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One huge problem

December 2011 | by Dudley Reeves

These are telling illustrations of the all important but horrendous Bible word ‘sin’. Sin means missing the right road or missing your target. Driving across the double white line in the centre of a busy main road illustrates the Bible word transgression.

Failure

What exactly is sin? Anything we think, say or do that disappoints, displeases or angers our God is a sin.

Our thoughts, plans, motives and desires are so important. When we nurse thoughts of lust, envy, covetousness, contempt or re­venge, we sin.

Our words are also so impor­tant. To speak words we know are not fully true, or words that are cruel or harmful to ourselves or others, is a sin.

Peter’s boasting words of loy­alty to Jesus, even if well meant, were sadly proved to be empty, hot air by his later cowardice and lies (Mark 14:31,72). Malicious gossip, deliberate slander and foolish talk are all sins.

And our actions so often speak louder than our evil words. As well as wicked thoughts and unkind words, theft, murder, adultery and deceit come from inside us, from our hearts, and make us unclean in God’s sight. We can sin with our eyes, ears, tongues, hands, feet, body and mind. Just think about it!

And anything we fail to do or say which is right and helpful is a sin. When we pass by on the other side of a needy stranger whom we should help, we sin. When we fail to speak out for justice and truth, or fail to speak the truth in love, we sin. Sin is pretty pervasive, isn’t it, yet always ugly and de­structive.

Sin’s pleasures are real, but last only for a short time or, at most, for this earthly life. So often we fall short of God’s high and holy standards, and never reach his pass mark of perfection.

Poison

Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Everything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). And everyone who sins is a slave to sin, Jesus said (John 8:34). We are sinners by nature, habit and choice. We are all selfish to a degree and tempted to worship ourselves.

Sin is the deadly poison passed on to us all by Adam. He was the first man created by God and the federal head of the human race. But the mystery of evil goes deeper than the tragic events of Genesis 3, for Satan, the usurping angel-prince of this planet, was a sinner before Adam lived.

The consequences of sin were and are intensive and extensive, affecting our environment as well as ourselves. The immediate con­sequences were that Adam and Eve felt afraid and ashamed and tried to hide from continued contact with the Lord God (Genesis 3:8).

For their rebellion, God con­demned them to unrelenting work on the cursed ground and to hard labour in childbirth. Then God expelled them from the Garden of Eden, with its tree of life. Adam’s disobedience led to spiritual and physical death for him and us.

Spiritual death separates us from fellowship with God; and physical death separates our bodies from our immortal spirits. Paul said, ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23); and wages are something we earn or deserve, aren’t they?

Cure

Thank God there is a cure for our sin! God himself is the cure. For God is love; he is rich in grace and all powerful.

The Father initiated his rescue mission to us; the Son died for sins as our substitute; and the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and enters everyone who believes on Christ. By offering himself as a sacrifice to God on the cross, Jesus opened up the way of forgiveness to every repentant sinner.

If we confess Jesus openly as our Lord and Saviour and truly believe that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). The glorious promise of Jesus in John 5:24 comes true — the believer has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has passed over from spiritual death to spiritual life.

Consequence

Most religions stress good deeds as the means to salvation. But true Christianity stresses that good deeds acceptable to God are the consequence of becoming a Chris­tian (Matthew 5:16; Acts 26:20).

Indeed, before becoming a Christian, even our righteous acts are compared to ‘filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6) — this is what sin does.

Most religions stress doing good deeds as the way to salvation. But true Christianity stresses the ‘done’ factor. Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation and we must accept it all as a gift from him.

Sin is so great an evil that God the Son had to die to set us free from the slave market of sin. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and need of God’s pardon, we must cry out to him to save, forgive and guide us.

Dudley Reeves  

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Evangelistic