What is Sin?
aymon de albatrus
Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:— (Romans 5:12)
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1Jo 3:4)
What is Sin
Rom 5:12 teaches clearly that "Sin" is the result of the action of a single man, Adam. Even if it was Eve that committed the first sin and that she was the catalyst that plunged the human race in this valley of tears, Paolo tells us that all humans have sinned for we all were in Adam when he sinned the Original sin and we all have inherited, both the due for his sin and a sinful nature, for all human beings were in the loins of Adam and are derived by him. Adam was the federal head of the human race.
We need to understand and accept that there was a literal first man in the history of man, that there was a literal Garden, that man ate a literal forbidden fruit that was given to him by a literal woman that was tempted by a literal serpent and that there was a literal rebellion to God's command.
The fundamental meaning of sin is: "rebellion against God and against His Word". The Doctrine of Sin is dependent on the Book of "Beginnings" i.e. Genesis being literally true in history. If Genesis' chapters 1-11 are not true, then there is no basis to determine the meaning of sin. The only way we know that sin is rebellion against the absolute authority of God and against His Word is for the literal rebellion of Adam to God's will, in Gen 1-11.
Without Adam, without the original sin, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross would not be needed. That is why throughout history there has always been ferocious attacks to discredit these chapters in Genesis as not real but just a fairy tale, for in so doing they would have done away with sin. The sad thing is that many churches today do not teach or believe the Garden report is true, thus mortally undermining Christianity.
Sin is missing conformity and transgression to the Law of God. It is the internal state of the soul, that manifests itself externally in the conduction of one's own life: 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13 neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:12-13)
Sin is not only violation of the Law, nor of the system as things are, but, above all, it is a personal offence against the almighty God who is the governor of All, that vindicates His Law with the penalties prescribed by Himself.
We see that when king David was confronted by the prophet Nathan for having committed adultery with Bath Sheba, he recognized his sin against God and against God alone: Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:4)
ALL sins are against God, for they all are offence against His propriety, against His Law, and against Himself, the Creator and Sustainer of all in all. For He says: Vengeance is mine, and recompense, ....... (Deuteronomy 32:35) and again: Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19) ). This means that who makes his own revenge is a rebel against God and sins against Him, for we are not our own but His and thus any offence against us is really against Him.
The soul that sins is always conscious that sin is:
Substantially despicable and polluting, and
Justly deserving punishment and deserving the wrath of God.
Therefore sin brings about two inalienable natures:
Guilt (offence), and
In the Roman Catholic circles it is proclaimed that Mary was born without sin (immaculate) but this cannot be for she was born from the seed of common mortal, descendant of Adams, thus as we saw above, corrupted by the Original sin. Besides herself claimed the need of a Saviour: 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (Luke 1:46-47) Had she been "immaculate", without sin, she would not have had a need of a Saviour.
Instead Jesus was generated by un uncorrupted seed coming directly from God through His Spirit.
Interesting thing, discovered recently, is that the fetus generates his own blood. This means that there is no sharing of blood between mother and son, and life is in the blood. For the life of the flesh is in the blood;.... (Leviticus 17:11)
The moral character of man's actions determines the moral state of his heart and the disposition to sin, is sin in itself. 14 but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)
From whence sin comes from?
Sin is a mystery for us and will always be so. The reason God has included sin in His creation is a thing He has not revealed and has given no answer to us on the matter. The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29) and if someone complains about this, this is the answer: Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:20). God has every rights to answer like this for it was Him that created All things and it is Him that keeps them alive.
Moreover He says: See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)
We may consider that famous phrase that has received ad-nausea attention from all types of theologians, small and big: "God is not the author of sin". Personally I have never had problems with this, for to me it is sufficient to know that sin is the transgression of the Law that God has imposed on men and that the Law is for men, not for Himself. It is man that commits sin against God not recognizing who He is and going against His commands. How can God be the author of sin when sin is an insult against Him? Would God insult Himself? Impossible. The only thing we can say is that in some way God wanted the presence of sin in His creation for His purposes. We must accept that it is so, other ways, the alternative is that sin entered into God's creation from the outside and against His will, and this would make of Him not the almighty God, in other words God would not be God for He would not have had full control of His creation. Which one would you have?
