What is Sin?
Outline: Long, detailed explanation of what sin really is. Creation, but then sins of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, generation of Noah's Flood, generation of Moses, prophets telling the people not to worship idols; David, Psalms about sin; Law of God; Jesus expands and explains the Law. All sins are sins against God; no big or little sins. Sins of omission. Results of sin are terrible. But God has provided a Savior from sin.
Script Number: MM07
Theme: Hell; Saviour of Sinful Men; Creation; Faith, trust, believe in Jesus; Judgement; Sin, disobedience; Satan (the devil)
Genre: Bible Stories & Teac
Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.
(Greetings) My dear friend, will you permit me to ask you a very personal question? Please be not offended by this. It is because I want to help you that I feel I must ask you the following: "Are you a sinner?" You will probably reply, "No indeed, I am not a sinner! I am not a thief, a murderer, an adulterer or a drunkard. I live a good life. I am not a wicked person, like some people I know. They are truly sinners, but not I!" Well, friend, I am glad you live a good life, and have a good character. But before anyone can say that he is not a sinner, he needs to know what sin is. Please let me explain it to you. I am not going to tell you what I or other people think about sin, but what God has told us in His Word, which is the Holy Bible.
In the first book of the Bible, which is called Genesis, we read that God created the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve, that they might love and obey Him. He put them in the beautiful Garden of Eden, and gave them freedom to eat the fruit of all the trees in the Garden, except of the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. "For, said God, if you eat of it you will surely die." However, Satan, who is also called the devil, came into the Garden one day in the form of a serpent,and began to talk to Eve. He told her that if she and Adam ate the fruit of the tree God had forbidden, they would not die, but would become wise. Satan thus called God a liar, and tried to persuade Adam and Eve to disobey Him. Eve looked at the forbidden fruit, saw that it was good, and took it and ate it. She then gave it to her husband, and he ate it. In this way, Adam and Eve committed the first sin on this earth.
You may think, was this really a sin? Adam and Eve did not get drunk, or steal from one another, or murder one another. All they did was to eat some fruit from a tree in the Garden. Why call this act sin? Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and that is what sin is. Sin is anything anyone does which is contrary to God's holy will. In fact, what Adam and Eve did was to rebel against God. They did not want to submit to Him and obey His commands. Instead, they wanted to be free from God's rule, and do whatever they pleased. Sin is rebellion against God, whether it be in the matter of eating forbidden fruit, or of breaking other commands of God. Whatever anyone does or says or thinks that is displeasing to the Holy God is sin.
From the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God to the present time, man has been a rebel against God. God created Adam and Eve pure and good, with the ability either to obey God or to disobey Him. But after their act of disobedience Adam and Eve were no longer pure and good. They and their descendants - we too are descendants of Adam and Eve - became unable to obey God perfectly and to live sinless lives. In the Holy Bible it is recorded of how mankind sinned from one generation to another. Adam and Eve had sons who were called Cain and Abel. One day, Cain became angry with his brother and killed him. As the number of people on the earth increased, so their sins became greater and greater. Finally, God sent a great flood which covered the whole earth and destroyed all living beings except Noah and his family, who were obedient to God.
However, the descendants of Noah also became sinners, disobeying God and doing evil to one another. The sons of Jacob hated their brother Joseph and sold him as a slave. Later the Egyptians oppressed the descendants of Jacob and refused to obey God's command to let them go free from bondage. Then when Moses had led the descendants of Jacob out of Egypt, they disobeyed God by making a golden calf and worshipping it instead of God. Again and again they broke God's commandments, and God had to punish them for their disobedience. And after they entered the land of Canaan which God had promised them, they forsook the God Who had delivered them from bondage, and became idol-worshippers.
For many years, God in mercy sent many prophets to tell the people to obey Him and to forsake their sins, and to warn them of the destruction that awaited them if they did not repent. But even God's prophets were unable to lead sinless lives. They too had to confess their sins and repent. The prophet David once committed a very great sin for which God rebuked him. Then David repented deeply from his sin and cried to God and said: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness: according to the multitude of Your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight..."(1) Sin is a spiritual disease that has infected the whole human race. It is written in the Holy Bible: "The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one." (2) In order to know what is sinful and what is not, it is necessary to know what God desires.
