Intermediate Edition

I.  General


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Chapter 9  Part I


Knowing what sin is and what its consequences are is vital to understanding God’s relationship with humankind and to appreciating the need for Jesus Christ’s mission. It also helps us not to sin by: clarifying what sin is (which this chapter does in general terms); and providing great motivation to avoid sin.

What Sin Is

Sin is breaking God’s law

Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.   1 John 3:4 GNT

All wrongdoing is sin

Doing wrong is always sin …   1 John 5:17a NCV™

Not doing what we should do is sin

So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin.   James 4:17 NET

Sin Is against God

Sin is action against God

[Moses, to the Israelites:] If anyone sins unintentionally by breaking any of the Lord’s commands, he is guilty and must pay the penalty. … 19It is a repayment offering for the sin he committed against the Lord.   Leviticus 5:17, 19 GNT

Sin is rebellion against God

[David, to God:] Drive them out of your presence because of their many sins and their rebellion against you.   Psalms 5:10b GNT

Thus, sin is hated by God

For I, the Lord, love justice and hate robbery and sin.   Isaiah 61:8a NET

Sin Is Universal

All people have sinned . . .

All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.   Romans 3:23 CEV

All fail to measure up to a standard compatible with God’s glory.

. . . No one is righteous before God

[David, to God:] Do not enter into judgment with your servant, for no living person is righteous in your sight.   Psalms 143:2 ISV

People in fact have a sinful nature

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires.   Galatians 5:24 GNT

Sin Has Intrinsic Ill Effects

Sin brings spiritual defilement

They became filthy because of what they did.   Psalms 106:39 GW

Sin results in separation from God

[Isaiah, to the people of Judah:] But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.   Isaiah 59:2 NET

Sin brings spiritual death

[Paul, to believers:] When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins.   Colossians 2:13 NCV™

Spiritual death involves being cut off from God – “dead to God” – without his Holy Spirit, who brings spiritual life.

Sin also brings enslavement to sin

Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin.   John 8:34 NET

Sin Brings God’s Anger and Death

Sin makes one subject to God’s anger

Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God’s anger.   Ephesians 2:3 GNT

Here Paul refers to how all people have lived sinful lives, making them subject to God’s anger.

Sin results in physical death

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, so death spread to everyone, because all have sinned.   Romans 5:12 ISV

People may experience God’s wrath and judgment for sin in various forms during their lifetime, but common to all is the judgment of physical death. Note that the verse makes reference to death initially coming as a consequence of Adam’s original sin.

Sin brings the prospect of eternal “death”

[Paul, to believers:] So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. … 23For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 6:21, 23 NET

Particularly in view of the contrast with “eternal life” (v. 23), “death” (vv. 21, 23) appears to primarily refer to or at least encompass what is sometimes referred to as eternal “death”. Because of his justice God demands that unforgiven sin be punished with eternal “death” or destruction, involving eternal separation from God in hell. A complementary reason for this “death” is that sin makes separation from God necessary, because of his holiness.

Pray for persecuted Christians