Born A Slave To Sin – The Nature Of Sin
Born A Slave To Sin
The Nature of Sin
We will consider five different views concerning sin: The modern view of sin, the Biblical view of sin, the scriptural statement of sin, the theological definition of sin, and the summary of scripture concerning sin.
The Modern View of Sin
Society Calls Sin Indiscretion
(Individual freedom of decision or choice)
Here I must once again express the fact that freedom of decision or choice has nothing to do with the nature of sin. Of course, one makes the decision to commit, or not to commit, certain sins. But the fact remains we are all a sinner by nature and not by choice. We did not choose to be a sinner; we were born with a sinful nature. We don’t become a sinner because we sin, we sin because we are a sinner, and we will continue to sin until our nature is changed, and that takes place at the new birth, when we are saved.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
Scholars Label Sin as Ignorance
(Lacking in knowledge, uninformed, untaught, unenlightened). In other words… “I did not know it was wrong.” Let me ask you a question. How much knowledge, education, or information does one need to know stealing, cursing, committing adultery, smoking dope, drinking booze, and the like is sin? When every person born with a capable mind reaches the age of accountability he knows what is right and what is wrong without doing a study course in the matter.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).
At this point I must add that the Christian comes to the knowledge of godly living through the study of God’s Word. After we are saved we grow in grace. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (II Peter 3:18a). Before we are saved, we are not ignorant (without knowledge) of the fact of sin.
Evolutionists Say Sin is the Trait of the Beast
Do men beat their wives because their cavemen ancestors did? Does man kill because he inherited the killer instinct from the beast he evolved from billions of years ago? No, No, No, God created man with a mind to choose, and in the Garden of Eden, Adam chose to disobey God and he became a sinner. Therefore, as offspring of Adam we all have a sinful nature. “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Fleshly Men Excuse sin as an Amiable Weakness
(One’s way of acting, having a friendly, sociable, and congenial disposition)
Parents excuse the sins of their children by saying, “They are just being sociable. They want to be popular, part of the gang, a little dope, a little booze, and a little sex. It is the popular thing.” Adults excuse their sins for the same reasons. Following the worldly crowd has sent many young people and adults alike to hell.
Sin is not an amiable weakness and to excuse it as such is a gross mistake that can only lead to misery, heartache, sorrow and broken homes. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:17).
The New Theologians Declare Sin is Merely Selfishness
Selfishness is an attribute of our fallen nature. Little children are selfish before they realize they are a sinner. Adults become selfish through greed, which in itself is sin. I know people who don’t have a selfish bone in their body but they are still a sinner doing the same things, going to the same places, saying the same things, and acting the same way as other sinners. We are a sinner by nature.
Christian Scientists Teach Sin is the Absence From Good
Call it, label it, excuse it as you will, but sin is sin and will never be anything else. The heart of all men is prideful and darkened by sin.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
It is not often that people will admit they have a wicked heart, but to be free from the guilt of sin, people must take a close look at themselves as David did in Psalms 51:10 and cry out to God “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” David realized his heart was dirty and wicked and he had a desire for a clean heart.
Most folk look upon themselves as being pretty good. They are honest, hard working, pay their debts and supply a good home for their family. “Why, I am a pretty good man.” Most wives and mothers feel the same. They go to church, give to the March of Dimes and belong to the PTA. “How could a person like me have a wicked heart?” Simple, you were born with it.
Humanism is sweeping our country and the world is telling people, especially our young people, if it feels good, go for it. But on the authority of God’s Word, let me state this fact to you; it’s not what feels good that counts, it’s what God says.
Until one is willing to face up to the fact of sin and cry out “Lord Jesus, be merciful to me a sinner,” he will continue to excuse his sin by calling it something else and will never know the joy and peace that follows confessing our sins and receiving God’s forgiveness.
The Biblical View of Sin
Sin is Missing the Mark
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Did you see that? “All have sinned.” Yes, dear reader, that includes you. Every person has missed the mark. God set a standard and because of our sin nature no one has been able to live up to that standard. You may have been born into a loving Christian home and sat in church all your life. You may have been raised by the golden rule and did your best to live it to the letter, but we are a fallen people. We were born in sin, we had no choice about it, for it began with Adam’s disobedience and has been passed on to every person. We try as hard as possible to live up to a standard, we want to do right, we want to so badly and we press toward it. But sin is ever present and we continue to miss the mark.
Our sinful nature has left us below the standard God intended for us. The only way we can reach that mark is through the blood of Christ that was shed on Calvary’s cross nearly two thousand years ago.