I think of myself as a rational thinker and when I consider that:
God has created All that has been created from nothing, for His pleasure,
God keeps in existence All that has been created and if He would say. "I am fed up with all this" All creation would return to nothingness from whence it came from,
God is omnipotent and can do all He wants, and nobody can stop Him,
God is omniscient and sees All: Past, Present and Future as a big NOW, therefore His pronouncements cannot change: For I am the LORD, I change not; ..... (Malachi 3:6 AV)
my logical conclusion to all this is that ONLY what God wants CAN exist, including SIN. Thus, cavilling on the phrase "God is not the author of sin" is waste of time and useless as Paul says: But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. (Titus 3:9 )
Nevertheless let us read this interesting passage: 19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (1 Kings 22:19-23)
God sent a demon to lie to the "prophets" of the king of Israel.
The sin of Adam (Gen 3:1-6) consisted in giving in to the assault of temptation, through Eve, and in actually eating the forbidden fruit, consisting of:
Sin of incredulity making God a liar, and,
Guilt of disobedience to a positive command.
For this sin (disobedience) he became apostate of God, a rebel in arms against his Creator and lost the favour of God an communion with his Maker. His nature became depraved and received the prescribed penalty for breaking the covenant of works that God had imposed.
What sends sinners to Hell is not so much sins committed against others or oneself, but above all the sins of incredulity toward Jesus: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
The Original Sin
Adam was constituted by God as the Federal head of the human race and representative of all his posterity as the natural head, thus when he fell, the whole human race fell with him in sin: 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: .......... (Romans 5:12-21) His fall became our fall, his condemnation became the condemnation of his posterity. Due to the first sin of Adam every human has come into this world in a state of sin and of condemnation.
In a state of moral corruption, and
In fault, being imputed to them the guilt of the first sin of Adam.
The Original Sin denotes the total moral corruption inherited by all men from Adam, consisting in:
Loss of the original rectitude, and
Incessant inclination to do evil, which is the root and origin of every sin: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
This wickedness influences and depraves the whole man and the tendency is to go from bad to worse in corruption. It is total depravity that all humans being have inherited from Adam: 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 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)
The unpardonable sin.
No Christian can commit the unpardonable sin, for the triune God (the Father that called, the Son that paid the price and the Spirit applies) will bring the Christian to full salvation in Jesus Christ: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)
Reference to the unpardonable sin is found in: 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Matthew 12:31-32) (Mark 3:22-30)
It is clear that the unpardonable sin is to reject Christ permanently: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18 AV) (John 3:36)
Therefore, speaking against the Holy Spirit is equivalent to reject Christ with such finality that a future repentance to God is impossible. In this context we see that Jesus had made many miracles, even expelling demons, but the Pharisee rejected this clear testimony by the Holy Ghost, instead they attributed the power of Jesus to Satan, thus demonstrating an attitude of permanent resistance to the Spirit and to the deity and salvation of Christ.
If anyone is worried of having committed the unpardonable sin, relax, for it is surely a sign that it is not so, for otherwise one would not be concerned at all, having his conscience seared.
When is sin, not sin.
We have explained that sin is transgression of the Law that God has given to man, which is in essence offence against God. The Law is summarised by the 10 Commandments and their derivatives and that the Law is good: Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (Romans 7:12) Well, then, when is the "breaking of the Law", not sin? When God commands to do so.
Even this has been a source of ferocious discussions during the centuries. The unbelievers, especially, level accusations that God is a bloody God and incoherent for He commands his people to kill, as in the conquest of Canaan. But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: (Deuteronomy 20:16) when considering that He had just given them the law to not kill.
