It is human nature to minimise our own failings and magnify others faults. How often do you hear children telling tales on their siblings when they do things wrong? Politicians excuse their own failures and magnify opponents faults.
We have to realise that before the righteous and Holy God we are abject failures, capable of doing nothing good. We sin because we have a sin nature from conception. You cannot understand what sin is without reference to the Word of God. Lets have a brief look and what sin is and what it does.
What is sin
Here are a few definitions:
- Transgression of divine law (Nehemiah 9:29).
- Wilful violation of some religious or moral principle (Deuteronomy 9:16).
- Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God (Hebrews 10:26).
- Condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience (Isaiah 59:2).
- Failure in one point of the law (Romans 5:16; James 2:10).
- Missing the goal or the path of right and duty (Deuteronomy 9:16).
- Failing to follow the rules (Galatians 3:10).
- What ever does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23)
- When the Holy Spirit speaks to our heart and we repeatedly ignore it (Luke 12:10)
Jesus made it clear that sin was not just breaking rules but a heart attitude. He said “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). He lifts the bar much higher than judging our behaviour to judging our motives.
We Question God
When asked which was the greatest commandment (rule) Jesus said:
“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).
God wants us to love him and love our neighbours. That is the greatest rule but we are like the lawyer who came back at the Lord with the question “who is my neighbour” (Luke 10:29)? When the Lord says something instead of obeying we question it. Why?
Where did sin come from?
Well, it all stems back to the first human beings – Adam and Eve. God gave them a wonderful garden to live in and they had a close relationship with God. There was one thing God warned them against. God said “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17). Satan came along and got Eve to question God’s word. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). God spoke the truth. Satan got Eve to question if God was true. That is what has been happening ever since. The Bible explains what is true and people question and reject it.
Surprisingly, sin is not the issue that God will judge us for. We all sin (Romans 3:23). We did not choose to be sinners, we were born with a sin nature (Psalm 51:5). What counts is what we do with the truth (John 17:17). When we hear that there is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, shed at the cross and reject it that is our decision with eternal consequences. If God speaks to our heart and we refuse to listen or obey we face the consequence – death.
When God speaks and we respond, listen and obey that has eternal consequences – we have eternal life (John 17:3). As we trust and obey God and believe in his Son Jesus Christ, God forgives us and saves us and gives us eternal life. Do you believe that?
We Rebel Against God
Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God is called rebellion. Defiance and opposition towards authority. Throughout the Bible there are examples of rebellion against God. Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), Satan (Isaiah 14:12-20), the Children of Israel (Deuteronomy 1:26), Moses (Numbers 27:14), Judas (Mark 14:10), to name just a few. By nature we are stubborn and rebellious (Jeremiah 5:23).
As a parent you soon learn that children are naturally naughty. We have to teach children to be good. If there is a sign saying wet paint the temptation is to touch it. What about speed limits. How many people keep to them? What about “white lies”? How about not mentioning something, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them”. We so easily excuse ourselves (Romans 2:15-16).
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)
The Wrath of God
Do you know what you need saving from? The Bible says from the wrath of God. Paul wrote “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil” (Romans 2:8-9). There is more detail about this in an earlier blog “The Wrath of God“. Later in Romans Paul says of those who have received salvation “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9)
Can we live a sinless life?
You cannot understand what sin is without reference to the Word of God. Jesus is the truth and no one can come to God the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). Jesus had a sinless life, he lived on earth totally divine and totally human. He was in perfect communication with God the Father and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our example of a perfect human. We can hold on to the promise that one day, when Jesus returns, we will be like him (1 John 3:2).