By Marc Shotts
For what saith the scripture about sin? This is a question that mankind needs desperately to ask. Nations have turned away from the word of God to the wisdom of men, searching in vain for answers to the problems sin creates. As in all things, the answers to our problems may be found by drawing near to God and his guiding word which the Psalmist described as “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). Consider what the scriptures says about sin:
God’s Definition of Sin
God delivered his definition of sin by the hand of John who wrote, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 Jn. 3:4). The scriptures indicate clearly that sin is a violation of God’s law. Man may sin, or violate God’s law, in many different ways. We may sin in what we say. David said, “I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue” (Psa. 39:1). Sin may also be committed in our thoughts. Jesus taught, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). We can also sin in deed or action. Paul penned, “I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed” (2 Cor. 12:21). Sin may also be found in not doing what we know is God’s will. James wrote, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). Any action or thought not in harmony with the will of God, is by God’s definition a sin.
God’s Attitude Toward Sin
God’s attitude toward sin is dramatically revealed in the scriptures. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals God’s attitude toward sin by writing, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him” (Prov. 6:16). Later he recorded, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord” (Prov. 12:22). Zechariah wrote, “Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord” (Zech. 8:17). God’s inspired writers revealed that God hates sin and views it as an abomination. “Hate” can be defined as “to feel animosity or hostility toward; a strong feeling of dislike; detest.” The definition of “abomination” is “an extremely disgusting thing.” God views sin with strong feelings of hostility, disgust and dislike.
God’s attitude toward sin may be seen in the way he describes it in the Scriptures. Sin is described as a putrefying disease (Isa. 1:2-6), a heavy burden (Psa. 38:4), defiling filth (Tit. 1:15, 2 Cor. 7:1), a binding debt (Matt. 6:12-15), darkness (1 Jn. 1:6) and a blemishing stain (Isa. 1:18).
Consequences of Sin
What saith the scriptures about the consequences of sin? Sin produces earthly consequences such as disease, broken homes, and sorrow. God revealed by Solomon that “the way of transgressors is hard” (Prov. 13:15). But, the greatest consequence of sin is the death of the spirit. Paul declared, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The death which Paul speaks of is not physical death for “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27). As physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body, spiritual death is the separation of the spirit of man from God. The prophet Isaiah cried out to the people of his time, “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). John wrote, “Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20;14-15). The second death John described is the death of the spirit, separation from God in torment forever, the greatest and final consequence of unforgiven sin.
No Sin Today?
The attitude of many is that sin no longer exists. This attitude is displayed when things which the scriptures say are sin are renamed and declared no longer to be sinful. An example of this can be found concerning the sin of homosexuality. People today say homosexuality is caused by genetics, or simply an “alternative lifestyle.” Anything but a sin! Many who claim to be religious have recently said that homosexuality is no longer a sin. Openly homosexual preachers and members are accepted, and some denominations have changed their creeds to allow the sin of homosexuality. The attitude of no more sin can also be seen when sins such as murder (abortion) is called a “choice or right,” alcoholism is called a “disease,” pre-marital sex (fornication) is called a beautiful expression of sexuality. It seems that society no longer considers any-thing a sin.
The most worrisome aspect is that many members of the church are also relaxing their attitudes toward sin. Members of the church are openly engaging in or tolerating sins such as unscriptural marriages, false teaching, fellowshipping error, immodest apparel, mixed swimming, dancing, absenteeism, materialism, social drinking, impure speech, improper entertainment and such like. Even those in the church who believe these things to be sins are not speaking out against them as God requires. God proclaimed by His prophet Isaiah, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20)
How Should We Deal With Sin?
Paul told Timothy, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1). These perilous times were to be characterized by the increased sinfulness of the times (2 Tim. 3:2-5). Timothy was then instructed to continue in the things which the scriptures taught (2 Tim. 3:14-15). Paul shows the value of the scriptures by writing, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). Paul encouraged all Christians to take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). The weapon Christians must use to combat sin is the word of God. The need for preaching and teaching, which without blinking or apology, exposes sin and its consequences is great in our society and even in the church. God has provided the weapon, but needs loyal soldiers who are willing to combat sin wherever it may be found.
The answer to society’s problems will never be found in the wisdom of man. The downward spiral of morals in our time will continue unrestrained until greater numbers of people once again begin to ask, “For what saith the scriptures about sin?”
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 8, p. 8-9
April 21, 1994