By Raymond E. Harris
In Romans 6: 1, the Apostle Paul sets forth the foregoing question and then answers with a thunder, “God Forbid!” At this time, we will lift the question from its technical setting and stress some simple but challenging questions.
1. Shall We Continue In Sin When We Know Its Origin? In 1 John 3:4, we learn that, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” And, in 1 John 3:8, we are further informed that “the devil sinneth from the beginning.” Further, everyone who has read, so much as the first three chapters of the first book of the Bible will remember that it was the serpent (Satan) who enticed Eve to commit the first sin.
Yes, in Genesis 3:1-6, the serpent lied by assuring Eve she would not die if she disobeyed God. Further, the serpent implied that God had selfish reasons for insisting that Adam and Eve abstain from the one forbidden tree. In John 8:44, Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him.”
Hence, those who engage in rebellious acts against the will of God are said to be servants (slaves of both Satan and sin). Such are described as Satan’s children in Satan’s family, rebellious wicked citizens of Satan’s kingdom.
It would seem that if our knowledge of sin was limited only to the foregoing – we would flee from all unrighteousness. Who among us would want to be in the kingdom of Hitler or the child of a Charles Manson. Much more, how awful to be the slave child of the devil! Knowing the origin of sin, shall we continue in sin! God Forbid!
2. Shall We Continue In Sin When We Know Its History! Some histories are interesting and worthwhile, but the history of sin is dark and dreadful. As every Bible student knows, the black history of sin begins in Genesis 3:6. On that occasion, first Eve and then Adam disregarded the reasonable limitations of God, questioned His integrity, and willfully disobeyed Him.
The consequences of their iniquity were immediately forthcoming! They began to die physically. But, even worse, they died spiritually! The word “death,” means “separation.” Hence, we see that physical death is the separation of the body and the spirit. And spiritual death is the separation of the eternal soul from God!
It seems that once sin (rebellion) was loose in the world it has rolled like a tidal wave over generation after generation. In Genesis 3, Eve and Adam sinned. In Genesis 4, Cain became the world’s first murderer. And by Genesis 6, ten generations have come upon the earth. At that point God noted that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5). Hence, through the grace of God and the righteousness of Noah and his family, human life on earth was allowed to continue. All others died because of their iniquity.
But, as we continue to Genesis 12, we learn that after another ten generations mankind was rebellious and as wicked as before the flood. Hence, at that point, God called Abram to separate himself and form a special people from whom Jesus, the Savior could come.
As we turn on through our Bibles we learn that sin:
a. Caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
b. Caused the downfall and death of King Saul.
c. Caused shame and a life time of woe to King David.
d. Caused both Israel and Judah to spend 70 years in slavery.
e. Caused the crucifixion of Jesus.
f. Causes the damnation of all who will not turn to Christ and obey the gospel.
Also, when we consider the history of sin, we find that the page of our life is also there! Sin has and will continue to create misery, sorrow and despair in our lives so long as we live.
Truly, when we consider the history of sin, we should determine that we will not continue therein. God forbid!
3. Shall We Continue In Sin When We Know Its Trend? There is no question, the trend of sin has always been and always shall be downward. No one ever became a better person by flaunting and rebelling against the laws of God.
In 2 Timothy 3:13, Paul wrote, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse . . . .” And so, sin is invariably a progressive influence. Sin sears the conscience and the last sin eases the way for the next.
A classic example of the progressiveness of sin is seen in the lives of Joseph’s older brethren as revealed in Genesis 37. As the story unfolds, we learn that Jacob loved his son Joseph more than any of his ten older sons. From this volatile environment came forth a growing and progressive evil attitude on the part of these ten young men. The Bible tells us that their emotions and actions evolved from hate, to envy, to selling their own brother as a slave and finally to the cunning deception of their father. Hence, we see the initial sins of jealousy, hate and envy, open the doors to such violent sins as assault and kidnaping.
Invariably one sin will lead to another and the second is usually worse than the first. So, unless we “come to” ourselves and wake up to what sin is doing to us, there will come total destruction of both body and soul. Truly, we cannot take fire unto our bosom and not be burned! Sin separates from God, it damns the soul, and it will not be allowed in heaven.
Shall we continue in sin? God forbid!
4. Shall We Continue In Sin When We Know Its Results? The results of sin have been so varied and devastating it is impossible to really comprehend the vastness of sin and the immeasurableness of the suffering it has caused.
Sin has destroyed reputations, good names, family trust, marital happiness and self-respect. A night’s unrestricted indulgence in sin has produced separation, divorce and murder. A night’s unrestricted indulgence in sin has produced illegitimate children, introduction into crime, incurable disease, disgrace, imprisonment and premature death.
Also, sin has destroyed minds and emotions as well as physical bodies. Sanitariums and asylums abound with both perpetrators and victims of sin. Mental breakdowns and suicide are common results of ungodliness.
And then, the ultimate result of sin is the everlasting loss of the soul. Physical and mental suffering are devastating. However, loss of the soul is even worse. Jesus explained that the wicked would be cast into “outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” He later said those cursed by sin, would depart “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. ” And in John 5:28-29, the Lord explained that on judgment day, “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” And He further explains that those that have lived evil lives will come forth, “unto the resurrection of damnation.”
My friend, when we consider the results of sin, even in our own lives, we should be shocked into repentance. Who among us has not suffered greatly physically and mentally because of sin. And what about our souls? When we consider that life is short and judgment is sure, shall we continue in sin? God forbid!
5. Shall We Continue In Sin When We Know Its Remedy? In Romans 6:23, Paul warns that “the wages of sin is death . . .” And in Galatians 5:19-21, he enumerates the “works of the flesh.” He declares that those who continue in such wretched ways “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
And when Paul, wrote to the Philippians he helps us to understand that good worthwhile thoughts help prevent sin. He explains that we should dwell on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report. However, these good thoughts will not remedy or remove the sins we have already committed.
Yet, we must realize that with the sacrifice of Jesus and the preaching of the gospel, remission of sins is now possible. Yes, forgiveness of sins is now available to all. You remember Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
But, what is the remedy for sin?
a. Belief in God (Heb. 11:6); in Jesus (John 3:16); in the gospel (Rom. 1:16, Mk. 16:16b).
b. Repentance or turning from sin (Lk. 13:3; Acts 17:30; Acts 2:38).
c. Confession that Jesus is the Son of God (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:36-37; Rom. 10:10).
d. Baptism (immersion) in water (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:38-39; 18:8; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-5).
So, we see that the grace of God has provided a way of escape! Yes, by accepting Jesus as our Savior and obeying the terms or conditions that God has laid down, anyone can have remission of his sins. This obedience and remission of sins by God, allows each one to be a Christian, a member of Christ’s Church, and a citizen of God’s Kingdom!
Considering that there is a remedy for sins, shall we continue in sin? God forbid!
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 16, pp. 492-493
August 16, 1984