Study 6 Objective: What is sin, and why should the believer avoid it?
Do any of the above ideas convict you of sin?
What will you do about it?
How does living outside the framework of faith relate to sin?
Sin from the perspective of Jesus
A study of words helps us, but it does not alone point us to a complete understanding of sin. As mentioned earlier, we need to look at sin Christologically, that is, from the
perspective of God the Son. Jesus is the true image of the very heart of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), and the Father tells us to “Hear Him!” (Matthew 17: 5).
In studies 3 and 4 it was explained that Jesus Christ is God made flesh, and that His words are the words of life. What He has to say not only reflects the mind of the Father, but also carries with it the moral and ethical authority of God.
Sin is not just an act against God. It is more. Jesus explained that sin originates from sin-laden human hearts and minds. “For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23).
We make a mistake in looking for a specific, definitive list of do's and don'ts. It is not the individual action so much as the attitude of mind that is behind it that God wants us to understand. Nevertheless the Mark passage above is one of many where Jesus or His apostles list or compare sinful practice and the expression of faith. Among others are
Matthew 5 through 7; Matthew 25:31-46; I Corinthians 13:4-8; Galatians 5:19-26; Colossians 3; etc.
Jesus describes sin as addictive behaviour, noting that “whoever commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 10:34).
Sin crosses boundaries of godly behaviour toward other people. It is acting as if we are not answerable to any power higher than ourselves.
For the Christian it is not letting Jesus love others through us, not honouring what James calls “pure and undefiled religion” (James 1:27) and “the royal law according to the Scripture” (2:8). Jesus explained that those who love Him will observe His sayings (John 14:15; Matthew 7:24), thus fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
The theme of our inherent sinfulness is consistent throughout the Scriptures (see also Genesis 6:5, 8:21; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:21; etc). Thus God says “cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31).
It is by God sending forth His son into our hearts that we obtain a new heart and a new spirit whereby we profess that we belong to God (Galatians 4:6; Romans 7:6). Since we belong to God we should “no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6), “foolish, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).
The context of the first recorded sin in the book of Genesis can help inform us. Adam and Eve were in fellowship with the Father, and it was when they broke that fellowship by paying heed to another voice that sin occurred (Read Genesis 2).
The mark that sin misses is the prize of our calling upward to God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14) that we may be called the children of God (1 John 3:1) through adoption into the fellowship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. If we move out of that fellowship with the Godhead, we miss the mark.