TITLE: SIN AND FORGIVENESS
Resources to aid your Understanding
Subtitle: "For The Wages Of Sin Is Death......." (Romans 6:23a)
Based on questions frequently asked by readers, it appears that the Bible doctrine of sin is not well understood by many today. Some believers are going through life terrified that they will lose their salvation by falling into sin. While at the other end of the scale, a few think they have a good grasp of the subject, but show their ignorance by insisting it is possible to reach a point of "sinless perfection" in this life. Both extremes are totally wrong, as we hope to show you from God's Word.
The New Testament definition of sin is derived from the Greek word hamartia, which literally means "to miss the mark." We can think of it as any failure to hit God's target--His "bull's eye"--of absolute perfection in thought, word, and deed! He is perfection Personified and His holiness demands it of any and all who would stand in His presence. So where does that leave us? Will anyone be so brazen as to claim they are perfect and do not sin? Beloved, I trust you have more sense than that!
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" 1 John 1:8 (KJV).
Adam and Eve were created perfect in every respect and were apparently given glorified bodies just like the one Jesus Christ occupies today. Clothed in light, they were placed in a paradise on earth called Eden and only one prohibition placed upon them--they were forbidden to eat of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Of course God knew they would disobey and that is why He added a penalty:
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" Genesis 2:17 (KJV, emphasis mine)
The rest, as they say, is history. Eve was deceived by Satan and partook of the "forbidden fruit," thereby plunging herself instantly into spiritual death and beginning the process of dying physically. She committed the first sin by a human and Adam soon followed (Satan, not man, was the originator of sin because of his rebellion against God, Ezek.28:15). Interestingly enough, the Bible tells us that Adam was not deceived and sinned willfully (1 Tim.2:14). I believe that he loved Eve and joined her in disobedience to avoid separation. But regardless of the specific reasons behind their sin, they immediately discovered themselves to be fallen creatures--naked mortals with an entirely different perspective on life. From perfection they had descended into total depravity wherein every aspect of their being was tainted by sin. This monumental change is evidenced by their attempt to cover nakedness with fig leaves and hiding from God (Gen3:7-8). Sinful man has been trying to hide from God ever since!
The fact of human depravity is summed up by the Apostle Paul in the following verses:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" Romans 3:10-12 (KJV, emphasis mine)
And for those who wish to know what the Word of God has to say on the subject, here is a list of verses:
DEPRAVITY OF MAN
Genesis 6:5-7; Genesis 6:11-13; Genesis 8:21; Deut. 32:10; 2 Chron. 6:36; Job 4:17-19; Job 9:2-3; Job 9:20; Job 9:29-31; Job 11:12; Job 14:4; Job 15:14-16; Job 25:4-6; Psalm 5:9; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 53:1-3; Psalm 58:1-5; Psalm 94:11; Psalm 130:3; Psalm 143:2; Proverbs 10:20; Proverbs 20:6; Proverbs 20:9; Proverbs 21:8; Eccles. 7:20; Eccles. 7:29; Eccles. 8:11; Eccles. 9:3; Isaiah 1:5-6; Isaiah 42:6-7; Isaiah 43:8; Isaiah 48:8; Isaiah 51:1; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 2:22; Jeremiah 2:29; Jeremiah 6:7; Jeremiah 13:23; Jeremiah 16:12; Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 16:6; Ezekiel 36:25-26; Ezekiel 37:1-3; Hosea 6:7; Hosea 14:9; Micah 7:2-4; Matthew 7:17; Matthew 12:34-35; Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21-23; Luke 1:79; John 1:10-11; John 3:19; John 8:23; John 14:17; Acts 8:23; Romans 2:1; Romans 3:9-19; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:6; Romans 5:12-14; Romans 6:6; Romans 6:17; Romans 6:19-20; Romans 7:5; Romans 7:11; Romans 7:13-15; Romans 7:18-21; Romans 7:23; Romans 7:25; Romans 8:5-8; Romans 8:13; Romans 11:32; 1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 3:3; 1 Cor. 5:9-10; 2 Cor. 3:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:14; Galatians 3:10-11; Galatians 3:22; Galatians 5:17; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephes. 2:1-3; Ephes. 2:11-12; Ephes. 4:17-19; Ephes. 4:22; Ephes. 5:8; Ephes. 5:14; Col. 1:13; Col. 1:21; Col. 2:13; Col. 3:5; Col. 3:7; 2 Tim. 2:26; Titus 3:3; James 3:2; James 4:5; 1 Peter 1:18; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 1:10; 1 John 2:16; 1 John 3:10; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 3:17
So we find that man, in the unregenerate state, is as bad off spiritually as is possible! He is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1), a slave of Satan (Eph.2:2), cannot understand that which is spiritually discerned--the Bible! (1 Cor.2:14), and will not seek after God (Rom.3:11). If he is to be saved, God must take the initiative--just like He did in the Garden of Eden when He sought out Adam and Eve.