Sin is Transgression
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).
Here it is pointed out that we sin when we violate the laws of God. Now, we must understand what the laws of God mean. We are now living in the dispensation of grace, which began at Calvary, with the death of Christ. We are living under the new covenant. The Old Testament ceremonial laws of Moses are no longer in force. They were for the Jews that lived during the dispensation of law. The moral laws of the Old Testament are still in effect. But today, we get our rule for life from the New Testament. And the New Testament is full of commands, and for the Christian to violate these commands is to sin.
Sin is Rebellion Against God
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me” (Isaiah 1:2).
To rebel is to oppose, or disobey one in authority or in control. God is the authority and to oppose or disobey Him is rebellion and therefore, sin.
Some have the idea that rebellion is some outlandish revolt that drives one away from home and into the pigpens of the world. But rebellion is not always associated with going wild and becoming a stringy haired, dope smoking, pill popping, and needle crazy hippy. I must agree that that life style is one of rebellion, but a person can rebel against God without ever changing his appearance or vocabulary. Rebellion begins in the heart and may remain there with very little outward emotions.
I have seen Christians become bitter and rebel against all that is Holy and do it under an outward cover that let’s very few ever know the truth. But no one can be happy with the sin of rebellion hidden in his heart. Rebellion manifests itself in other ways as well.
When a child of God knows a matter is wrong and follows the desires of the flesh and commits that wrong, then he is rebelling. He did it knowing it was wrong. That’s sinning against revealed light and if that person is saved, he must repent quickly or the chastisement of God will be upon him. On the other hand when a child of God knows something is right and he should act upon it, but procrastinates and does nothing, he also is in rebellion. In his heart he is saying to God, “It doesn’t matter if you do want me to do it, I will not.” That is rebellion and sin. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Sin is Disobedience
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).
Those who sin through disobedience to God may get away with it for a while but listen as God speaks.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).
God is love but He is also a God of wrath, and sooner or later, He will judge the disobedient.
“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).
If you have received Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord you already have everlasting life. Your body may go by the way of the grave, but when you breathe your last breath here, immediately you will breathe your next breath in the presence of God. If you have never believed and trusted Christ for your salvation, you are already, presently, under the wrath of God.
“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).
Sin is a Deviation from God’s Requirements
“That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25). Judas, one of Christ’s apostles, deliberately deviated from the requirement of repentance. Therefore, he died and went to hell. To know the requirements of God and deviate from them is sin, and will not be overlooked by the all seeing eye of God. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
Sin will not be excused, as ignorance; to claim, “I did not know,” is not sufficient. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
God has given us the Bible, His Word, and He holds every Christian responsible to search it and to know the will of God for our lives.
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
Opinions, whether mine or someone else’s, may lead a person down the wrong road, but the Word of God is a settled document. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89).
We may change, but our Lord will never change. He is always the same. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Sin is a Debt
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
Sin is a debt too great for any man to pay. All the good works one can ever do will never pay for sin. But Jesus Christ paid our sin debt in full at Calvary. Have you received that debt free gift?
Sin is Unbelief
“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).
It is the sin of unbelief that separates mankind from God. It is the sin of unbelief that condemns man. It is the sin of unbelief that sends souls to hell.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
It is a sin to disbelieve or doubt God. The request that God answers is the request that is made in faith. But doubt and disbelief cancels our prayer request.
Sin is Impiety, or Ungodliness
Every act we perform is either Godly or it is ungodly. There is no neutral ground in God’s service. We are either for Him or we are against Him.
“He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” [Jesus is speaking] (Luke 11:23).
There is no need to be confused over whether it is right or wrong. God’s Word is very clear on rights, wrongs, do’s and don’ts for the Christian. As a rule of thumb one can judge by asking himself two questions:
Would Jesus do it?
If the answer is no, then the Christian should abstain from it.
I have had Christians to ask me if smoking cigarettes, social drinking and the like is sin. The best answer I can give is to answer with another question. Would Jesus puff on a cigarette and blow smoke in someone’s face? Or drink liquor, the brew that destroys thousands of lives each year? The answer is always, NO! Then why do you do it dear Christian friend?
Many other questions of like manner have been asked and can be answered likewise. Would Jesus do it? Don’t forget that God is omniscient. He knows everything that happens in our lives. God lives in every born again believer as the person of the Holy Spirit. Whatever we do He sees. Wherever we go, we take Him with us. Whatever we say, He hears and whatever we think, He already knows it. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3).
