fundamental: the biblical conception of sin (part 1)

the result of our sin

The Bible never undertakes to demonstrate the reality of sin.

In all its statements concerning sin, sin is presupposed as a fact that can neither be controverted nor denied, neither challenged nor obscured. It is true that some reasoners, through bad philosophy and worse materialistic science, refuse to admit the existence of sin, but nevertheless, their endeavors to explain it away by their respective theories is proof enough of that sin is no figment of our imagination. Instead, it is a solid reality.

The little girl in the photograph above was injured by explosions from American bombs dropped on Bagdhad. What sin did she commit? I would argue that it was our sin that injured her.

Do you need anymore evidence of the reality of sin? Is it not obvious? Or are you so hardened under the power of sin that you are senseless to to its reality…have you fallen sway to sin to the point that you are past feeling? If so, I hope that this will get your attention.

the consequence of sin Maybe you’re not hardened to the reality of sin. Maybe you just refuse to think about it. In your reasoning through your life, you’ve come to the conclusion that whether sin is a reality or not doesn’t stand in any sort of relation to you, nor does it concern you. If that is the case you are simply deceiving yourself.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” the Apostle Paul, Epistle to the Romans 3.23

I believe that it is extremely doubtful that any intelligent person whose moral intuitions have not been completely destroyed and whose mental conceptions have not been totally blunted by their indulgence in wickedness can persuade himself for any amount of time that sin is a myth, an illusion of the mind, a creature of the imagination, and not a grim reality. To paraphrase the great Christian author G.K. Chersterton, the fact of sin can be seen while walking down the street. The Bible assumes that any man will discover sin, if he simply looks at himself, to his own heart.

It scarcely needs to be stated that modern ideas about sin receive no countenance from Scripture, which never, ever, speaks about sin as, “good in the making,” as the “shadow cast by man’s immaturity” or as “a necessity determined by heredity and environment”. The Bible always speaks of sin as a free act of an intelligent, moral, and responsible being asserting his will over and against the will of his Maker, who is the supreme Ruler of the universe.

We don’t even do a good job of keeping the 10 commandments, that we see as some sort of high moral and spiritual standard. I would argue strongly that the 10 commandments are the basic common denominator for humanity, not some spiritual bar that is set so high that it’s nearly impossible to reach. After all, if you can’t get through your day without killing someone, having sex with someone else’s wife, lying to your friends, or stealing from your boss, then maybe, just maybe, you are too screwed up to call yourself human. These aren’t hard things for us to do!

Or we could simply take the reduction further. The most basic reduction of God’s requirements for us is in Micah:

“And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6.8

We don’t do justice. Where do we see justice in our world? Is it in the dropping of explosives on innocent civilians? Perhaps it’s found in sentencing men to prison and torture for simply disagreeing with the party of power? Was it justice when we enslaved hundreds of thousands of Africans? Or maybe it was justice when we forced the Cherokee Indians to march from Georgia to Oklahoma in one of the harshest winters of that era?

Surely, we love kindness! Is it kindness that turns a blind eye to the suffering of American citizens simply because they have a different color skin? Maybe it’s kindness to speak harshly of those that don’t have a warm place to sleep tonight? Wait, wait, I know! It’s kindness when we beat homosexuals to death! Right? That’s kind isn’t it?

Of course it isn’t! We fall short of every standard that God throws at us!

Greed Don’t mistake me. According to the Bible, sin isn’t a quality or condition of the soul that has only revealed itself exceptional offenders – murderers and rapists and the like.

Scripture utters no uncertainty of the world-embracing character of moral corruption. And the reign of sin isn’t merely universal; it is intensive as well. It’s not a malady that’s only affected one part of man’s complex constitution; every part of the constitution of man has fallen under it’s mournful influence. In short, there is not a single faculty of the soul that isn’t injured by sin, for

“when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” – James 1.15

Sin is approached as being three-fold in the Bible. First, it is a state, namely, the absence of righteousness. Secondly it is an act, a flagrant and willful violation of the divine command of God. And finally it is a nature, which is at war with God. Sin is transgression, an overt overstepping of the boundary line between good and evil (Psalms 51.1; Luke 15.29). Sin is iniquity, an act that is inherently wrong, whether it is expressly forbidden or not. Sin is lawlessness, or spirtual anarchy (1 Timothy 1.9).

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