Another typical example is the command He had given to king Saul: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:3)
Here God commands Saul to destroy ALL the Amalekites, including women and babies. Surely, at first sight, and from a "democratic" point of view it would seem impossible that the God of Love would command a horrible thing like that. Moreover, He is asking his people to break the Law He gave to them. It looks like incoherence. But, just a minute, here we need understanding and revelation. Who has given the law? God, and thus He may do what He wants with it. To whom was the Law imposed? To men, and they cannot break it, but God can for the Law is not applicable to Him. The whole universe is God's garden and He can do what He wants with His own, but the keepers of the garden can only do what is commanded of them.
This is then the situation:
The whole creation was created by God,
The whole creation is kept alive by God,
Therefore, God as the legal owner of All creation, can dispose of it as He wants: Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? ..... (Matthew 20:15)
It is clear that it is not permitted to men to break the Law that God has imposed on them, but God can command men to act contrary to the Law he gave to man, at His pleasure, for He is the rightful owner of everything, including mankind and the Law. The law is for man, not for God. This is not sin because in this case man acts upon His command. If man had acted on his own in killing, that would have been a sin, i.e. destroying God's property without permission to do so, but having God ordered him to kill, i. e. His own property, that would not be sin, for sin is acting against God's will.
Let us see how king Saul responded when Samuel told him that he had sinned in not having killed all the Amalekites as God commanded him: And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. (1 Samuel 15:24) and what Samuel responded to that: And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. (1 Samuel 15:26) King Saul cared more for the people's opinion than for God's commands and acted on his own accord, not God's order, and for that he lost everything, including his own life.
Can we stop sinning.
In this life it is impossible, as Augustine said: "I cannot not sin". If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8) Even Paul laments this situation in Romans 7.
As we have seen, sin is not so much the evil done to someone in any way, but rather, essentially disobeying what God commands. In offending Him we do not recognise His Holy Person and who He is, the God of everything that as absolute power over the whole creation.
To avoid the idea of sin, men have invented for themselves many evil systems:
The Pelagians negate the original sin and declares that man is morally and and spiritually sound,
The Semi-Pelagians, modern and liberal churches, consider man only morally sick and can go to Jesus to be cured, by his own will,
In the Secular we have the democratic system that avoids the whole idea of sin by negating God altogether, thus negating the Law and exalting man. In a system where God and His Word are negated it is presumed that sin does not exist but no amount denying would do away with God, for God IS. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)
Examples of man's concoctions:
a) Renaissance where art was placed at the centre of human existence ,
b) The French Revolution, a satanic system which gave birth of Illuminism and of modern Democracy,
c) Democracy where the "rights" of man is all that matters, and God is denied,
But the truth is that man is spiritually dead as Scripture attest: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (Ephesians 2:1) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)
The reality is then that we "cannot not sin", but, thanks to God, we can implore the Lord that He would place in our hearts the fear of God and the desire to submit in all humility to His commandments and to stop offending His thrice Holy Person. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
The whole human generation comes from Adam. We all were in Adam when he sinned, we all sinned in him for he was reputed by God as the Federal Head of the human race. We have inherited from him the due for his sin and a perverse nature inclined to sin continually.
Sin is transgression of the Law that God has imposed on us. Sin is then offense against God in not recognising who HE is and our position in front Him. The Law is not evil, but good and was given for our benefit: And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. (Exodus 20:20)
Every one, none excluded, has sinned and there is no one that seeks God on his own, to do that the Lord must first grant a new heart: 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
We can also sin in seeking our own vengeance for sins against us for we presume to take the place of God forgetting that both us and those that hurt us are always His propriety: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
No true Christian can commit the unpardonable sin for the Spirit of God watches over him,
There are "sins" that are not sin because commanded of the Lord
The only hope we have for not sinning anymore is to throw ourselves in the arms of Jesus and if we sin, and we do sin, He is our Intercessor in Heaven that intercedes for us continually: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Yes, Lord Jesus, come, come soon, Amen