Therefore, in order that men might know what He requires of them, God gave them His commandments. Some of these were given by God through Moses, and others were given through later prophets, and all are found in the Holy Bible.
Finally, Jesus Christ, Who was the perfect spiritual Son of God, came to reveal what was in the heart of God. He taught men what God expected of them and He put into practice what He taught. Let us read in the Injil some of the things Jesus Christ taught the people while He was on earth. "You have heard that the ancients were told, "You shall not commit murder, and whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, "Raca," shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, "You fool", shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering." "You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, you shall not make false vows, but shall fulfil your vows to the Lord. But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet... Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; for anything beyond these is of evil." (3) (4).
These are only examples of what Jesus Christ taught while He was on earth.
He taught many other wonderful things. And all His teachings were in perfect accord with God's Law and what His prophets had said. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (5) He declared.
In the above passage of the Injil which we have just read, Jesus explained that when God gave to Moses the command "You shall not kill," (6) He not only forbade murder, but He also forbade all hatred and anger. God has not only forbidden men to do evil deeds, but He has also forbidden them to have evil thoughts.
Have you ever had hatred in your heart for another person? If so, you have sinned against God, for you have disobeyed His command to "love your neighbour as yourself" (7). Also, when God gave to Moses the command "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (8), Jesus said that not only was the outward act of adultery sinful, but if a man looks at a woman who is not his wife with a lustful eye, he has already been guilty of adultery in his heart. What God requires is purity of heart.
Is there anyone whose heart has always been kept perfectly pure? If not, all are sinners.
God through Moses also forbade the giving of false witness. (9) Jesus added to this the command that His disciples at all times speak the truth, "Let your 'yes' be 'yes', and your 'no' be 'no,' He said (10). So God requires perfect truthfulness, and whatever is contrary to this is sin. Have you ever said anything that was not true? Indeed we have all disobeyed God, like our first father Adam. We have failed to do many of the things God has commanded. We may try to excuse ourselves by saying that we are not great sinners, for we have broken only a few of God's commandments. But in the Holy Bible it is written: "Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all." (11) Therefore, whether our sins have been great or small, many or few, in God's sight every one of us is a sinner.
It is most important to understand that every sin is a sin against God. Some people have said that there are two kinds of sins, namely, sins against man and sins against God. They say that if I steal my neighbour's coat, that would be a sin against man, and I should make it right with him. But if I worship an idol, that would be a sin against God, and I must seek God's forgiveness. But really both of these sins are first of all sins against God. For God has commanded: "You shall not steal." (12) So a thief has broken God's holy law and has rebelled against Him. The thief must first repent and ask God to pardon him, and then he must ask his neighbour to forgive him, and must restore to him the stolen coat. The prophet David recognised this truth, when, after he had greatly wronged a man and his wife, he truly repented, and said to God: "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight." (13) David had of course sinned both against man and God, but his sin against the holy God was so great that he said "Against You, You only, have I sinned." Only God is able to forgive our sins, for whatever wrong we did was first of all a sin against God.
Sometimes sins have been divided into two categories: great sins and little sins. It is true that in God's sight some sins are greater than others.
Certainly the murder of an innocent man is a greater sin than speaking an angry word to him. However, both these acts have been forbidden by God, and are displeasing to Him.
God requires perfection, as Jesus Christ said: "You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (14) God not only forbids the doing of evil, but He also commands the doing of good. Sin, therefore, is not only the doing or saying or thinking of evil things, it is also the failure to do or say or think the good things that God requires. In the Holy Bible it is written: "Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is a sin." (15) Jesus Christ taught that we should do to others what we would like them to do to us. If we don't, we are sinning.