But let us move on to discuss sin as it pertains to the Christian life. Does regeneration remove sinfulness from the human heart? Oh how I wish that were true, but it does not! Our position of being "in Christ" and justified before God means that our total sin debt (past, present, and future) is cancelled and we are declared to be completely innocent in His sight.. But this is speaking of our position in Christ, not of our practical condition--not of the harsh reality of daily life. Our standing as a child of God is forever settled in heaven, but our daily state varies in direct proportion to the degree of cooperation we exhibit toward the Holy Spirit's leadership. Once we are regenerated spiritually, the life-long process of sanctification begins. To be sanctified, or holy, means to be set apart for God's service and it does not come about overnight. To be sure, there will be a great change in one's life after being converted and receiving the Holy Spirit--but true holiness and perfection in this life is the unattainable goal for which we must strive. Christ is our standard and we are exhorted to imitate Him, but surely we understand that actually achieving His divine perfection is impossible this side of heaven. We are not and cannot be sinless in actual point of fact (even though God views us as being so, positionally), so we must strain with every fiber of our being to "press toward the mark (the finish line) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil.3:14), as did the Apostle Paul. Heavenly reward and not salvation is the "prize" for which we must exert ourselves during our walk with the Lord on this earth.
But some sincere souls insist that the Bible teaches the possibility of reaching a state of sinless perfection, based largely on the Apostle John's words of 1 John chapter three:
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" 1 John 3:9 (KJV).
However, this cannot possibly mean that a Christian does not sin! And to back it up, I call our attention to what John says in verse 8 of chapter 1 (quoted earlier)--how that "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves...." Some may try to claim that John was writing to unbelievers, but that will not wash because the entire epistle of First John was written to believers--"little children"--as we see stated in verse 1 of chapter two. Verse 4 of chapter one says "these things write we unto you...."--referring to the believers, or "little children," as John affectionately refers to them later. This position is verified by W.E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, page 211, under the heading of "Commit, Commission", #2 Poieo, "Note: In 1 John 3:4, 8, 9, the A.V. wrongly has "commit" (an impossible meaning in ver. 8); the R.V. rightly has "doeth," i.e., of a continuous habit, equivalent to prasso, to practice. The committal of an act is not in view in that passage."
A closer inspection of chapter three and verse 9 in the Amplified Bible reveals what John is saying:
"No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately and knowingly] habitually practices sin, for God's nature abides in him--His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him--and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God" 1 John 3:9 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).
This principle is validated by Paul's own experience, that we find in Romans chapter 7:
" We know that the law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh (carnal, unspiritual), having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.  For I do not understand my own actions--I am baffled, bewildered. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].  Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it.  However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. [18} For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it.--I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out;  For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing.  Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it--it is not myself that acts--but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul].  So I find it to be a law [of my being] that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.  For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self--with my new nature.  But I discern in my bodily members--in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh--a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs--in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh.  O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?  O thank God! He will! through Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, our Lord! So then indeed I of myself with the mind and heart serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin" Romans 7:14-25 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
Is not this lament by the Apostle Paul true in your own life? It certainly is in mine! I am a born-again believer, washed in the blood of the Lamb and the Holy Spirit assures me that I am one of God's children--but I still experience the reality of sin daily! When I was born again I received a new nature, a spiritual nature--but my flesh, the sinful depraved nature I inherited from Adam, was not destroyed. Quite the contrary, it is still very much alive and rears its ugly head continually! Through prayer and help from the Holy Spirit I now can (and hopefully do) sin much less than I did prior to receiving Christ, but perfection? Give me a break!!!! And for those who still insist it is possible, let me point out that there are not only sins we commit, but sins of omission--things we should have done, but did not. God's standard of perfection and His will for our lives includes many aspects about which we must pray for guidance. Is it even remotely conceivable to you that we are likely to discern each and every one--then carry them out to the letter? Failure to perceive and do our duty is sin--the sin of omission. Oh, my friends, can you not see that we are sinners, both by nature and by practice? The Holy Spirit, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, "nails all of us to the barn door" in the following statement:
"For we have all become as one who is unclean [ceremonially, as a leper], and all our righteousnesses--our best deeds of rightness and justice--are as filthy rags or a polluted garment. We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God's favor, hurrying us to destruction]" Isaiah 64:6 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
God desires that His children recognize the exceeding sinfulness of our sin and in so doing, also acknowledge the stupendous magnitude of His grace which has forgiven it. Positionally we are justified in His sight and our standing absolutely perfect in every respect--an eternal home in heaven guaranteed. But the degree of reward received once we get there will be determined by how well we battle the world, the flesh, and the devil on this side of glory (1 Corinthians 3:8-15).
Take sin lightly because it is forgiven? Unthinkable in any case, but bear in mind sin is only forgiven with respect to our eternal destiny. Each and every sin we commit as God's children is inescapable because He knows every minute detail and will, without fail, punish us accordingly. When we were young, all of us occasionally eluded punishment by our earthly parents because they were not aware of the infraction, but such is never the case with God! Those whom He loves can count on being caught and properly disciplined (Numbers 32:23 and Hebrews 12:6). So if you are truly a child of God, please stop being terrified of losing your salvation and transfer that dread to the possibility of punishment by your loving heavenly Father! Striving to be good will not buy you diddly with regard to salvation, but it will help in averting God's hand of chastening. Years ago, people would refer to Christians as being "God-fearing men/women" and all of us need to understand the basis for the expression. I feared my dad, because if mother "told on me" my backside was definitely in danger! That type of fear is needful and wholesome--tending to keep us on "the strait and narrow" (Matthew 7:14).
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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