithful or sin against God – take care of it – 1 John 1:9

c.        We must put to death the man of sin – Not only have we been forgiven of our sins, we have been freed from our sins.  We don’t have to live in sin anymore.  We can choose to stop sinning and we must!  Romans 6:7-14  – it no longer has dominion over us.
Gal. 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ…,
Col. 3:9-10 –we have put to death the old man with his deeds.
We need to adequately understand repentance (a study later this month)

d.       Realize we do NOT have to sin!  1 John 3:4-9 also emphasizes this.  As Christians we are told we CANNOT sin!
1 Cor. 10:13 is a strong verse that tells us sin is always a choice.  Yes there are times obedience is difficult or comes with a strong price, but NEVER do we HAVE TO sin! 
James 4:7 tells us to submit to God and to resist the devil and he will flee from you. (cf. 1 Peter 5:8-9)

 

And thus we have an introduction to sin.  As Christians, if we are to go on to perfection we MUST deal with the problem of sin.  It is here and it will not go away.  But we can keep it out of our lives if we have the mindset to do so.  What is your attitude toward sin?