The Lord Jesus left us an example of life to follow and we should desire to be like Him. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21).
Will it bring glory and honor to Christ?
If one cannot ask God’s blessings on a matter then again the Christian should not have anything to do with it, whether a matter large or small, our desire should be to give honor to God in all things.
As a Christian I could never go to rock music concerts, where the devil is exalted and the name of Christ is profaned and then ask God’s blessing on it. I could never go to an adult theater where vulgarity, nudity and profanity are commonplace and ask God’s blessing on it. I could never go to the bars, nightclubs and dives of this world and expect God to be honored. I could never get off my knees in prayer and walk out on the dance floor and rub all over another man’s wife and ask God to bless us while we dance.
An old time country preacher once said it so well when he exclaimed, “God never put dancing feet and praying knees on the same legs.” God expects His children to have a life style that will bring glory and honor to Christ.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).
From these verses we should see very clearly that sin is ungodliness and our Heavenly Father will not over look it.
Will the Christian who sins go to hell? No, if he is saved by God’s grace, he will not go to hell. But if he does not live a life pleasing to God, he will lose precious rewards and in heaven he will have no crowns to lay at Jesus’ feet in thanksgiving for his salvation. Oh, what a tragedy to go to heaven empty handed.
At this point many will disagree but please, read on. This is Bible doctrine that our body, our flesh, is not redeemed yet. But one day it will be, when Jesus comes and gives us new bodies like unto His. Until then, we are subject to sin. Sin breaks our fellowship with God, hinders our prayers and brings chastisement, but it does not destroy our son-ship. We are still God’s children and He still loves us. He will not cast us away if we sin, but He will chastise us.
The professing Christian who lives in sin and never suffers chastisement is simply not saved. He has never known the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour and God the Holy Spirit does not control him, because he is not one of His.
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:8).
Many confess Christ and call themselves Christians while they daily practice sin. They never suffer chastisement and seem to prosper in all they do. People look at their lives and think they have lost their salvation. They have not lost their salvation, for they were never saved. Don’t be confused and think the truly born again Christian will sin and go to hell. We may sin, but we will soon repent, or suffer chastisement. Look at what God said in I John 3:9, “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.” Is the child of God perfect? No, but his spirit, which is born of God, is sealed and kept by the power of the Holy Spirit and cannot sin.
“And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:18)
The above verses are spoken to the Christian, but the person who practices ungodliness will one-day face God in judgment to give an account for his evil and ungodly deeds.
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (II Peter 2:5).
In Noah’s time, God judged the ungodly and destroyed them by water. The next judgment on the ungodly will be by fire. But there is a way to escape, but only one way, through Christ.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
Sin is Iniquity
It is possible for a Christian to commit certain sins without realizing it until the Holy Spirit rebukes him. Sinning ignorantly is one thing. But iniquity is committed when a person commits a sin knowing it was sin. That is sinning against revealed light. But when the Holy Spirit rebukes us for sin, if it is not then repented of and forsaken, then fellowship is broken between God and us, and He will not answer our prayers until we repent of that sin. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18).
The apostle Paul warns us of iniquity that is manifested in the works of the flesh.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
Sin is Impurity
Sin comes from an impure heart. The things that are in a man’s heart are what come out. “For from within out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).
People do the things that are in their heart; therefore, when the Holy Spirit changes our hearts from within, then there is a change also outwardly. The works of the flesh cease, and we have a desire to glorify God in our body, which is His.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20).
The Scriptural Statement of Sin
“All unrighteousness is sin…” (I John 5:17a).
What is unrighteousness? It is anything that is not in accord with divine or moral law. Or, anything that is not morally right or justifiable. So if it is not right in the eyes of God it is sin; these facts are plain, simple and easy to understand. As the writer of this book, I am not making these judgments, God already has and we will have to live with it. Let me state also it is not only the big sins that are classified unrighteousness; it is the small sins as well.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
One does not have to be a reprobate to commit unrighteous acts. Of course, the only righteousness that any of us possess is the righteousness of Christ that we received, at the new birth.
The unsaved sinner is already condemned and is wholly unrighteous. Committing sins, large or small, does not make him any further from God than he already is; neither will living a good clean life put him closer to God. Clean living will make a more acceptable and respected citizen but that is all. Receiving Jesus Christ through repentance will put a person in right relationship with God. Then God expects us to conduct our lives in a manner that is well pleasing to Him.
