Carol R. Lumpkin
Sin is common to all people who are accountable to God. Sin separates man from God. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isa. 59:2). Paul wrote that "both Jews and Gentiles,. . . are all under sin" (Rom. 3:9); "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
What is sin? How do people sin? "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (Jas. 4:17). "For sin is the transgression of the law" (1 Jn. 3:4). "All unrighteousness is sin" (1 Jn. 5:17). John said: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 Jn. 1:8); "if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1 Jn. 1:10). We must conclude that all of us sin.
I suppose it is human nature for people who sin to attempt, in various ways, to cover their sins. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after they had disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. "And Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden" (Gen. 3:8). One great lesson we should learn from this is that no sin is hid from God. "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" (Psa. 139:7-12).
King Saul was told to utterly destroy the Amalekites, including, "both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" (1 Sam. 15:3). He sinned when he brought the king and some of the better animals back from the battle. Saul tried to cover his sin by casting the blame on the people, "the people took the spoil, sheep and oxen. . . . " (1 Sam. 15:21). Samuel said to Saul, "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22). Thus, we learn that we must not blame others for our sins.
Herod, the tetrarch, was married to his brother's wife, Herodias (Matt. 14:3). John, the baptizer, told Herod, "It is not lawful (with God, crl) for thee to have her" (Matt. 14:4). Herod was living in adultery (Col. 3:5-7). When Herod had John's head cut off, that did not cover his sin. I wonder just how many people are living with (married) some one, who in the sight of God is still married to his first companion?
We read where Stephen preached Jesus to the Jews in Acts 6-7. "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears,
ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51). This preaching of Stephen led to his death by stoning (Acts 7:59). Getting rid of the preacher will not cover for sins of brethren.
What is time? Someone has said: "Time is what life consists of." Does time cover sin? The answer is no. Sins can be covered only by the blood of Jesus Christ, and only then when God's divine law is complied with. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7). "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). "Much more then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom. 5:9). "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 Jn. 1:7). No honest person should question the saving power of the blood of Jesus Christ.
There are two classes of accountable people: (1) those who have never obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and (2) those of us who are the children of God. Both classes are in need of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus. The first class absolutely must become believers in the Lord (Jn. 8:24). Faith (belief) comes by hearing God's word (Rom. 10: 17). The believer must repent of sins already committed (Lk. 13:3). The penitent believer must confess Christ to be the Son of God (Acts 8:37). When the above requirements are met, the person must be baptized in water (Rom. 6:4), for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). When this has been done the blood of Jesus removes the sins (cf. Acts 22:16).
The second class in need of the blood of Jesus to cleanse them are children of God. John tells us that we sin (1 Jn. 1:8, 10). Set in between the above two verses, John said: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn. 1:9). The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 Jn. 1:7). When? When those sins are confessed (1 Jn. 1:9). Simon, a child of God who sinned, was instructed to "repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" (Acts 8:22).
God has provided the only way for sins to be covered, or forgiven. If God's law is not obeyed, there is no way one can be saved now, or in the time to come. Jesus saves only those who will obey Him. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:8-9). Let us never entertain the idea that once we sin that we can design some way to save ourselves. Salvation is only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; 2 Tim. 2: 10).
Guardian of Truth XXX: 13, p. 403