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Is SIN Serious? If so, how do we escape its grasp?
August 2013

          In the last two months we examined a false doctrine that states a Christian can not sin!  It occurred to me that one of its designs is to give Christians a false sense of security and comfort regarding sin and its punishments.  We found through our study that Christians can in fact; sin and often do.  Now it is time to confront the false sense of security offered by this false doctrine.  We will also examine whether religion can help in avoiding sin, and what way is there if any, for escaping sin's grasp?  First, is sin serious (Ref. Genesis 18:20)?

          When disease is diagnosed it is important to ask the question:  "Is it serious?"  It is just as important to ask that question concerning the spiritual disease of sin.  Many people will almost cheerfully admit to being sinners, because they have no idea what it means or the results of their sin.  They treat it as a condition of our "human nature," or they find refuge behind the fact that "everyone sins."  But those statements avoid the real issue: is sin serious?  Here are some things the Bible says about the seriousness of being a sinner.

1.           You are debased.  This does not mean that you are constantly committing sin.  Nor does it mean that you can not tell right from wrong, or that you can not do things that are good and helpful.  But it does mean that sin has invaded every part of your nature, your mind, will, affections, conscience, disposition and imagination.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9).  The root of your trouble is not what you do, but what you are!  You sin because you are a sinner!

2.           You are defiled.  The Bible pulls no punches here:  “For from within, out of men's hearts, comes all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil‑mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;  who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (Romans 1:29-2:1).

Notice that the list includes thoughts, words and actions.  This shows that in God's sight all sin is equally serious.  Some people limit their idea of sin to things like murder, adultery and robbery.  But the Bible makes it clear that we have no right to think of sin in that way.  Sin is anything that fails to meet God's perfect standards.  Literally it means “missing the mark.”  The mark God set for us to meet.  Anything we say, think or do that is less than perfect is sin.  Now let us face it:  Who can say, I have kept my heart pure?  I am clean and without sin?  Can you say that your life is a perfect image of Jesus’ life?  If not, you are defiled! 

3.           You are defiant.  The Bible teaches that sin is lawlessness and a deliberate rebellion against God's authority and law.  No civil law forces you to lie, cheat, to have impure thoughts, or sin in any other way.  You choose to sin!  You choose to break God's Holy Law.  You deliberately disobey Him and that is serious, because God is a righteous judge who expresses His wrath every day.  God can never be "soft" about sin, and you can be sure that not even one sin will go unpunished.

A small part of God's punishment of sin comes in this life (though we may not recognize it).  But the final punishment will be inflicted after death, when on the Day of judgment each one of us will give an account of himself to God (Ref. 1st Peter 4:5; cf. Proverbs 11:6; Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 22:1-14, 25:14-30).

4.           In your Sin – You are dead.  The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Ref. Romans 6:23a).  Genesis 3 gives the account of Adam and Eve disobeying God’s order not to eat of the tree of good and evil or they would surely die.  As a result of their sin man has been dying ever since (cf. Genesis 2:17.  James 1:15 warns us that “when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”  This death is not only physical but of the spirit as well.  It is referring to both physical death and eternal death in Hell.  Notice the comparison between the wages of sin and the gift of God in Romans 6:23.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Sin brings forth death (cf. Romans 5:12, 7:13); God’s gift brings forth eternal life.  It is not hard to see the parallel between death and life.  Life is eternal therefore death is also eternal.  “The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?  Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings” (Isaiah 33:14)?

          Now let us look at whether religion can help us in our quest to escape the torment and punishment of sin.  A simple definition of religion is “man's way of reaching God.”  Man has been called a religious animal.  The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics lists hundreds of ways in which men have tried to satisfy their religious longings and faith.  They have worshiped the sun, moon and stars; earth, fire and water, idols of wood, stone and metal; fish, birds, and all kinds of animals.  They have worshiped countless gods and spirits that have been the products of their own perverted imagination.  Others have attempted to worship the true God through a vast variety of sacrifices, ceremonies, sacraments and services.  But “religion,” however sincere, can never solve man's sin problem, for at least three reasons. 

   Religion can never satisfy God.  Religion is man's attempt to make himself right with God, but any such attempt is futile because even man's best efforts are flawed and are unacceptable to God.  The Bible could not be clearer:  all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  God demands perfection; religion fails to meet that demand.

   Religion can never remove sin.  Your virtues can never cancel your vices.  Good deeds can never remove your bad conduct.  If a person gets right with God it is not by his own works.  Look at what Ephesians 2:8-9 says; “For grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  No religious efforts or experience like - christening, confirmation, baptism, Holy Communion, going to church no matter how regularly, prayers, gifts, sacrifices of time and effort, Bible reading or anything else - can cancel a single sin.