The Theological Definition of Sin
(The transgression of, or lack of conforming to the laws of God)
What does “conforming to the laws of God,” mean? In one sense, it means to live according to the laws of God. Therefore, sin is committed when there is a lack of conforming to the laws of God in our lives. When we fail to adopt the laws of God, as given in the New Testament, as our rule of life, then we transgress or violate God’s laws. God did not give us the New Testament order of life just to be writing a book, but He gave it that we might know how to be conformed to the image of His Son, or to be more like Jesus through our daily life.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
Sin is Deficiency of Love to God and Man
This is simply saying, when we fail to love God or man, as we should, we sin.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
When a person puts himself on the throne of his life, instead of allowing God to possess it, then he sins. Pride is one of the sins God hates. God will not be second choice to anyone. He is preeminent and it is sin if we fail to give Him the place of preeminence in our lives. “John bare witness of him [Jesus], and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me” (John 1:15).
Sin is Insubordination
The sin of insubordination is committed when a person is unwilling to submit to the authority of God.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
It is not always easy to know God’s will. We often don’t have all the answers and don’t understand why God is leading us down certain paths, but being unwilling to submit to God’s plan for our lives because we don’t understand it all will only hinder our blessing, grieve the Holy Spirit and cost us rewards. We can only please God by placing compete trust in Him.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Sin is That Which Ought Not To Be
Sin is never right regardless of how you look at it. Sin ought not to be practiced in the life of a Christian. Sin never pleases God and He warns us what will happen if we are truly saved and practice sin.
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
God promises first to rebuke His child that sins. Rebuke is done through speaking. If speaking to His erring child doesn’t bring him to repentance, then God promises to chasten him. Chastening is a form of mild punishment. If this fails to turn His child from the way of sin, then God is left with no alternative but to scourge him. This is a severe form of punishment. What a loving God we have, but He will not put up with His children rebelling against Him. There are those who have made a profession of faith but later fell back into sin and years have passed without a word from God. No rebuke, no chastening, just going on claiming the name of Christ, while sin is performed daily.
Beware my friend, and listen as God speaks. “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).
In this verse God said, the person who claims the name of Christ and lives in sin without chastisement is illegitimate and does not belong to Him. His father is the devil and he is still lost, dead in trespasses and sins, and on his way to hell. How sad!
Sin toward God is rebellion.
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…” (I Samuel 15:23)
This statement is made about King Saul who sinned against God. As we saw in the beginning of this study rebellion began in heaven with Lucifer, was introduced to man in the Garden of Eden, and all down through history men, women, boys and girls have struck out against God. Those who rebel against God are put in the same category as that of a witch.
In the Old Testament, witchcraft was punishable by death.
As Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, all those who rebelled against God died in the wilderness. Thank God, since Calvary, grace has been on our side. Today God is longsuffering, but rebellion against God will be paid for sooner or later, for rebellion toward God is sin.
Failure to love God supremely.
Failing to love God supremely is sin. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
There are those who will argue that this command was given only to Israel. I agree it was. Verse 4 states, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”
But to Israel alone, I will not agree. In the New Testament, Jesus gives the same command. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).
God will be number one in the life of the person who loves Him supremely. Supreme love for God is shown by our love for His Word, our love for His house (the church) our love for His people, and through our obedience to Him. Failing to love God supremely is sin.
Sin Toward Divine Law
As stated earlier, in the Biblical view of sin, it is one thing to sin ignorantly, but here we are talking about a more serious matter, willful transgression. It is transgression when one goes beyond a known limit. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am aware we are not under the bondage of the law, and I would never indicate that we are. But God has set certain limits for His children and to knowingly go beyond those limits is to transgress the laws of God, and sin. In Hebrews, chapter 12, God has made the promise to chasten His erring children, and if no limits were placed on us, there would be no chastening.
“But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people” (Numbers 15:30).
In the New Testament, we read it another way. “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (I John 5:16).
Why should prayer not be made for a brother who sins unto death? Because God has already cut him off. When a person who is saved by grace transgresses the laws of God, and will not heed God’s rebuke, chastening or scourging, it is very possible that God will cut him off from among the people, and take him home unrewarded.
Never be deceived by modern theology which teaches God is so loving He will not execute judgment on sin. God loves the sinner, but hates sin. He is not a dictator, who is full of fury and wrath and enjoys striking folks down, but on the contrary; He chastens His children because of His great love for them. Lost sinners are under His wrath because they reject and make a mockery of His Son, the Lord Jesus.
Violation through ignorance.