Jesus even said that in the Day of Judgment those who had failed to show love to the poor and needy people would be punished. (16)
Now let us consider the results of sin. The first result is separation from God. We read in the third chapter of Genesis in the Holy Bible that as soon as our first parents Adam and Eve disobeyed God they hid themselves from Him. Their sin became a wall of separation between them and their creator. Then they were expelled from the Garden where they had lived close to God and they had to live in a world where it seemed to them that God was far away. People today also often feel that God is far from them. They do not know Him, and they sometimes even say that there is no God. The prophet Isaiah long ago said to such people: "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you." (17)
Sin also separates man from man. In the fourth chapter of Genesis we read how Cain, the son of Adam, killed his brother Abel. And ever since then, covetousness and jealousy and pride and hatred and falsehood have resulted in dividing people and in wars. When men became rebels against God they became enemies of one another.
God told Adam and Eve that in the day they disobeyed and ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, they would surely die. The result of their sin was to be death, and in accordance with God's word they died. Physical death did not come to them for many years. But as soon as they disobeyed God, they suffered a spiritual death. That does not mean that their spirits or their minds died. No, they were still capable of thinking, and to a limited degree of knowing God and distinguishing between good and evil. But an evil power had come into them which made it impossible for them to know and obey God perfectly. Even the good deeds they did were contaminated with sin. They could no longer worship God with a pure heart and love others without hypocrisy.
Sin pollutes the hearts of men. Jesus Christ said that it is impossible for sinners to cleanse their own hearts or to do what they know is right. Often they even hate God and all that is true and good. Sin has indeed caused us to die spiritually,and this spiritual death will finally result in eternal death, which is final separation from God. That is hell.
Sometimes sinners blame God for their condition, and say they are not responsible for being sinners,and should not be punished for doing evil. But it was not God Who made them sinners, rather, they became sinners when they disobeyed God. Every one knows that he ought to do right, and that he is to blame when he does wrong. The sinner knows that he ought to do good, but is unable to do it in his own strength.
In the Holy Bible much is written about sin and the terrible results of sin in the life of men and in the world. But the chief purpose of the Bible is not to describe sin, the disease that has destroyed man, but to tell of the cure which God has provided. God knew that man did not have the ability to save himself from sin, so he provided a way of salvation for him. Jesus Christ the holy Son of God,whose name means "God is Salvation," came to die in the place of sinners, and then to rise from the dead, that all who trusted themselves to Him would not suffer eternal death. In the Holy Bible we read: "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (18)
Those who believe on Jesus Christ and repent from their sins are forgiven by God, and are accepted by Him as though they had never sinned. Also, God gives them a new heart and a new spiritual birth, and they become "Children of God," as we read in the Injil: "To all who received Him (that is, Jesus Christ), who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God." (19) And God fills them with His Holy Spirit, Who will enable them to obey God in everything. Should they fail to do so, the Holy Spirit will convict them of sin and help them to confess it to God and ask His forgiveness. Then God will pardon them for the sake of Jesus Christ Who died to make atonement for their sins.
Let us not forget that God is holy and cannot tolerate sin in us, if we are His children. In the Holy Bible we read: "And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (20) Dear friend, let me ask again: "Are you and I sinners?" Yes, we are sinners, and all men are sinners. But God has provided a Saviour, Who was known as the Friend of Sinners. He hates sin but He loves sinners, and invites them to come to Him. Jesus said that He would never reject anyone who comes to Him. This means that any person in the world who hates his sin and sincerely repents and believes on Christ, the Son of God, as His Lord and Saviour, will surely be forgiven.
Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." (21)
Bible references: 1/ Psalm 51:1-4a; 2/ Psalm 14:2, 3 3/ Matthew 5: 21-24 4/ " 5: 27,28 5/ " 5: 33-35 6/ " 5: 36,37 6/ Exodus 20:13 7/ Leviticus 19:18 8/ Exodus 20:14 9/ " 20:15 10/ Matthew 5:37 11/ James 2:10 12/ Exodus 20:15 13/ Psalm 51:4a 14/ Matthew 5:48 15/ James 4:17 16/ Matthew 25:31-46 17/ Isaiah 59:2 18/ John 3:16 19/ John 1:12, 13 20/ I John 1:5 until 2:2 21/ John 14/6