   Religion can never change man's sinful nature.  A person's behavior is not the problem, only the symptom.  The heart of man's problem is the problem of man's heart, and by nature man's heart is corrupt and depraved.  Going to church and taking part in religious ceremonies may make you feel good; but they cannot make you sinless or good in God's eyes.  Notice what the Bible says about man's heart (Genesis 6:5).  "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."  Job 14:4 says; "Who can bring what is clean from the unclean?  No one!" 

          Now some of you may be thinking that this was the condition before God destroyed the world with a flood, this is not man's condition now!  So just in case that is what you may be thinking, here is what God's Holy Word says about man's condition today, 4,000 years after the flood.  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  “All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23).  "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).  And, 2nd Peter 2:13b-14;  "They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.  They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children."  In other words, man's evil heart has not changed, it has gotten worse!

          Although some religious activities mentioned above are obviously "good" in themselves.  For example, it is right to go to church, to read the Bible and to pray, because God tells us to do these things.  You can not rely on them to make you right with God.  Not only are they powerless to do so; trusting in them actually adds to your sin and to your condemnation.  Why?  Because as we have stated earlier, Ephesians 2:8-9 says; “For grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."  Ask yourself this question.  “If there was a way for man to escape the terrible punishment for sin on his own no matter how difficult, why would God delegate His only Son to die a horrible, painful and torturous death?”  He would not, if there was any other way to avoid the punishment of our sin.

          This leads us to the third point.  Is there a remedy for escaping sin's grasp?  Yes there is!  God has provided it.  The central message of the Bible is found in these words: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (17) For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

          We know that a just and holy God must punish sin.  But the Bible also tells us that God is love (1st John 4:8).  While God hates sin He loves the sinner, and longs to forgive them.  How can a sinner be justly pardoned when God's law demands the sinner’s spiritual and physical death?  “For the wages of sin is death…”  (Romans 6:23a) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b)?  Did you notice the word “gift?”  A gift is not something you earn; it is something that comes through the generosity, love and grace of another.  Simply put, only God can solve the sinner’s dilemma.  He does it through the person of Jesus Christ (John 3:17).  “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” 

          God’s Son (Jesus) became a man by taking upon Himself human nature.  Although Jesus became fully man, He remained fully God:  the Bible says that “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).  He remained as completely God as if He had not become man; He became as completely man as if He were not God.  Jesus Christ is therefore unique and the Bible confirms this in many ways.  His conception was unique; He had no human father but was conceived in a virgin's womb by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:35).  His words were unique:  people were amazed at His teachings, because His message had authority unlike those of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 7:28-29).  His miracles were unique: He went about healing every sickness and disease among the people and on several occasions raised the dead (John 12:1, 21:25).  His character was unique: "He was tempted in every way just as we are - yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), so that God the Father could say of Him, "This is my Son, whom I love, and in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17, 17:5).

          Notice the last sentence!  This means that as a man Jesus kept the law of God in its entirety and therefore was not subject to sin's double death penalty.  Yet He was arrested on a trumped-up charge, sentenced on false evidence, and eventually crucified.  His death was not an unavoidable accident or a quirk of fate.  It was all part of God's set plan, purpose and foreknowledge.  The Father sent the Son for the very purpose of paying sin's death penalty, and Jesus willingly came.  In His own words, the purpose of His coming into the world was to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).  His death, like His life, was unique.  What His death brought us was unique.  "He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us” (Hebrews. 7:25).  It is vital that we understand why Jesus came, why He died and what His death can mean to us.  Our eternal souls depend upon our understanding of this fact and our decision to accept them for ourselves.

          If you are now wondering how can I escape the grasp and punishment of sin, let God show you His escape plan.  The escape plan starts and ends by faith, not works.  It can be easily followed by taking a few simple steps.  We must acknowledge that;

          1.       God is Holy and Just (Psalm 89:14).

          2.       All mankind has sinned (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23), this means you!

          3.       The wages of that Sin is death (eternal death) (Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23).

          4.       God is rich in mercy to all that call upon Him (Romans 2:4, Ephesians 2:4).

          5.       Jesus, bore our Sin so that we do not have to (Isaiah 53:5).

          6.       We must accept the free gift that Jesus bought for us on Calvary (John 1:12).

7.        “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes [adhere to, trust in, and rely on] in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

          8.       Obey His commandments (John 14:15).

          If God has shown you your need for escaping sins evil grasp then turn to Christ - and do it now!  Pray and confess that you are a guilty, lost and helpless sinner.  And with all your heart ask Christ to come into your heart and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.  Then let Him take His rightful place as the Lord of your life, enabling you to turn from sin and to live for Him.

          The Bible says that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9‑10).  If you truly trust Christ as your Savior, than make Him the Lord of your life, obey His every command and you will be saved.

          If you have made this vital and glorious step, contact us at our office address by mail or through our website address.  We have some free gifts for you that will help you continue your exciting new life.  You will find that this new life has some pitfalls, but it is filled with many more wonderful blessings.

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