By Johnie Paul Edwards
God’s people of old requested that the prophets speak smooth things (Isa. 30:10). The reason they wanted to hear smooth things was because they were rebellious children (30:1), they would not take counsel of God (30:1), they did not put their trust in God (30:2), they would not hear the law of the Lord (30:9), and they despised God’s word (30:12). Truly, those who despise God’s word had rather hear smooth things than the truth of God’s word. But, for those interested in truth, what is the truth about sin? The Bible teaches that . . .
Sin Is Against God
When Potiphar’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph and said, “Lie with me” (Gen. 39:7), Joseph refused and said, “There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). Joseph knew that to lie with another man’s wife would be a great wickedness and would constitute sin against God. All men should know what Joseph knew about sin!
Sin Is The Transgression of God’s Law
The Apostle John revealed, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Ask people today what is sin and you’ll get about as many answers as people you ask. The Bible teaches that sin is the transgression of the law. “Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4, ASV). Anytime we violate God’s law, by either going beyond or falling short of it, we sin!
All Unrighteousness Is Sin
In 1 John 5:17 we learn, “All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” The Scriptures are careful to teach us that all unrighteousness is sin! Too many want to pick and choose when it comes to sin. But, what kind of things are included in Scripture as unrighteousness? Paul, as he wrote about the Gentiles, said, “Being filled with all unrighteous- ness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:29-32).
Whatsoever Is Not of Faith Is Sin
The fourteenth chapter of the book of Romans ends with the words, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Clearly, when we act apart from faith we sin. This was the reason that the man that doubted regarding the eating of meat was damned when he ate, “because he eateth not of faith.” Obviously, God requires that all things religiously be done in faith and according to the faith. When we do things according to the faith we do that which is authorized or taught in God’s word. While to eat or not to eat meat was an authorized liberty, for “let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not . . .” (Rom. 14:3), not all things fall into authorized liberties. The context of Romans 14 must be understood. It has to do with “nothing unclean of itself” (14:14), and things that “are pure” (14:20). Some things are outright matters of sin. John taught, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).
It is clear as one reads and studies God’s word that some things are good and some things are evil. There is no middle ground! We are taught to do that which is good (Heb. 13:16). We do such or become guilty of sin.
To Know To Do Good And Not To Do It Is Sin
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). This principle is important and is being contrasted with rejoicing in boasting and the statement that “. . . all such rejoicing is evil” (4:16). It is clear as one reads and studies God’s word that some things are good and some things are evil. There is no middle ground! We are taught to do that which is good (Heb. 13:16). We do such or become guilty of sin. There are many things identified by God as good, but when we fail to do them we sin.
To Say We Have No Sin Is To Lie
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The reason that none can say that they have no sin is because “. . . all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Some refuse to admit sin. Such is to be guilty of lying.
Man Can Be Made Free From Sin
Since sin leads to eternal death (Rom. 6:23), we need to be made free from sin. How does this happen? Romans 6 teaches, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (6:18) and “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (6:22). Romans 6 reveals several things involved in being made free from sin. Being made free from sin involves, being baptized into Jesus Christ (6:3), walking in newness of life (6:4), no longer serving sin (6:6), not yielding our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin (6:13), and obeying from the heart (6:16). This is God’s plan for man being made free from sin. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:22).
The Blood of Jesus Christ Cleanseth Us From All Sin
The plan for such cleansing is revealed, “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 John 1:7). In John 8:12 Jesus equated walking in the light with following him. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). In following Christ the child of God confesses his sins and “. . . he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The Wages of Sin Is Death
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). We all need to know that the end of serving sin is death, eternal death! Paul in Romans 6 deals with living in sin and explains that the walk of a Christian is not one of sin, but in newness of life (6:6). We are to be dead to sin (6:11), not let sin reign in our mortal bodies (6:12), and we are not to yield our members as instruments unto sin (6:13). The end of living in sin is eternal death and the end of serving God will be everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord. James taught, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:15).
Sin Should Be Laid Aside
The apostle to the Hebrew Christians wrote, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). To successfully run the race that ends in eternal life, we must: lay aside every weight, lay aside sin, run with patience, and look unto Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2). As Paul wrote to the Colossians, we read, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:8-10).
Man Can Die In His Sins
Jesus said, “. . . that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). God planned for repentance and remission of sins to be preached (Luke 24:47). It was preached and we need to continue preaching it! Christ was sent into the world to be a propitation for sin (1 John 4:10), that is he was “manifested to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5). The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin (Heb. 10:4). Christ’s blood can take away sin in that in him “. . . we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14). “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Rather than dying in our sins, we should choose to die in the Lord, for “. . . blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).
May we ask not for the “smooth things” (Isa. 30:10), but for the “old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16).