“And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, and their sin-offering before the Lord, for their ignorance” (Numbers 15:25).
During the dispensation of law when a Jew knew he had sinned, he brought a lamb to the priest. It was slain at the altar of sacrifice, and the priest went into the tabernacle and prayed for that person who had sinned. Therefore, God saw the blood of the sacrifice and covered his sin.
Once a year a sacrifice was made for the entire congregation who had sinned ignorantly. The high priest cleansed himself at the brazen laver and entered the holy of holies and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice at the mercy seat and prayed for the sins of Israel. When God saw the blood of the sacrifice, He covered their sins for another year.
All of this is a beautiful picture of Christ. The innocent Lamb of God was sacrificed on Calvary for all mankind. The innocent blood of a sacrificed animal does not cover our sins; they are purged (washed away) by the innocent blood of the Lord Jesus.
When we know we have sinned, we should cry out to God for forgiveness. When God looks at us He cannot see the sins we committed ignorantly because He sees the blood of Christ that has purged away our sins. Known sin in the life of a child of God does not destroy his Son-ship and make him a lost sinner again. It breaks fellowship between him and God. We are eternally saved but the joy of our salvation can be lost through un-confessed sin. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalms 51:12).
We no longer need an earthly priest to bear our sins to God the Father, we are our own priesthood and Jesus Christ, the crucified, buried, and resurrected Savior is our high priest. We go to Him in prayer and God forgives our sins. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
We think of confessing as telling God we are sorry, but it goes further than that. It also means to forsake the sin we are asking forgiveness for. Our love for God should be so strong that we always desire to be cleansed from sin daily (either known or ignorant) by prayer and Bible study. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).
Sin Toward Man
“Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning” (Leviticus 19:13).
The apostle Paul puts it this way: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8). One does an injustice to his employer by taking wages from him without honest work in return.
On several occasions, I have had people tell me they were fired for witnessing and reading their Bible on the job. (I would venture to say in most cases it was because that person was neglecting his duties, to witness and read the Bible). I don’t blame the employer if that was the case, I would have fired him too. By all means witness and read the Bible, but do it on your own time. To do it when you are supposed to be working is an injustice to your employer, and is sin. If you treat your employer like that, don’t try to win him to God. He will probably laugh at you.
One does an injustice to his fellow man when he sells him a product, or item, that he knows is bad. To take advantage of another person in any matter is an injustice, and is sin. One will never profit by taking advantage of other folks. Our greatest profit will come by being honest and letting Christ be seen in our lives. Again, look at the promise given in verse 8 of Ephesians chapter 6.
“Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord…” God said, “If you do good things for your fellow man, He will do good things for you.”
Failure to Love Him as Thyself
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).
It is sin toward man when we fail to love him as ourselves. We don’t have to love his actions, attitude or language that is wrong, and that sometimes hurts us deeply, but we are commanded to love the person, care for him as a soul, and to show compassion for him as another human being. My ministry is working with prison inmates who have committed terrible crimes; many of them continue to live very sinful lives. I don’t agree with their actions, language, attitude or sins. But I care for all of them as fellow human beings. There are not any of them that I would not win to God, if I could. Not all of these men like me, some of them would probably do harm to me without hesitation. Not only these men, but when I was a pastor, there were some folk who did not like me because I would not agree with their way of thinking, and some of them talked about me in front of their children until they had no confidence in me, and I could not win them. Lies were told on me that could have done me much harm. But by God’s grace, I am able to love them regardless of this. Jesus tells us how to react toward our fellow man.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).
Failing to love our fellow man as we love ourselves is sin.
Selfishness is sin toward ourselves. There is nothing wrong with security and prosperity when kept in their rightful perspective. But if trying to be secure leads to prosperity, and prosperity leads to greed, and greed leads to selfishness, then we sin toward ourselves. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) In attempting to lay up for the future, many have forgotten about “the future” “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). Eternal reward is promised to those who lay up treasures in heaven, and eternal losses to those who live selfish lives and forget God.
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Timothy 6:7).
Selfishness is sin toward self.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5). The psalmist David declares his mother conceived him in corruption. In her womb he was shaped in corruption, and when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, this corruptible act was sin, not only against God, but also against himself, his own body. David’s sin against himself followed him to his grave. In the summary of scripture concerning sin, we have taken only a brief look at sin toward God, sin toward the divine law, sin toward men and sin toward self.
Surely, the reader can see sin is as cruel and cold as the grave. Will you turn from sin and dedicate your life to the Savior right now?